Former mayor: Coming months vital to determine PTC’s future

Tue, 07/24/2007 - 3:53pm
By: Letters to the ...

The year 2007 will prove to be a defining moment in the history of Peachtree City. Whether the definition will be viewed in the future as positive or negative depends upon the course that is selected today.

The path to our future quality of life must be cleared by the elected officials. At present, we do not possess a transportation or land planning leader on the City Council. Each member of council brings certain strengths and weaknesses to the table, and it so happens that knowledge on growth-related issues is wanting.

Probably the council’s most lucid decision-maker on growth issues is Councilwoman Rutherford, and she just resigned. Mayor Logsdon has taken aggressive action on various growth issues, but he has pushed non-productive measures in favor of sprawl-like big box development and jagged annexations.

I believe inaction, such as the TDK issue, can be as fatal as actively moving in the wrong direction. The council’s hesitancy to appeal the GRTA ruling is a big mistake and could cost us dearly in the future.

The city is soliciting input from the public on July 26 as it makes the finishing touches on a new comprehensive plan. I gave my concerns at the June 19 town hall meeting. Here is an overview of what I believe we need to concentrate on into the future.

In my opinion, the least dense metropolitan Atlanta counties in 2030 will be the most sought-after areas. We need to work on diplomatic solutions to alleviate future traffic and land use problems. Coweta County’s current land plan will bring us all down, and we need to have a serious dialog with them about our future.

Recently, the town of Tyrone raised some objections to Peachtree City’s westside annexation. Unfortunately, Peachtree City officials snubbed Tyrone and refused to discuss their concerns. We must have better cooperation.

Several years back, I submitted the concept of creating a grade separation at the intersection of Georgia highways 74 and 54. The grade separation does appear in the transportation plans. However, we need to begin on the engineering for that project immediately and establish how to acquire the funding for its implementation.

The truth is we have some sections of older housing stock on the verge of dropping to third tier shelter. We need to set some plans into motion to revitalize this older stock. Having large sections of rental housing will cause problems. Our demand to capacity ratio has saved thus far in the real estate market, but more and more housing is coming on line all around us.

Crime rates will continue to climb. We need to work on innovative ways to inhibit crime on our cart paths and control vandalism and graffiti. Read Malcolm Gladwell’s book “The Tipping Point” to see what controlling vandalism and graffiti did to New York City’s crime rates. We have been especially slow responding to graffiti.

If the traffic bottlenecks at the intersection of hwys. 74 and 54 again, the West Park shopping center – with its horrible access – will be in big trouble.

The new comprehensive plan should include strong language on the city’s efforts to preserve green space and tree buffers. We do not need a repeat of Hwy. 74 South whenever we widen roads in the future.

The plan should include language discouraging “big box” type development and encourage the preservation of our long-standing village style development patterns.

It would be extremely smart to move the new CSX rail spur along Hwy. 74 to a less threatening location. With thousands of houses and possibly a new school nearby, the rail spur presents a HAZMAT disaster scenario.

We must be leery of creating any new, non-critical city venues without voter consent. Expanding the city’s maintenance and personnel costs will certainly be followed by raising taxes.

We should look at creating individual overlay zones for each of our village centers to avoid “cookie-cutter” redevelopment across the city.

We must begin a serious dialog with Coweta County regarding our need to protect Falcon Field from large residential encroachments.

We need to begin a dialog with the Board of Education on stabilizing school attendance districts to reduce uncertainty and maintain healthy real estate sales.

On redevelopment, we need to avoid knee-jerk reactions. The problems with the Braelinn Village shopping center have more to do with the out-of-town management than the center itself.

We need to learn from development missteps like Lexington Circle. Then-mayor Bob Lenox did an admirable job of trying to piece together a plan for that site. However, the plan was unrealistic and several of the property owners have failed to act in a productive manner.

The current talk about adding “more density” to Lexington Circle to improve the site will cause significant problems, especially with school districts. We should not change our development patterns so that a landowner can obtain well above average profits for his land.

Our traditional village style development model is not the obstruction to making that area better. The high prices set by the land owner in addition to the proximity to the church and high school (no alcohol sales for restaurants, etc.) is the problem.

Unfortunately, the westside annexation process failed to master-plan all of the property in that particular area, leaving 89 acres to literally be fought over when the future development plans reach City Hall. We need to create some direction for that site in the new comprehensive plan.

Steve Brown

Peachtree City, Ga.

[Brown served as Peachtree City mayor from 2001 to 2005.]

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Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Sat, 07/28/2007 - 7:04pm.

Stop writing letters and actually do something - like apply for Judi's open seat. That way you can coast to victory in the fall (remember how Brooks and Pace did that?) and then challange Harold after you have driven him crazy by being on council.

Do something Steve, don't just talk and write - go for it.

Or are you afraid the Logsdon crew will reject you? How could you come back from that?

Decisions, decisions.

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Sat, 07/28/2007 - 7:12pm.

Did you listen to him on KHJ or KRTH or both?

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Submitted by DWKK07 on Sat, 07/28/2007 - 8:16am.

I also think that was a horrible idea, but when is the last time you found a politician that did not do ANYTHING you don't like. At this point I don't care if he voted to put a military airstrip in the middle of Peachtree City, I'd vote for him just to see him and Harold go at it during council meetings. I also think it would be interesting to see Stoney Lohr or Jim Murray (if he's retiring soon) throw a bid in the ring. I think with the lack of interest in public safety that the current council has, the public may see that as a good point of representation on the council. I'm not sure if that could even work technically though (even post-retirement).

--- Send this link to all your friends . Go and sign the Petition!

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Sat, 07/28/2007 - 10:05am.

Yes, they will get a good pension, but retirement, never. A couple of other "dips" to go yet! Maybe Tyrone?

Submitted by DWKK07 on Sat, 07/28/2007 - 8:21pm.

You've lost me again. I have no idea what this post is even supposed to mean. Lohr has already retired, and been replaced. I'm also not sure what you mean about other "dips", Tyrone has a new police chief, so it doesn't seem you'd be talking about Murray going there.

--- Send this link to all your friends . Go and sign the Petition!

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Sun, 07/29/2007 - 8:17am.

Dips mean more than one tax paid pension.
Many military people get three: Military service, civil service, local government.
Others go for Local governmment, politics, another local government.
It was a general statement, often true, not necessarily everyone can do it.
It is the reason many service type positions should be part-time, no pay or benefits.

Submitted by Jones on Fri, 07/27/2007 - 10:36pm.

Man after reading these posting, I seriously think Steve should run again. If the worst thing they can say is he voted for a drug store then I would say go for it.

One thing the city council is missing is balance. Steve would be an effective counter-weight to the likes of Harold Logsdon.

I agree with Steve's list of what needs to be done in Peachtree City. He did a great job busting up the local corruption and he didn't beg for a 100 percent pay raise either.

stevens770's picture
Submitted by stevens770 on Fri, 07/27/2007 - 8:21am.

Why don't you run for council? Frankly I think you have learned a lot since your last forey into politics. We really do need somebody who can battle this TDK thing as well as other anti-PTC measures.
Give it a think................

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Fri, 07/27/2007 - 8:46am.

I'll say this, his letters read MUCH different than his actions as Mayor.

Submitted by mcg on Fri, 07/27/2007 - 9:01am.

What Walgreens are you referring to? The one I heard was perhaps going to replace the old Buckhead Brewery, or somewhere else?

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Fri, 07/27/2007 - 9:11am.

at the intersection of Peachtree Parkway, and Hwy 54. Right where the Lutheran Church sits today. I'm sure he'll chime in on this blog as someone and tell us why it was a great idea.

He could make this his campaign pledge.

Submitted by mcg on Fri, 07/27/2007 - 9:27am.

That vote was years ago, and to the best of my knowledge neither the church nor Walgreens has pursued the matter since then. Why are you beating this dead horse? Steve Brown would find it hard to make it his campaign pledge if neither of those 2 parties is pursuing it anymore.

Submitted by bowser on Fri, 07/27/2007 - 12:24pm.

i think m-dawg is right on this one: steve better have a good answer for his walgreens vote if he's going to attempt any comeback. his lone support for that absurd zoning change request (which would have let the lutherans cash out big-time and left us with a shiny new drugstore on a corner always intended to be non-retail) was inexplicable. at the final council meeting on it, which i attended in its entirety, he barely even bothered to attempt a coherent explanation. there was something very odd about that whole deal, and it was a big reason i did not support him in the last election.

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Fri, 07/27/2007 - 10:32am.

My only point is, that Steve's record, reads much different than his rhetoric that this paper so frequently spews forth regularly.

It seems others on these blogs love to bring up things done 10-20 years ago if it suits their agenda.

Oh yeah, there's still not a Walgreens in town, maybe Stevie could fix that.

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