Wanted for PTC Council: Some spine, principles

Cal Beverly's picture

“Do what I want, or I will do my best to hurt you.”

If a man walked into your home or business and spoke the words above, he would be subject to arrest.

If he is developer Doug McMurrain, and he says that to the Peachtree City Council and homeowners of Planterra Ridge subdivision, he is hailed by some as a “win-win” negotiator.

What he would hurt the city with? In his description, a Hooters restaurant and a Pep Boys auto parts store.

What McMurrain and RAM Development Co. (what an appropriate name for what that company has done to Peachtree City, with its apartments and big boxes on the west side) want is for the city to suspend its big box ordinance to allow a Kohl’s “moderate price” department store to be built across Ga. Highway 54 from those apartments and big boxes Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

Oh, and he also wants the council to sign over to him city-owned land, including all of Line Creek Parkway and Line Creek Court, two publicly owned streets, to give him enough land to build the Kohl’s.

Without the city giving in to his demands, he would not have enough land to build the 89,000-square-foot department store, even with a waiver of the big box ordinance — which limits stores to about a third that size.

And two members of the city council — Mayor Harold Logsdon and Steve Boone — support the public land grab. A third — newly appointed sewermeister Mike Harman, the recent chairman of the expansionist-minded sewer authority — is thinking hard about approving the plan.

Only council members Stuart Kourajian and Cyndi Plunkett opposed this naked extortion that came wrapped in polite civic terms.

Exemplifying the dismal state of the current Peachtree City Planning Commission, two of its appointed members — Marty Mullin and Patrick Staples — fell in step with the Westside Destroyer and applauded his plan.

The current planning commission is proving itself inferior in all respects to its predecessors. They seem to have abandoned a heritage of consistent planning integrity, which featured as a fundamental concern the effects upon current and future residents.

We once had volunteers zealous to preserve and protect Peachtree City and its planning ideals.

This bunch is throwing away our city under the cover of “win-win” negotiations with developers intent on wringing the last dollar out of their johnny-come-lately investments. A more apt description would be incremental capitulation to bullying developers.

What the city is contemplating is — so far as I can remember, and I’ve been here since 1977 — unprecedented.

The city is actually seriously considering giving in to zoning blackmail, and some scared residents of nearby Cardiff Park and Planterra Ridge are falling in line like frightened sheep who are being led complicitly to their own slaughter.

This whole deal is wrong, folks.

It is just simply wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

It is governmentally wrong and it is morally wrong.

It is governmentally wrong for a city council to become a partner in the conversion of publicly owned land and facilities for the sole purpose of enabling a developer to build an unwanted big box.

It is bad public policy to sell or trade public land to a developer under the Westside Destroyer’s threat of bringing in undesirable businesses.

The city has had opportunities in the past to sell public land to local businesses, but in every case I can recall, it has declined.

I say again, the city has declined in the past to sell or trade public land to local — LOCAL! — businesses.

Now along comes this out-of-town developer with his threats to hurt the city and its residents, and those people elected and appointed to protect our rights and the Peachtree City vision go all wobbly in the knees, moaning, “How high, boss?”

That’s an immoral act committed against the people of Peachtree City.

Too bad they no longer allow miscreants to be tarred, feathered and ridden out of town on a rail. I can nominate some very worthy recipients of that old-time response to bully threats.

In the absence of that remedy to our current troubles, I suggest instead that the Peachtree City Council — at long, long last — display some slight spark of civic courage and moral outrage at this blatant developer’s blackmail and instruct the Westside Destroyer to bundle up his Kohl’s plans and store them permanently where the sun doesn’t shine.

Bring on the Pep Boys, the Hooters on commercial land that has been zoned for just such uses for years before there was a Cardiff Park, a Planterra Ridge. Is that worse than what faces them just across the street on the north side of Ga. Highway 54?

And after that, the city should make the Westside Destroyer work hard for every new thing he will ever seek from Peachtree City again.

Extort us, and development life should get very hard for Mr. Destroyer.

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Submitted by jondough on Fri, 09/14/2007 - 3:17pm.

This article you wrote could have been written about the Tyrone town council and town manager - what is up with that? This is the exact same thing that is going on in Tyrone. Burt Clark, a private developer, told that town council "I got that property on the end of Palmetto Road, now how are we going to get the rest?" Then when Bert's zoning did not go through he threatened to build some metal buildings on the Deaton property. Why do you snub your nose at people who are writing on here about the problems of Tyrone, which mirror what you are saying about PTC? Are Tyrone officials calling favors from you?

Eightball's picture
Submitted by Eightball on Wed, 09/12/2007 - 8:45am.

What makes Doug so sure that when the city puts the land up for sale that he is going to acquire it unless it was a sure thing? Why go through all the expense of planning something you don't already have? Doug is this a win-win situation for you and how do you know that?

Not the only game in town.

secret squirrel's picture
Submitted by secret squirrel on Wed, 09/12/2007 - 6:19am.

A funny thing happened on the way to the Citizen's website this morning. It would seem that the various comments posted on this very editorial yesterday have disappeared. So let's re-post and hope for a response.

You are quite passionate about this issue as your editorial would seem to indicate. Your dislike for the proposal by RAM is apparent and your arguments in opposition are certainly compelling.

However, I have to ask you, and those who are like-minded in railing against this proposal: what is the alternative?

Deny McMurrain what he is asking for and he, as the property developer, will proceed to still do as he wishes. Should we pass regulations to deny his proposed use of the property altogether? Surely you're not advocating that. Is your contention to simply let him stick in whatever retail he wishes into his development? I believe the risk of him leasing space to non-typical PTC retail is the reasoning behind the push by some on the council to work with McMurrain.

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Thu, 09/13/2007 - 6:39pm.

Now that you mention it, I did notice he reposts without the comments he superficially asks for and sometimes he just deletes them. I think I will start keeping very careful track of that now that I have lost my job and now have an extra 10 hours a day.

In fact, I'm thinking of starting a blog-type forum outside of this site. Any ideas?

Or maybe I should run for mayor.

Back to my old picture, so I can say "I don't have a dog in this fight" with real feelings.

Submitted by Jones on Sat, 09/15/2007 - 11:18pm.

Hey Mudcat, you certainly couldn't do any worse than Logsdon.

In fact, as Cal Beverly suggested, you have an actual spine so you are way ahead.

The whole thing with Kohl's stinks to high heaven. Developers rule and the citizens are left to drool.

abeautifulday4us's picture
Submitted by abeautifulday4us on Sun, 09/16/2007 - 5:07pm.

Bad idea. Carol Big Box Fritz was a clueless one termer who was voted out of office after she voted to break the tie and pave the way for the Home Depot/WalMart mess on 54. It was and is a disaster. We already see that PTC's famed planning has crumbled. For about 15 years we have heard "We are almost at build out". And then another bombshell, annexation or New Urbanism comes along and we are just a short ways away from being just like Henry County or Riverdale. I hope that people like McDonough Dawg will please see this.

Stay in retirement, Carol. Far, far away.

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Sun, 09/16/2007 - 5:22pm.

Not sure how I could be clearer. That being said, when the KMart was approved years ago, pandoras box was opened in my opinion. Hard to deny others, when you allowed that one.

abeautifulday4us's picture
Submitted by abeautifulday4us on Sun, 09/16/2007 - 5:39pm.

These two Big Box projects are different.

I value your opinion. You are from Clayton and lived in Henry. You know how we don't want to end up.

Now that the traffic experts have shown us the folly of TDK, have you changed your mind on that road ?

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Sun, 09/16/2007 - 6:40pm.

Most everyone was for TDK until Coweta approved a small city without any access. From my understanding TDK had been on the drawing boards for years. I know the PTC City Councils before the current one approved money to be spent on keeping it alive.

All that said, I do think that access back and forth across Line Creek will be an issue in years to come. Hwy 54 is the only access between Rockaway and Tyrone/Palmetto Road, if my memory is right. I think it will eventually be built, but it certainly needs to be done AFTER Coweta has made improvements for the newly zoned development. Even the Coweta Commissioners attached special stipulations curtailing the development in the event TDK was not in place.

Submitted by skyspy on Thu, 09/13/2007 - 8:05pm.

Maybe Cal will just ban you completely. That would be the best fix. He has the power to do that as well. Keep whining.

Submitted by mg30269 on Tue, 09/11/2007 - 8:08pm.

Hey Cal, get a grip before you have a heart attack! I find it interesting that Cal NEVER approached the Citizens group, I mean the "sheep", about why and how they arrived at their decision. Disagree or agree with the "Destroyer", at least he has had to show up to play ball and take the hits in public not knowing where things would end up. Cal, on the other hand, didn't even show up to sit in the stands and watch the game. I do believe the "destroyer" had to be escorted by the PTC Police back to his car after a meeting once but he comes back again and again to plead his case like the Energizer Bunny. Interestingly enough, no matter what the topic in PTC is, Cal had demonstrated a pattern where he would rather sit back in his comfortable office, get second hand information from "Mini-Me Munford" and lash out with emotion, warped logic, and ugly words to attack the person and people instead of the idea. It's rather embarrassing to get such second rate, lazy journalist from an otherwise good local paper. Shame on you Cal.

Submitted by skyspy on Wed, 09/12/2007 - 7:26am.

Why does mcBULLY keep coming back for more if he is soooo aaaafffraaaiiidd here? If he needs a police escort, he probably shouldn't be here.

If he was even half of a buisnessman with any credentials at all, he would be able to do buisness with good companies that we want. Furthermore if he had any cedibility at all he would do buisness with people who want him. This is a desperate act of someone who is a complete buisness failure. People who are successful usually don't have to bully other people.

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