Hey everyone! In this issue, as I continue to take my long-awaited vacation, we welcome Kevin Redmon to the newsletter as a guest writer. If you want to write a future issue, reach out to us at abettercobb@gmail.com.

Known by some as a professional video editor, Kevin is an East Cobb resident, the East Cobb Liaison on the Cobb County District 2 Community Cabinet, a Community Captain in the For Which It Stance organization and a member of the East Cobb Alliance. He’s focused on facilitating communication with the community and empowering people to use their voice to create positive change. 

Take it away, Kevin!

Hello fellow Cobblers. 

My name is Kevin Redmon and Matt asked me to be a guest contributor this week.

Above the surface, Cobb County by all appearances seems to be humming along without any real drama or issues. Traffic is back to its pre-COVID norm, construction is visible in some form everywhere and all of the county resources are out in the wild doing what they do best. 

But if you take a peek below, there is so much going on that can really make direct impacts on our collective experience here.


Homes on a flood plain 

Home developer Christopher Hunt – who is suing Cobb County Commissioner JoAnn Birrell and the East Cobb Civic Association (ECCA) for an eye-popping $100M over a project rejection – brought his next development idea to the recent Board of Commissioners Zoning hearing. 

The punchline is that this proposed “net-negative carbon” set of ultra-modern homes were going to be built on a piece of land that is

  1. on a flood plain
  2. on a super steep slope
  3. includes a stream
  4. on what the surrounding neighbors claim is the last bit of green space in the area. 

Before his unanimous denial for all of the above (with Birrell abstaining), Hunt was removed by Cobb law enforcement for yelling at the Commissioners once he saw that their deliberations weren’t going his way.

I’m not anti-development, but I am definitely pro-preservation of our green space  here. And another topic for another day: we have a stormwater management issue here in Cobb – and the continuous building on areas that are prone to flooding only exacerbates the problem. 

Roy Barnes sues county 

Similar issue, different developer. This time the rejected development would be on land owned by former Georgia Governor and current attorney Roy Barnes. 

The critical difference here is that the proposed development of 114 homes would be on 65 acres. With a creek and floodplain nearby, though, the Board of Commissioners ultimately rejected the plan. 

This week Roy Barnes filed a lawsuit against Cobb citing an unconstitutionality to the current zoning code. 

Marietta Apartments

After a sizable chunk of land on and around Marietta Square recently changed hands, rents began to go up pushing out some of the longtime tenants who ran boutique shops and restaurants. That’s why it was no shock to me to see the proposal for a large apartment development in the area. The project would be 135 units, 84 feet tall and next to the Marietta Food Market. 

According to the MDJ, the applicant submitted their plan 25 minutes before a City Council meeting where the council subsequently voted to place a moratorium on new multi-family developments in Marietta.

This will be an interesting case to watch as there will be a head on collision between “old Marietta” and the inevitability of city growth.

Here’s one of the visuals provided by the developer. Source: MDJ

District 2

Ed Setzler’s bills

If you’ve been reading these newsletters, you are aware of the unprecedented push by the State to remove Cobb County District 2 Commissioner Jerica Richardson. For full transparency I am on the Commissioner’s Community Cabinet (a volunteer position) and have been outspoken on the issue. A summary of my thoughts on this are here:

The latest Georgia legislature session that just wrapped up late on March 29th shut down the latest gauntlet of attempts to insert itself into our beloved district. 

State Senator Ed Setzler – who was instrumental in drawing her out last year and led to Cobb’s assertion of Home Rule – introduced two bills this session to redefine Home Rule powers and put his district map back in place. After this didn’t make it past crossover date, he made a few attempts to place his bills as amendments to other bills. These attempts ultimately failed. 


When I said gauntlet earlier, I specifically meant: five pieces of legislation, two lawsuits and one ethics complaint (that was recently laughed out of committee with a 6-0 vote to dismiss). 

The first lawsuit was filed late last year and withdrawn several weeks later by the plaintiff. This plaintiff, Larry Savage, recently returned with a new lawsuit and now also includes a second plaintiff: current Cobb County Commissioner for District 1, Keli Gambrill with a trial date is set for May 3rd.

This week Cobb County filed for dismissal of the lawsuit citing Georgia’s sovereign immunity law, which provides for limitation on an individual’s ability to sue a government office. 

The work continues 

Commissioner Richardson hosted a meeting with the now-officially-named “Little Brazil” community around the Delk/Terrell Mill/ Powers Ferry area. 

With over 50 people in attendance, there was a lot of enthusiasm and gratitude felt by the recognition. 

The Commissioner has designated $50,000 to the project from her annual budget to spend in the district and is working with the Little Brazil community on how this should be spent.  

She is also hosting her town halls, meetings with the community, and continuing with her service and duties as an elected official.  

2023 Georgia Legislative Session


One of the bills that was narrowly defeated (89-85) on the last day of the 2023 state legislation session was focused on providing what proponents called school choice. The bill would have diverted $6,500 from funds intended for Public Schools and given to qualifying parents who opted to send their kids to a private school. 

Among the many questions about the bill were sustainability (could a child depend on this money for 12 years?), who would qualify (it was asserted that no one in Cobb would) and the impact of already-under-performing schools having this money stripped away. 

The bill is still “alive” and expected to be back in the 2024 session. 

Road weight 

Just past midnight on Thursday morning, at the tail end of the long legislative day known as Sine Die, House Bill 189 was passed. This bill allows for the increase of the weight limit for trucks traveling on state highways – from 80,000 pounds to 88,000 pounds – and is set to expire July 1, 2025.

Cobb County joined a sizable group of local governments in Georgia who opposed this bill in which the oppositions was focused on road safety and maintenance. 

More Cities

Two notable cityhood attempts were made this session. 

The first was the highly anticipated bill that would have allowed Buckhead to carve itself out of the City of Atlanta. Led in the Georgia Senate largely by senators who lived far outside of the City, this ran into wild complications, including the constitutional inability for any new city in Georgia to create its own school system. 

The second was another attempt at the City of Lost Mountain in West Cobb. This one ended before it started, with bill author Senator Ed Setzler saying he’d postpone this year and reintroduce in 2024. It should be noted that Setzler was the key proponent of the failed 2022 cityhood attempts in East Cobb, Vinings and Lost Mountain. 

Why I’m involved 

I’m a rare native Georgian and have been a resident of East Cobb since 2005. I used to be very engaged in student government and other organizations in high school and college (Oglethorpe University – go Stormy Petrels!), but once I entered the working corporate world this all ended. I continued to pay attention to visible national and regional issues, but I was honestly pretty clueless when it came to what’s happening in my community. 

This was until the cityhood of East Cobb began to really take off in early 2022. I was immediately against the idea when it popped its head up in 2018, but once the bill was passed in the 2022 legislative session to bring this to a vote I knew I had to jump in. I attended the first meeting and the room was packed. The anti-city hood organization, East Cobb Alliance, was led by Mindy Seger and she did a masterful job of laying out the facts to the community and activating a grass roots ground game that became passionate activists. The referendum failed in a landslide (73%-27%). 

The experience of attending meetings, canvassing, sign waving and helping with election night operations exposed me to a world that I did not know existed. Community members, community leaders, local issues and our county government. It was through this I met our Commissioner, started attending Board of Commissioner meetings and ultimately became a community activist myself. The one good thing that the cityhood issue did was activate me and several others into getting involved. 

Through this work I was also introduced to Matt Stigall and A Better Cobb. I think there is a real opportunity to use this platform to find other yet-to-be-activated Cobb residents who have ideas, passion and a will to make Cobb a better place. There is a real need to counter a lot of noisy opponents to progress and needed change in our community.

One major focus is creating a smarter, more connected Cobb. And this doesn’t have to just be transit for commuters going to Truist Park or work. Here in East Cobb we are over 90% residential and our senior population is going to double in the next decade. There will be an increased need to serve this part of our community to help them get though simple tasks such as going to medical appointments and going grocery shopping. How do we merge technology and transit – and create a solution that can be easily consumed by the senior population? This is where we need your help.

Thanks for allowing me to guest host today! Looking forward to doing more with all of you.  

Commissioners’ Meeting Recap

The meeting on Tuesday, March 28th was the shortest BOC meeting that I’ve seen in the past year. The usual Public Comment crew was largely absent, so that was a major contributor.  Chairwoman Lisa Cupid also became sick during the beginning and so some items were moved up before she left and delegated duties to Vice Chair Jerica Richardson.

The first hour consisted of presentations from the Commissioners and Chairwoman, including:

  • Ceremonial checks to the recipients of the recently allocated ARPA funds
  • Certificate of achievement for the regional champions at Dominion Christian
  • Proclamation of Red Cross month
  • Recognition of volunteers at the Water System
  • Proclamation of Education and Sharing Day (great story told by the recipient at 00:43:00 –

Public Hearing

  • There were two, both regarding failed dams/water detention ponds
  • Public comments in the hearing were made asking for better standards and communication

Public Comment

There were five speakers in total for the night, including last week’s newsletter’s author Tyler Bigler regarding the Noonday Creek trail extension and helpfulness of Commissioner Richardson’s regular BOC agenda preview meetings with the community

Highlights of Meeting

  • More authorization around ARPA money expenditure and administration 
  • Creation of new sidewalks and moving of utilities around sidewalks
  • A full consent agenda, including the authorization of some key resources to Cobb’s justice system

Upcoming meetings in April are Tuesday, April 11th at 9:00AM and Tuesday, April 25th at 7:00PM

Upcoming events

We have a few different events coming up in the next few weeks.

Also, thanks to our newsletter writer from last week, Tyler, we now have a Discord! Come join the server and join discussions about transit, sustainability, land use, safe streets, and of course, great memes!

On that note, here’s one below that’s pretty relevant if you’ve read any conversation about the Marietta apartments on Facebook or Nextdoor.

Have a great weekend, everyone!