After questionable annexations, many ask, ‘What is this council doing?’

Tue, 05/08/2007 - 3:41pm
By: Letters to the ...

When I read many months ago that the City Council of Peachtree City was asked to annex a new Group VI development on Ga. Highway 74 South and Redwine Road, I assumed the proposal would be voted down. Instead, the City Council, much to everyone’s dismay, voted 4-1 to approve the annexation even though the data showed it to be a net loss to the city with municipal service costs significantly more than the tax revenue generated.

Councilwoman Rutherford made sure the city staff confirmed the project was a net loss for the city, and yet she was the only member of council to vote in opposition. Many asked what motivated the council to vote for such a measure. God only knows.

Last week the City Council approved another annexation request for Wieland Homes and Levitt and Sons. Like the previous Group VI annexation, this approval has left a lot of people scratching their heads trying to figure out what the council is doing.

The Peachtree City Civic Association (PTCCA), a collective body of local homeowners associations, created a committee to express some areas of concern to the City Council related to the annexation request. The PTCCA approved a paper with 10 points of concern. Unfortunately, the council, instead of addressing the concerns, appeared to have looked the other way.

You have to take into account that the PTCCA did not say to go forward with the annexation or to deny it. They simply asked the council to take a serious look at some important issues prior to casting a vote.

First, since the bridge in the North Kedron area was the stated culprit for driving the requested housing densities upward, the PTCCA asked the council to look at alternative funding methods for the bridge. They also asked for new talks with the “new majority” on the Fayette County Board of Commissioners to look at some alternatives for making the bridge happen under a lower unit density. Unfortunately, this did not happen in serious form and the steamroller kept moving.

The PTCCA made a very reasonable request that the entire West Village area (between Line Creek and Hwy. 74) be master-planned. Obviously, our city is heralded as a master-planned community, so you would expect such a request to be the status quo.

It was Mayor Logsdon who demanded to focus on all of the unincorporated land. However, in a startling move, the council left 89 acres (the property is in the city limits and adjacent to the unincorporated land) owned by Wieland Homes out of the mix and left it marked as “future development” to worry about another day.

Because of the rail spur built in 2006, the land looks to be suitable for only residential purposes (more homes, more students and more traffic). By turning a blind eye and not tying all the parcels together in the planning process, the council abdicated its responsibility for the sake of expedience.

PTCCA asked the council to make sure the annexation complied with the standards within the Comprehensive Plan. Surely, the Levitt and Sons development broke the bank on this one, and even the town of Tyrone voiced their opposition. The mayor and council did not address the concerns of the PTCCA or the Tyrone Council.

Since Levitt and Sons would be adding thousands of senior citizens to our already aging population, the PTCCA requested “the presence of a public access senior facility within the Levitt tract at developer expense.” This would appear a fair request since they would be creating a significant burden on our senior related infrastructure. However, the council only got a meager $150,000 from the developer. You cannot build a single Levitt and Sons house for $150,000.

The PTCCA also asked that the council, “Encourage communication with the FCBOE to lessen the impact of displacing students. Take into consideration the number of homes yet to be built/sold in Centennial and Cedar Croft subdivisions when calculating student population.”

The only communication from the Board of Education came the day of the council meeting with the board requesting 50 acres for an elementary and middle school. Unfortunately, the council did not honor the request and choose not to demand the site from the developers to accommodate the significant growth in students. I guess we will be asked to cover that cost in our annual school taxes.

The PTCCA asked the council, “Address what will become of the land fill known as the ‘Peach Pit’ and who is responsible for guaranteeing the safety of this site.”

The mayor and council found out the night of the meeting that city staff had alerted the Georgia Environmental Protection Division two weeks prior regarding the land fill site, but no action had yet been taken. The mayor and council bypassed the matter and went on with the approval.

The PTCCA also asked the council to address moving the hazardous CSX rail spur constructed in 2006. The requests for annexation could have been used as leverage to move the rail spur to another, non-residential location. The mayor and council declined to pursue the matter.

Finally, the PTCCA requested that the council, “Ensure a large, central recreational space is provided that will have citywide draw, as other villages provide.” Instead, the mayor and council did not secure any recreational land and collected a meager $250,000 (not enough for a single ball field) from Wieland Homes.

This entire effort was totally lacking direction. The communication was inadequate with the local citizens, the Fayette County Commission, the town of Tyrone and the Fayette Board of Education. The council approval left many questions unanswered and pulled the leverage for resolving some of the problems right out of our hands.

Nearly everyone agrees there needs to be a connection between Hwy. 74 and MacDuff Parkway. However, we must use every resource at our disposal to create the opportunity for the infrastructure without abandoning our principles.

Here again, Mayor Logsdon’s absolute resistance to creating public committees of varying opinions to ensure that all concerns are taken into account is yielding a poor return. Being surrounded with pro-development “yes men and women” means we are expected to surrender everything we value.

Former Mayor Lenox and I formed committees frequently. Yes, there were disagreements and heated debate, but all sides were heard. For an elected official to totally disregard the voice of his constituents is to throw liberty in the trash pail.

For the record, Councilwoman Rutherford voted against both the Wieland and Levitt and Sons annexation requests and was the only council member to do so.

Steve Brown

Peachtree City, Ga

Note: A copy of the Peachtree City Civic Association annexation paper to the City Council follows this letter.


Consensus and Areas of Concern With Regard to the Proposed West Village Annexation Plan

The Peachtree City Civic Association (PTCCA) recognizes the need for an access point between the existing (and proposed) West Village and Georgia State Route 74. The primary consensus is that whether the land remains in unincorporated Fayette County or is annexed into Peachtree City, we regard a direct connection to Georgia State Route 74 as essential before any further development occurs in this area. PTCCA encourages City Council to work with the Fayette County Board of Commissioners and the prospective developers to develop alternative funding for the West Village bridge at North Kedron.

In addition, PTCCA strongly urges the City Council to examine the following factors with respect to the proposed annexation and rezoning:

1. The entire proposed West Village area should be master planned. So to take on the challenge of a possible annexation without having an approved use for the 89 acres of property to the east along the rail line would not be in the best interest of the city. The land is zoned industrial – now deemed a non-suitable use – and the only land use offering, thus far, has been multifamily housing which was rejected. With housing density being a major issue for the annexation, the citizens deserve a rational explanation of how that property will be used and the property should be rezoned to that use in conjunction with the annexation.

2. Compliance with the city’s Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Plan, specifically in relation to density at the city’s outer edge.

3. Ensure traffic calming methods are implemented along MacDuff Parkway at developer expense for the protection of pedestrians, golf carts, etc. and minimize the impact on the level of service on our roads to prevent further “drive time” traffic congestion and air pollution.

4. Ensure the presence of a public access senior facility within the Levitt tract at developer expense.

5. Encourage communication with the FCBOE to lessen the impact of displacing students. Take into consideration the number of homes yet to be built/sold in Centennial and Cedar Croft subdivisions when calculating student population.

6. Address what will become of the land fill known as the Peach Pit and who is responsible for guaranteeing the safety of this site.

7. Encourage Wieland to consider including a percentage of senior housing in his plan. This could assist in reducing student displacement within our schools.

8. The city should engage in talks with CSX to move the rail spur away from the West Village area. This could involve amending the Capital Improvement Program and allow for the use of impact fees to accomplish the task. Moving the rail spur will increase public safety, allow for another access point to Georgia State Route 74 and non-residential uses on the eastern portion of Wieland land as well as improve aesthetics.

9. Ensure a large, central recreational space is provided that will have citywide draw, as other villages provide (i.e., Kedron, Glenloch, Braelinn, etc.) possibly on the 89 acres adjacent to the rail tracks.

The PTCCA respectfully requests that City Council carefully review and consider our points above prior to voting on the proposed annexation and rezoning on May 3, 2007. We would also like to participate in any further discussions with respect to the above issues.

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Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Thu, 05/10/2007 - 8:34am.

Can anyone tell us why the city council had to avoid answering any of these important points? This stick your head in the sand mentality has got to go.

The city council's own public survey asking the citizens what we should do overwhelmingly advised the council not to annex. Not only did the council annex, but they screwed it up in the worst way.

Vote Republican

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Thu, 05/10/2007 - 9:06am.

Wasn't there a petition signed by 650 that supported the annexation? There surely weren't anywhere near than many opposed. So isn't that the way it is supposed to work? Even if you don't get your way.

So, do you like my new picture? meow

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Thu, 05/10/2007 - 9:27am.

Who do you think the developers got to sign that petition? I know.
They own a business here; they work for developers and those who supply developers; and various and sundry other people with something to gain.
Dop you think all the people who opposed the annexation went to the meeting? If they had, they would have been lined up all the way to the lake!
Council knows the majority do not want such development, they do not care.
If voting isn't done by secret ballot and by registered voters, it means nothing. You should know that, and you do!

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Thu, 05/10/2007 - 10:32am.

Oh goody, another shot at the huge developer conspiricy that makes everyone in business an evil developer.

The developers (meaning the 2 builders, I guess) did not get a petition signed - the Centennial people did and since the annexed land is very much in their back yard, those 650 expressions of support were taken seriously.

And yes, I do think everyone in oposition showed up at the meeting. Those that didn't show up lost their right to oppose a decision at a meeting they did not attend. How can it be any other way? Sure, some people have jobs that conflict with the meeting time, others could be out of town, but if the few that care - one way or another don't show up - what is council to do? Seek them out and ask their opinion? Did that and ignored that. You may be right - they don't care. I sure don't.

So, do you like my new picture? meow

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Thu, 05/10/2007 - 10:54am.

I start by stating that I had no opinion about the proposed annexation.

Your statement, "Those that didn't show up lost their right to oppose a decision at a meeting they did not attend."

Why do you think that?

From what I've read there were some there, on the council, that didn't have a clue as to what "abstaining" means and they got to vote, twice.

Is it your understanding that in order for the opinion of a citizen to count he/she must endure the incompetence of the Mayor, some members of the city council and wade through 5 hours of bumbling?

As per your own comments, 650 supporters didn't show up for that meeting, room won't hold that many, yet all 650 got credit for being there.

Do you see how dumb you sound?

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Thu, 05/10/2007 - 2:37pm.

You should be there in person to be taken 100% seriously. If you are there in writing (name on petition) you should be taken less seriously, but still get credit for conveying your position on a specific issue. If you are not there at all - too bad.

Now, take that a step further, how do those who can't or won't come to the meetings get their voice heard? I never use all caps, but they seem called for here - THEY ELECT REPRESENTATIVES TO TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS FOR THEM!!!!! It is called a representative republic or representative democracy "Which the founding fathers went about forming a government which would protect the rights of everyone, especially the minority, from the tyranny of mob rule (democracy)."

The mob rule problem is pretty clear when one reads some of the idiotic postings on here. Just because people have fantasies about developer payoffs to politicians and are still rabid Steve Brown supporters and some are Steve himself - none of that changes the fact that we elect people to represent us. Like it or not, they represented us and annexed that land and it is now time to get over it and lay off the immature stupidy and name-calling. Save it for Hillary or B. H. Obama or Rudi or the Morman or whoever you want to demonize next.

Better yet, just run for mayor or council then you can relive this "horrible" annexation decision and make it a campaign issue against the developer tool you choose to oppose. Oh that's right, that would be too much trouble, even more trouble than attending a meeting.

So, do you like my new picture? meow

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Thu, 05/10/2007 - 4:30pm.

I had no dog in that fight.

The folks in Centennial and the other effected neighborhoods wanted it and they got it. No problem by me.

I just hope they realize that since MacDuff is a "Village collector road" that no traffic calming devices can be put on it.

Unlike the dead guy, I think Johns' title was apropos.

I just hope the Mayor and CC use the same logic when it comes to TDK and the Lowe's on S 74. The entire city has a dog in the TDK fight.

The last I heard between the Wilshire folks and the PTCCA they had over a thousand signatures opposing that development. I hope that carries some weight with the Mayor and CC.

We'll just have to wait and see.

I'll be there for those meetings.

Actually, I'd pay money to see Rick Lindsy go down in flames.

To watch him get taken down a notch or two would be worth it.

Submitted by swmbo on Thu, 05/10/2007 - 2:52pm.

While I agree that you don't get to whine if you don't put in the time, I have to say that being there isn't that easy. For working people, getting to government meetings is a real challenge. Some meetings are held during the work day or so close afterward that commuting workers can't possibly get there in time. So, what is a regular working (and taxpaying) person to do? And have you ever noticed how much of the controversial stuff ends up on one of those afternoon/late-afternoon meeting agendas?

Maybe it's a coincidence . . . maybe not.

If you and I are always in agreement, one of us is likely armed and dangerous.

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Thu, 05/10/2007 - 2:52pm.

Like the Marlon Brando wives and family in "Godfather," you see nothing, you know nothing!

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