The fate of PTC’s West Side lies not in developers’ hands, but in yours

Tue, 10/09/2007 - 3:58pm
By: Letters to the ...

The issue of granting a special use permit for a Kohl’s on Ga. Highway 54 West has been the most recent heated debate. But this is but one facet of the eventuality that will be the west side.

The Home Depot/Wal-Mart development has been fraught with controversy and disappointment.

We still don’t have a golf cart bridge over the railroad tracks.

The West Village Annexation is still a big question mark, muddled up with legal issues.

Wieland still owns 89 acres adjacent to the railroad tracks that is to this date unplanned.

To top it all off, just over the hill at Fischer’s Crossing there is soon to be a Sam’s Club and multiplex cinema, combined with other shopping on all four corners of Hwy. 54 and Fischer Road, with no DRI in sight to deal with the traffic that will surely clog the area.

What does this mean for western PTC? Well, it can definitely be said that we won’t have many more years of just trees between us and the Coweta County line.

The best that can be done for this area is to try and maintain control over what we have control over. Meaning, let us try to be able to distinguish 10 years from now where PTC ends and where Coweta County begins.

This will be a challenge. It cannot happen without careful citizen participation, planning and enforcement of that plan as it unfolds.

Take Kohl’s, for example: Whether you are for the Kohl’s or against it, something commercial is going on that site; it is zoned that way.

We want it to be nice commercial, something we can be proud of as it will be at the gateway to our town. We need to be sure that we attempt to control what is built, how it is built, protect the neighboring communities, and ensure its use and accessibility by all.

It just does not seem that we have the ordinances in place right now to do that. Our ordinances do not specify the exact criteria for granting or not granting a special use permit.

It is at most subjective, up to council, and majority rules. Subjective rulings just don’t hold up in court. It will be tough to justify one special use permit and not another.

That stinks, folks, but right now that is what it is.

Ordinances can be changed and, in my opinion, should be changed with respect to the special use permit, but that will be then; this is now.

So, now, the burden falls on the community to work with the developers and city planner to come up with the best plan, then to convince council. Council and planning cannot do it all.

I know the group that has been working with the developers to do just that and they feel that they have a good plan, and whether or not you agree with them, you should respect the process that they have endured, the countless meetings, phone calls, conceptual drafts, etc.

They cared enough to go through that process, and who are we, 18 months into it, to tell them they do not know what is best for this town, or in essence, what is best for themselves?

I for one respect any citizen that is proactive, gets involved, speaks his mind, and pushes for what he/she wants. If you choose to sit back and wait for the dust to settle and complain with the result, then shame on you; you deserve what you get.

Respect your fellow citizens, and give them some credit for their efforts. If you disagree, then say so, and offer other ideas. Get involved, then you will be part of the solution, not just a vocal part of the problem.

The West Village is another example of what can happen when enough people do not get involved and work together within the scope of our plan with developers to get a result we can ALL be proud of.

Not to take away from David Rast, because I know that he worked his tail off on this project, but he should have had a lot more resources (citizens) to draw ideas from.

The plan voted on this past May was mediocre at best. It lacked any appeal for anyone who did not live in the West Village itself.

The night council voted to annex that 800-plus acres to our fair city, only a handful of the packed council chambers did not live in Centennial.

Several on council that night did not think it was the BEST plan, but they voted it through anyway. That says it all right there. Where was everyone?

Wieland’s unplanned 89 acres is another question mark. We have heard everything from 350 town homes to “new urbanization.” Yikes! is all I can say there.

There is an 89-acres committee working with Wieland on this plat. I know they are looking for more participants, however. If you are interested, contact City Council. Be involved.

What about a golf cart bridge over Hwy. 54 W. to connect the West Village on both sides of Hwy. 54? Could the developers chip in and build that?

It might actually get built then, and the city could save the $1.1 million it would cost to build it. (That might make granting a special use permit a little more special.)

How about having them (developers) buy up some green space on both sides of Hwy. 54 W. and deed it to the city to ensure some trees at the western gateway to our “tree city”?

How about some tax incentives to encourage developers to redevelop areas like Braelinn Village, Aberdeen Woods, and Lexington Circle?

Get the developers like Wieland to encourage CSX to move their rail spur along Ga. Highway 74 so we actually have options with what to build on the 89 acres. Can you say, “School”?

So to answer the question, “What is the fate of the West Side?” Our fate is what we make it. WE, meaning us, the citizens of this town.

Go to the planning commission meetings when something is on the table that doesn’t just impact you directly. Go to the council meetings when you can, and speak out. Go to the comprehensive plan meetings this month and next. Check, our city’s website often to be in the know. Email the council and planning commission.

Attend the first-ever open-to-the-public political forum for the candidates coming up Oct. 22 at McIntosh Auditorium (more info on this later); be informed and VOTE in the upcoming November election.

Make sure you have a representative from your neighborhood on the Peachtree City Civic Association. They are a great group, just set up this year to advocate for the citizens.

There are a plethora of ways to participate — everyone should pick just one. You, yes, you, can make a difference in the future and fate of the West Side and all “sides” of our awesome little town.

Beth Pullias

Peachtree City, Ga.

login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Submitted by tc on Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:12pm.

There were many people at the PTC council meeting that night, and some of us were at the previous planning commission meeting. We raised multiple, serious questions about the development that went unanswered from the staff, developers and finally, the council who should have delayed voting until the questions were answered. Had Councilmember Cindy Plunkett, who lives in Centennial, not forced the issue in a most unprofessional way, some of those questions might have been answered and the vote delayed until the issues could be ironed out. One of the most glaring of the questions was who was going to pay for the new road. It was exceedingly obvious that the developers, Wieland and Levitt & Sons, did not agree on how they were going to pay for construction. Furthermore, the Levitt attorney stated that night that they had no more bargaining room. Both developers were forced to confur with staff in public to "offer a better deal" to PTC. The result was that no one won. Now Levitt and Sons has pulled out because they could not make it work financially, and the PTC Council has set a precendent for future bagaining with developers in public. In order to make this right, we need to go back to the drawing board. An annexation plan without one of the partners is no plan at all.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.