74S retail rezoning put off 'til June 7

Fri, 04/20/2007 - 1:13pm
By: John Munford

Councilman Boone: 'Why bother?'

At the request of the developer, the Peachtree City Council Thursday night postponed consideration of a controversial rezoning on Ga. Highway 74 south near Holly Grove Road for a 300,000 sq. ft. shopping center directly across from the Wilshire Pavilion shopping center.

The matter will be brought back up at the June 7 meeting of Council. But before Thursday night's vote to table the rezoning, Councilman Steve Boone questioned the need to postpone the matter since the public has weighed in so heavily against the project.

Boone in fact voted against the motion to postpone the public hearing on the rezoning. The vote was approved by council 4-1.

Columbia Properties has requested a rezoning of the property from light industrial to limited use commercial. The company wants to build a large home improvement store and a large soft goods store, with both buildings bigger than is currently allowed under the city’s big box ordinance.

However, Columbia proposed to skirt the big box rules by seeking the limited use commercial zoning designation. The big box regulations only apply to property zoned general commercial, according to city ordinances.

The home improvement store was proposed to be 138,000 sq. ft. and the entire development was to total 216,000 sq. ft. not including several retail outparcel lots along Hwy. 74.

The city’s planning commission had recommended denial of the rezoning, and City Planner David Rast had suggested the city rezone for commercial only the property on the highway frontage. Rast’s suggestion was to leave the remainder of the property — where the large retail stores were to be located — zoned for industrial use.

The city’s land use plan calls for the site to be developed with a medium density single family subdivision, so Columbia’s proposal for a shopping center doesn’t mesh, Rast indicated.

Columbia Properties built the nearby Wilshire Pavilion shopping center.

Residents in the nearby Wilshire Estates subdivision have opposed the rezoning, saying the resulting traffic will endanger kids who use Holly Grove Road to walk through the subdivision because there is no cart path along the road.

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bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Fri, 04/20/2007 - 6:33pm.

Why no mention of Mayor Logsdon personnel attack against the head of the PTC Civic Assoc.?

I know you saw it happen because I was there, with you, watching it happen.

THANK YOU to both Mr. Boone for speaking against postponing the vote and a THANK YOU to Mrs. Rutherford for attempting to tell "I'm the Mayor" Logsdon that it was neither the time or place for his little hissy fit against the PTCCA.

One more thing, will someone please tell the city attorney, Ted Meaker, to please sit up straight and quit chewing gum like a cow chewing it's cud. If he leaned back any further he would have fallen back-wards out of his chair.

Ted, you might have somewhere else you want to be but you're getting paid to be at these meetings and you should at least give the impression that you care.

Almost forgot, the Mayor also took offense to the elderly folks in attendance, they were there to receive an award from his highness, about speaking into the microphone that the tax payers paid for so we could all hear him babble. They had to ask him twice to speak up because they couldn't hear him.

John Munford's picture
Submitted by John Munford on Fri, 04/20/2007 - 8:14pm.

I stand corrected on the date. Fixed it. It's June 7.

As to the Mayor's "hissy fit" that occurred during the TDK discussion, if you can call it that. It's a separate story, no doubt. But my pen couldn't keep up with all that fur flying and I had to get the recording from City Hall, which I couldn't get 'til this afternoon.

I'll include a few observations about the audience "participation" which was by no means called for. For heaven's sake the high schoolers on the other side of the room had better decorum that some of their elders. I used to think PTC was a classy city, but every once in a while a group comes along that just ruins it.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Fri, 04/20/2007 - 9:00pm.


I was embarrassed to have the high school kids see just how stupid adults can act.

Those who think kids are the problem have never sat through a city council meeting.

I have to give Judy-Ann credit for her composure. For a minute there I thought she was going to get up and "advise" the Mayor that what he was doing was inappropriate.

She would never do such a thing, but if wishing made it so.

Submitted by Doug on Fri, 04/20/2007 - 2:57pm.

for questioning the insanity of the need to put the off the big box vote until June 7.

That council meeting was the worse excuse of a "public meeting" I have ever seen.

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Fri, 04/20/2007 - 6:03am.

As in "74S retail rezoning to pop up again later?"
You can count on it popping up later. This is the second oldest trick in the developer's playbook. Just when it looks as if the opposition is overwhelming and they have expended all their resources - withdraw for a while. Then try to get scheduled at a time when the public is distracted by something like holidays or summer vacation. Then you have a relatively quiet rezoning hearing and might even get approved. This works great because the politicians can claim there was only token opposition at the actual rezoning meeting.

Now, having said that, I don't believe it is going to work this time on this particular project. I have spoken to two of the councilpeople who are adamently opposed to this and there are signs that even the mayor won't continue to push this through. Voting it down is probably the correct decision if we as a city are trying to preserve the village center concept - or what is left of it. Contrary to popular opinion, we compromised the village concept when we approved the Avenue.

Real political courage would be to not allow a postponement or tabling and to then vote no to kill the project. Won't happen with this group because they don't have any coordination behind the scenes.

John Munford's picture
Submitted by John Munford on Fri, 04/20/2007 - 11:11am.

... in the developers' playbook?

Just curious.

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Fri, 04/20/2007 - 7:03pm.

The oldest trick in the developer playbook is to beat the opposition and the government over the head about what could be done to a piece of property if they don't rezone it.

For example, if the current zoning is industrial and you want to have it rezoned for houses - then you say something like "If you don't approve my rezoning I'll put up metal buildings because that is what I am allowed to do under the current zoning.

Opposition gets confused and government folds up like a cheap suitcase more often than not.

Although I don't think that will happen with the rezoning at Rockaway since the developers don't actually own the property yet and the real owners are not confrontational.

I am so glad I am retired.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Fri, 04/20/2007 - 7:28pm.

it was already rumored that something with "smoke stacks" could be built on the land. NOT!

While I'm at it, if the new and improved Rockaway road is in the floodplain and the creek is to the north, just how does one build a home improvement store in a floodplain? As per the 2002 rezoning request, "The Applicant has indicated his willingness to donate to the City at no cost 79.173 acres of the existing floodplain and 2.735 acres of right of way to accommodate the realignment of Rockaway Road."

If the home improvement store has to pay for flood insurance, it's going to be one very expensive store.

Come to think about it, is it ok to put underground fuel storage tanks in a floodplain?

Submitted by skyspy on Fri, 04/20/2007 - 10:31pm.

Let's pray for rain! As it is now many homes in that area are built where the swamp was under water in 94.

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Fri, 04/20/2007 - 7:39pm.

I thought I made it clear that I was not talking about Rockaway in my answer to John- in fact I thought I excluded it. He simply asked what was the #1 play in the developer's playbook.

But to be even more clear - Plan #1 in developer's playbook is real - so is #2. I really think #2 is going on - that's the delay and let the opposition disperse one. I do not think that the #1 play - "threaten industrial" is in play this time.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Fri, 04/20/2007 - 7:50pm.

I think it is a tactic to delay the vote until summer break is started.

Mr. Lindsey knows full well that the city will empty out the first few weeks of summer break. With little of no opposition to speak against it, the developer and Mayor have a better chance of sliding it through.

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Fri, 04/20/2007 - 11:59am.

Let me guess? I don't know what the intended answer is, but I'm sure it has to do with money! Let's say: You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours, Ok?

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