Citizens can collectively buy back PTC

Tue, 01/15/2008 - 5:05pm
By: Letters to the ...

We are now working to update and modify our comprehensive plan to include new development and redevelopment. We have few commercial sites left within our city limits, but we have more industrial space, and we have even more potential for redevelopment.

I say the city government needs to take a long hard look at giving its citizens the opportunity to collectively buy some of the property left in PTC. Buy it and either keep it green or make it green.

We have land up and down Ga. Highway 74 within PTC that will be developed someday unless we are proactive to keep more of it under our control. The remaining land within the boundaries of our city does not have to face the same eventual fate as what is now Wal-Mart.

We can do something to prevent this.

In our comprehensive plan update we can strategically and logically choose those lots in our city that we would like to plan to buy. Now is the time!

Once these areas are carefully chosen, council can vote to put forth a bond referendum, whereby you choose whether or not you want to pay out of your pocket to keep our city “planned” and beautiful. If the referendum passes, the money can be used to purchase our last remaining green areas and keep them that way, or purchase some of the areas that need redevelopment and make them that way.

Yes, I know, this would mean temporarily raising taxes. But this is the only way that we can prevent ourselves from being at the mercy of whomever else decides to buy our land and develop it. By doing this we have proactively chosen not to lose control of our community.

Are you ready to pay out of your pocket for the assurance that PTC remains “planned”? I am.

Let’s do it, and not just talk about it. Let’s take control of our town so that we do not have to complain that control was taken away from the people. Let’s preserve the green space that we have left by buying it.

I know, easier said than done. However, we are willing to go to the effort to float bonds to pay millions for an expanded Gathering Place and more recreational space, but we have to think twice about floating a bond to purchase land within our city limits and keep it green so that we can actually recognize our town in 10 years?

To me, if we have to pay out of our own pockets to maintain and ensure our quality of life for generations to come, I am willing to do it.

For all of you football fans out there, I can compare our situation generally to the Green Bay Packers football team out of Green Bay, WI. The Packers are the only football team in the nation that is owned by the townspeople of Green Bay. The people own the team. Because of this fact there is no other team in football that has a more vested fan base. Arguably there are no other fans in the country that have more pride in their team than the Packer fans of Green Bay, WI.

But it is not because they are different in their DNA makeup (although some may argue that point); it is because each citizen actually owns a little of that team. They can be proud not just of the Packers’ success, but also proud of the fact that they had a direct hand in bringing that success to fruition.

So, we can sit back and let other people who do not even live here own our town, and tell us what they are going to do with it. Or we can plan to own pieces of it ourselves and ensure that the pride we now feel as citizens will endure for generations to come.

I am willing to pay for that, are you?

Beth Pullias

Peachtree City, Ga.

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Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Wed, 01/16/2008 - 7:03am.

Good for you. The most basic lesson in property rights has been grasped by you - sadly, not by many others. The owner of the land is entitled to its highest and best use - or any use lesser than that which the owner may prefer.

All these loonies and tree-huggers that show up at planning meetings dictating what they think somebody else should do with their property are so sad and manage to do themselves in by not understanding the actual law.

That being said, your idea has merit, but the voters in PTC won't cooperate. So many are strapped for cash that they actually voted against the Gathering Place extension last election - remember?

Instead, this needs to be a privately-funded group that gets tax breaks - like the Southern Conservation Trust. They only do wetlands, so they won't help, but a similar organization can be put together. I'm on board with money - but we need a leader and organizer - someone non-political. It will be very simple - buy the land and use it for something the group feels is less intrusive - which could be almost anything - then sell the land and return some of the money to the contributors. Simple, easy, not real expensive.

Count me in.

Submitted by sageadvice on Wed, 01/16/2008 - 8:28am.

Then just let developers build what they please! We have no right to stop them from the best use. Why do we even have zoning and ordinances? Makes no sense. Development is always better than people!

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Tue, 01/15/2008 - 7:46pm.

Not when our city council is willing to GIVE and or SELL it to developers!

I understand your wanting to curtail or control development and I commend you for it but do you think that the citizens of PTC would win a bidding war with deep pocket developers?

We haven't heard the last of Capitol City Development's efforts to 'buy' city streets.

It would be nice if our elected officials weren't in such a hurry to sell city owned property to developers. The Mayor and Mr. Boone were both in favor of that remember?

Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Tue, 01/15/2008 - 9:56pm.

I agree with bad_ptc.

An interesting strategy used by Hilton Head, SC was to condemn any property that was brought before them for dense development and make it a park or permanent green space. Unfortunately, Hilton Head probably started a little too late.

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Thu, 01/17/2008 - 8:01pm.

Hilton Head had great leadership and the city/developer bond was strong and that's what made Hilton Head what it is today. Please, please, please do not ever go there. We have a house there and we do not want your input - ever.

Submitted by sageadvice on Fri, 01/18/2008 - 6:26am.

Did you buy that Hilton Head house with "your job" mudcat?

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Fri, 01/18/2008 - 6:49am.

Best thing about leaving Yankeeland years ago is we left with enough from the sale of 1 house there to buy 2 here - and we did.

Submitted by sageadvice on Fri, 01/18/2008 - 8:01am.

Then why are you always "pounding" Mr. Brown to get a job?

Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Thu, 01/17/2008 - 9:11pm.

Yes mudcat there was a great city/developer bond in the early days, especially around the Sea Pines project. However, they were overrun with high density projects and limited transportation options.

They also had their own Wal-Mart fight. They covered their big box up with trees.

The developers later hated the town council in Hilton Head because they kept condemning anything they brought forward.

We "borrowed" the path concept from Hilton Head. The similarities between Peachtree City and Hilton Head are striking.

Our City Planner David Rast formerly work for the Hilton Head government.

I have some interests in Hilton Head and over the past 15 years have witness a steady decline. The newly developed islands learned from Hilton Head's mistakes and are beating them. Many of the business owners I know on the island are worried or phasing out.

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Fri, 01/18/2008 - 7:17am.

Hilton Head was governed mostly by the developers in the 60's, 70's and 80's. The Fraser brothers and our very own Joel Cowan were part of the ruling class. By the time the town was incorporated in 1983, all the large plantations had their own land use plan and could develop without interference from government. Even most of the 80's were problem-free. It wasn't until the late 80's that Hilton Head became a victim of it's own success. All the Yankees and retired military wanted to be in control and town government got stronger, larger and more intrusive. The developer's pushed back, but it wasn't the original group - who are legends in that community. Instead it was the new breed of developers - led by Marriott and their time-share scams that created the friction. The old residents who had paid $100,000 back then for property worth $1,000,000 today could not handle the idea that a youg family with kids could buy a time share and actually own property (sort of) for $5,000. That feeling and excessive enviornmentalism fed the government machine and led to higher taxes and questionable leadership.

The thing Hilton Head failed to do that PTC did admirably (at least on our north side) was to protect our entrance. All that green space and buffer you see on both sides of Hwy 74 was bought up in the 70's by Joel Cowan. HH ignored Blufftown and now Blufftown is probably larger than HH and their commercial development and traffic is really hurting HH.

Yes, David Rast worked there, but no our path concept did not come from there - the path concept was introduced by Richard Browne who brought it here from Columbia, Md and Reston, Va in the 60's and later took it to The Woodlands in Houston. Sea Pines had bike paths as part of their original plan circa 1976, the Town of Hilton Head's paths are relatively new. Yes, there are similarities between PTC and HHI - the sign ordinance is almost identical, the undisturbed landscape buffer idea is similar. Wish we could adopt the traffic circles and the angled/wider left-turn lanes which are much safer.

Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Tue, 01/15/2008 - 10:56pm.

so, how would you go about stopping McMurrain's attempt at putting a gas station at that location? If you are really serious about helping the community, let's band together and stop what he is trying to force feed us.

Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Wed, 01/16/2008 - 10:46pm.

First and foremost, do NOT sell the guy the city streets. He loves using scare tactics to get what he wants.

McMurrain has threatened more homeowners to get what he wants.

Someone in the Matt Ramsey camp kept bringing up that I received a $1,000 campaign contribution for Doug McMurrain back in 2005. That was true, but what they forgot to mention is, while I was mayor, McMurrain built exactly to city standards (no big boxes). As I said before, McMurrain could have left a great legacy in our city, but greed got in the way. The greed was encouraged by Mayor Logsdon who thinks big box stores are the answers to all our problems.

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Thu, 01/17/2008 - 8:10pm.

Libel (and slander if you verbalize this at Starbucks or where ever you hang out)

You wrote this ---"The greed was encouraged by Mayor Logsdon who thinks big box stores are the answers to all our problems."

When it is proven that this is incorrect, you knew it was incorrect and you wrote it -- $2million - plus lawyer's fees will be taken out out of your nest egg/insurance policy/wife's income.

Be very, very careful.

Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Thu, 01/17/2008 - 9:19pm.

Always with the frivolous lawsuits.

Mayor Logsdon openly stated in the Update he thought big box stores were the bomb, as the teenagers like to say. This is public knowledge, just ask the people who fought the Hwy. 74-S Lowes.

Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Thu, 01/17/2008 - 8:56pm.

If that's the case about being sued, then most people on here could be sued for libel!

This blog is a public forum. Mr. Brown has every right to voice his opinions/opposition/insights/recommendations ETC, ETC

Let the free speech flow, please, and stop the threats.

The Crime Dog's picture
Submitted by The Crime Dog on Tue, 01/15/2008 - 10:17pm.

Mayor Brown, remember how your City Council bought the parcels at the entrance to Wynnmeade right along Hwy. 54? I believe the excuse was to protect it from commercial development.

I mean, we needed a place to land that bridge and build a parking lot, wink wink.

Not a good use of our city taxpaying funds. Maybe the current council could right the wrong and sell the parcel to pay for a new police station?

BTW haven't heard you apologize yet for being wrong about the PD problems. Turns out it wasn't groundwater from the nearby dump at all but shoddy construction instead.

Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Tue, 01/15/2008 - 11:02pm.

You are correct that there will be no development on the land we bought - that deal looks better and better with every new development that comes along.

The city still has $600,000 in grants to help build that cart bridge. Hope they build it, especially since all the new development we predicted has happened.

The main problem with the police station site was/and still is they bought a dump for around $25,000 per acre without disclosing the facts the about the dump hazard to the public or the news media. You cannot hide something like that and say it was a legitimate deal.

The dump, which does not conform at all to current standards, is mixing with the water table. That is a lot to pay for a liability from a former business relation of the mayor at that time.

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Tue, 01/15/2008 - 6:32pm.

It will be developed to whatever standards our City holds them too.

I disagree with a city buy back of land program. The City is loaded with green space/parks etc. We just need to hold the property owners feet to the fire when the parcels come up for development.

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