‘No big box’

Mon, 11/12/2007 - 5:19pm
By: Cal Beverly

Developer still wants PTC to sell him 2 city streets for revised project

A retail developer still wants to buy part of two city streets near Planterra Ridge on Ga. Highway 54 on Peachtree City’s west side, but the company has abandoned plans for any “big box” stores, a company representative said Monday evening.

The City Council will consider Thursday night whether or not to go ahead with either selling part of Line Creek Drive and Line Creek Circle outright to developer Doug McMurrain or exchanging property with him.

Preliminary analysis suggests the City Council may have enough votes to sell two city streets to McMurrain, who previously wanted to build an 89,000-square-foot Kohl’s Department Store on the site. The proposal has drawn heated opposition from many Peachtree City residents.

McMurrain of Capital City Development said the company has gotten the message “loud and clear” that local residents don’t want large regional shops, also known as big boxes. If the streets remain public, there is not enough room for such a large store due to the city’s setback ordinance.

McMurrain last month withdrew his request for the street acquisition as opposition grew to his plan to build a Kohl’s on the site.

McMurrain said the company wants to build a development that Peachtree City residents will embrace. But the company still needs the streets to have more flexibility in the design, he added.

“We really need a blank slate,” McMurrain said of the need for the street acquisition. He added that Peachtree City residents want developments “that are special. They don’t want to look like Newnan or Fayetteville.”

Though McMurrain said he is confident the new proposal will win over Peachtree City residents, he said it wasn’t formalized enough to go into detail about it just yet.

McMurrain said if the proposal isn’t something the city wants, it could be voted down by the City Council. At the same time, however, the land is already zoned for general commercial use.

The top three finishers in last week’s city elections all ran as opponents of both the sale of the two streets and the big box proposal.

Councilman-elect Don Haddix won his three-man race for Post 1 without a runoff.

In the Post 2 race, Mike King and Doug Sturbaum will face off in a Dec. 4 runoff. Both are opponents of the sale of the two streets and of the Kohl’s development.

Councilman Mike Harman, defeated last Tuesday, has said he opposed both the streets’ sale and the Kohl’s development. It was Harman’s comment to McMurrain during a break at the last council meeting that may have prompted McMurrain to withdraw his request before it could be voted on.

Mayor Harold Logsdon and Councilman Steve Boone have indicated their support of the land sale and signaled they would be willing to approve construction of a Kohl’s on the site.

And in an email to a constituent, Councilwoman Cyndi Plunkett indicated she might favor the land sale under some circumstances.

“I would like to see the selling of the road tied to major restrictions, specifically the buffers and landscaping ideas you mentioned and even more importantly that the project not contain a big box, especially when it is a product that is merely 10 miles down the road,” Plunkett wrote.

Plunkett pointed out that “Selling the road does not mean they can build the big box nor does it lift the big box moratorium. ... [T]he city may indeed be better off selling a public road to a private entity, when like in this case, it will be used only by an individual owner, RAM development.”

Councilman Stuart Kourajian, who declined running for reelection to the council so he can run for the Fayette County Commission next year, said at a workshop session that he also was against selling the two streets — Line Creek Parkway and Line Creek Circle — to developers.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall in Peachtree City.

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 flip212 on Tue, 11/13/2007 - 2:39pm.

In an email dated 11/12/2007 to a constituent, the Mayor wrote the following:

Cyndi's response pretty much says it all about this issue. I would add that I doubt RAM Development will try again for a "Big Box" at that location and I don't think there is a chance it would pass this Council if they did make such a request. Regarding the road abandoment, I want to hear the developer's plan then make a decision. If we choose to abandon the street and sell the land I will push for deed restrictions to ensure a development that is satisfactory to all. The issue before Council Thursday night is merely to allow staff to proceed with discussions with the developer and to get appraisals of the land. No decision will be made until the new council is in place.

Harold Logsdon


Submitted by skyspy on Tue, 11/13/2007 - 8:31am.

First of all this guy started by trying to bully us. When that didn't work now he "says" that the big box is off the table. Oh sure it is! If you are going to lie at least make it believable.

First of all if the big box was off the table he wouldn't need city streets!!.

Second of all after reading GA state law and code if PTC has accepted any federal and or state money from the Dept. of Transportation they have a say and stake in the sale of the streets. It is just common sense if we do decide to sell the city streets they need to go to the highest bidder. Not some idiot bully developer trying to low ball us.

Those streets need to go to public auction if we need to make money to pay for the illegal tennis center loan.

Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Mon, 11/12/2007 - 10:30pm.

This is one of those instances where certain parties are racing to the finish line, but they will not tell us where the finish line is.

If the land is sold, traded or released in some other way without fully documented plans that have been thoroughly researched and approved, then the city is acting in ignorance. Also, we must look at the larger picture and ponder whether such a move would set a harmful precedent.

I have worked with Doug McMurrain before with a degree of success. However, he required constant proding from the city and he is prone to venture as far away as he can.

President Reagan liked to use the old Russian saying, "Trust, but verify." Beware when the pressure is suddenly on to make moves we do not fully understand.

To take any action at the November 15 Council meeting would be premature.

yellowjax1212's picture
Submitted by yellowjax1212 on Mon, 11/12/2007 - 8:52pm.

Is anyone reading the details? The article states that the Kohl's store is off the table as are any other big box units. We have won that battle. Now we need to assure the the development is the best we can possibly get.
Let's not be so closed minded here. If we sell (or trade) all or part of these roads to RAM, they can create a shopping area sitting further back from 34/54. If we choose to be stubborn and restrict access to the area we will likely get a strip of shops facing the road that are no different from anything else we have. Let's see the plan and then make our decision. McMurrain can't build anything without board approval so lets see what he has in mind.

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Mon, 11/12/2007 - 9:26pm.

and will be. The proposal needs to be addressed. I fully realize it can be developed, and will be developed under it's current zoning. I agree, we need to look at the totality of the project before we make any decisions. The "big box" being off the table is a start in the right direction.

I know PTC can do better than the development across the street, namely Walmart & Home Depot, which should have NEVER been approved.

Hoosier Fan's picture
Submitted by Hoosier Fan on Mon, 11/12/2007 - 9:10pm.

McMurrain says the big box option is dead, so pretty please go ahead and approve the sale/trade of the roads. He will "get back to us with the details". I don't think so.

I think McMurrain needs to get his new proposal together and submit it BEFORE the City Council places the road sale/trade back on the agenda. There is a definite sense of urgency to push something through before the new (and hopefully less developer friendly) City Council takes office.

Submitted by Nitpickers on Mon, 11/12/2007 - 9:04pm.

You see, the KOHLS will do OK once Macintosh Village and TDK are completed! One has to get in early!
There are millions to be made!!!!

Submitted by ATLtoPTC on Mon, 11/12/2007 - 7:08pm.

Why do we even NEED a Kohl's??? If I want or need to, I can get to a Kohl's in just a short drive to EITHER Newnan or Fayetteville - why on earth does PTC need a Kohl's, too? What a stupid, crazy idea. Besides not even needing a Kohl's, can PTC even support a Kohl's? There seems to be a lot of vacant retail space around the city, and restaurants have trouble staying in business - so we're going to build MORE retail space?? Dumb, dumb, dumb.

At least Cyndi Plunkett seems to have a level head on this topic - can she convince the others that Kohl's is a stupid idea here?

Now, if PTC could court Whole Foods to build a market on that land - THAT would be a welcome addition!

Why are Logsdon & Boone being so stupid about this project?

opustv's picture
Submitted by opustv on Mon, 11/12/2007 - 9:47pm.

I spoke with the real estate department at Whole Foods corp. office and they explained that they had studied the PTC area and we do not fit the demographic for WF and do not have a large enough population base within 15 miles of a store. As much as I would love to have a Whole Foods here...it is not going to happen.

muddle's picture
Submitted by muddle on Tue, 11/13/2007 - 9:28am.

I suspect that the "demographic" has more to do with it than the density. The PTC sub-culture is simply different from the in-town sub-culture. Drop in at the Whole foods on Ponce or on Briarcliff and look around at who shops there. The parking lot is full of cars with bike or kayak racks on top and fading Kerry stickers on the bumpers. The magazine racks feature New Age or left wing publications. The closest thing to Christianity is SOJOURNERS, which is rather leftist in its thinking. You won't find CHRISTIANITY TODAY there. The bulletin board has announcements about meetings to learn all about your "chakras" and what to do with them. (Mine are fine as they are, thank you very much.) The guy in line behind you is gay.

In short, a more conservative area is less likely to go for the "organic" emphasis.

Many here are still of the meatloaf and lima bean casserole mindset.

Don't get me wrong. I love the fare at places like Whole Foods. And I would flourish living intown--walking distance from such places.

But until PTC swaps golf clubs for kayaks and meatloaf for sushi, it just ain't gonna happen.

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Tue, 11/13/2007 - 10:57am.

The population density around the stores you mention is MUCH higher than our area. Ponce and Briarcliff are very crowded areas.

The income numbers are fine in our area, but population isn't. I've done studies for companies in the past. These companies could care less whether you're gay/straight/bi, if he money/population metric is there, they will be after the dollar.

muddle's picture
Submitted by muddle on Tue, 11/13/2007 - 11:30am.

Of course, you may be right.

But I wonder why Whole Foods would claim insufficient density whereas other companies move in? Mustn't there be something that marks them off from the others?

I don't think the company cares about their customers' political views, religious affiliations or sexual orientation. But my point was that, here, Whole Foods would not likely be the hit that it is in those urban neighborhoods, and their research and marketing people know that.

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Tue, 11/13/2007 - 11:38am.

If a store like Whole Foods did come in, it would hurt one or more of the established grocery stores in PTC. Then we would have another empty box sitting somwhere. Assume South Fayette Area has 50K people, there are only so many stores that amount of people can support, no close interstate to draw folks etc. I could see them building near 1-85 and 34 before they built here. In fact, that sounds good to me. Let Newnan deal with the traffic.

I see one scenario that could have worked, the "little" Kroger give up the lease and become a Whole Foods, but anyone who owned stock in Kroger would have said that's a move you do not make. BTW, the little Kroger has made inroads in upgrading it's produce etc in that store. FYI.

Submitted by Doug on Tue, 11/13/2007 - 8:23am.

Mayor Logsdon and Steve Boone have come up with their own grocery store concept and Mr. McMurrain is going to build it for them if the city is willing to selling him the land. It's called Whole Fools. This new concept uses the art of tomfoolery on the average consumer. For example, a highly fattening food which is processes with a lot of chemicals will be labeled "100% Organic" in the Whole Fools store. It will also bare a price 45% above suggested retail. The store's motto is, "What the customers don't know won't hurt them."

But first, we have to sell Mr. McMurrain the land. Oh, I forgot there will also be a special Hooters Deli section in the new Whole Fools!

Submitted by skyspy on Tue, 11/13/2007 - 8:36am.

Whole Foods would be good or Trader Joes.

He owns the land. He wants to buy streets that were built using state and federal tax money. If harold drunk and the councilFOOLS buy off on that it will be one of the bigger PR nightmares of his one term as mayor.

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Mon, 11/12/2007 - 9:56pm.

Our lack of density is the reason for this decision by them. I can live with it for those reasons..

The little Kroger is making an effort to upgrade the produce sections in the store. I shop there whenever I can.

Submitted by Gator on Mon, 11/12/2007 - 5:46pm.


Submitted by Doug Sturbaum on Mon, 11/12/2007 - 5:39pm.

I am inviting everyone to come out to the Council Meeting to have your voices heard. People do not want this Kohl's. The Council needs to strike this land abandonment issue now to show support for the people.

As I have stated, if we tie our comprehensive plan into law and back them with ordinances, we do not have issues like these arising. Let's place the teeth into the ordinances to enforce our plan. A moratorium to produce the ordinances that mandate the following of the comprehensive plan is the key.

There is documented case law that questions the action of land abandonment and should be addressed before any further action is taken on this subject. We do not even need to discuss precedent of action.

We have too much vacant retail and industrial space as is. We do not need more to create more traffic congestion and potential retail blight.

This agenda item overall is not what the citizens of PTC want. City Council - vote against this item for the people of the city.

Doug Sturbaum
Candidate - Post 2 PTC CC

Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Mon, 11/12/2007 - 5:58pm.

You're talking about adding teeth to our laws. We've got teeth, but Harold Logsdon keeps extracting them.

They can't build the Kohl's without totally abandoning the law and city property.

I appreciate your voice and Mr. King's voice on this issue.

Vote Republican

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Mon, 11/12/2007 - 4:02pm.

Perhaps Mr Logsdon does have the three votes necessary to sell the property to RAM Development (McMurrain), but if I learned anything this far along in the campaign for Post 2, I know that he does not have the votes in January to pass any "big box" development. My conversations with Councilman-elect Haddix as well as those with my opponent, Mr Sturbaum, have convinced me that we are unanimous in our opposition to the Kohls project.
As I stated last week in my blog "the Mayor still does not get it" and with 75% of Peachtree City residents opposing such a development, to act otherwise is a mistake. Landowners such as Mr McMurrain do have rights to develop and improve their property, but they must meet the guidelines set forth in the zoning codes and restrictions. Show me something that meets these city standards, enhances our quality of life,does not encumber us with additional traffic conjestion, and something that is appealing to the citizenry and then and only then will I give it favorable consideration.
The Mayor and Councilman Boone are dead wrong on this one and all of us need to contact all on the Council to express our displeasure.
Mike King Candidate for Council Post 2

Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Mon, 11/12/2007 - 6:01pm.

Does anyone remember the two special called meetings with almost no notice on TDK? Who is to say they can't speed up the process so the evil Mike Harman can vote the thing through in late December?

Vote Republican

Submitted by blazing2006 on Mon, 11/12/2007 - 3:57pm.

may very well get sold out Thursday night. I gotta believe Harman is going to use his vote to get back at us.We do not need or want a Kohl's in PTC. At least make the developer come back with something useful for our city. How about a small version of Atlantic Station or something along those lines. Please Council, don't sell us out for another big box store. You will do nothing except further damage and destroy our uniqueness as a city by voting for this.

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Mon, 11/12/2007 - 3:43pm.

“I would like to see the selling of the road tied to major restrictions, specifically the buffers and landscaping ideas you mentioned and even more importantly that the project not contain a big box, especially when it is a product that is merely 10 miles down the road,” Plunkett wrote.

These are not bad ideas, but I seriously doubt the developer would agree to such restrictions.

No to Kohls seems to be the final answer. We don't need a Kohls type store.

dudleydoRIGHT's picture
Submitted by dudleydoRIGHT on Tue, 11/13/2007 - 6:22am.

Get rid of Kmart and put Khols in it's place. Better quality clothing and better sales. My families Day after Thanksgiving exodus would be an easier one. (and I am not saying add more big boxes)

Comment viewing options

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