PTC Council, don’t open Pandora’s big box

Tue, 02/05/2008 - 6:01pm
By: The Citizen

If the Peachtree City Council votes Thursday night to abandon two roads to a developer, the city would be all but paving the way for a big box store.

Right now the city has the ultimate leverage over the situation. It owns the roads, which with setback rules leaves no room for Capital City Development to construct a Kohl’s Department Store at the corner of Ga. Highway 54 and Planterra Way.

Should the City Council abandon the roads, they will also in turn be granting CCD’s wish for a big box store on the 14-acre parcel. Once abandoned, the roads are gone for good. The only thing left to settle would be the granting of a special use permit to build the store, which would be decided also by the City Council.

Oh, and did we mention with the big box likely comes another traffic light you can add to the mix on Hwy. 54, right in between Planterra Way and MacDuff Parkway?

It has also come to light that if the city abandons the roads, it may not receive compensation from CCD. That’s because the city doesn’t possess clear title to the streets, according to City Attorney Ted Meeker.

The Georgia Supreme Court has previously ruled that in such a situation when the road is abandoned without the government owning the title or having condemned the property, “the abutting landowners are presumed to own the fee to the middle of the road, free of the former rights of the general public.”

In other words, the city could well be giving the roads away, an unacceptable premise.

The leverage used by CCD’s Doug McMurrain is a relatively ugly plan that features a gas station directly off Hwy. 54 at the front of the parcel, which backs up to the Cardiff Park subdivision and also the entryway to the Planterra Ridge subdivision.

We can only guess at this point, but one could imagine a traffic light won’t be necessary for just a gas station and a couple of restaurants and auto-oriented shops that McMurrain has on his current plan. That plan was unanimously denied by the city’s Planning Commission last week, leaving the ball in City Council’s court as well.

We can’t blame the nearby residents for wanting the prettiest shopping center they can have in their backyard.

At the same time, it’s not the city’s responsibility to maximize the developer’s profits.

The gas station and the remainder of the stores/shops will have to abide by additional architectural rules established for the 54 West area. So in theory the development will look nicer than most others in the city.

It’s also not in McMurrain’s best interest to slap something together ... he does have to sell the property to interested tenants. Certainly he wants to maximize his return on investment.

Kohl’s proponents argue that the store is not a regional draw since it has stores in Fayetteville and Newnan. They also argue that the company hasn’t closed a store in who-knows-when. Both are valid points.

But once the city grants a special use permit for a big box, Pandora’s Big Box will open and it’s a free-for-all.

Maybe it’s worse if the city sells the roads but denies the big box permit, leading to another lawsuit challenging the city’s big box rules.

Worst of all is if the city abandons the roads then cannot get any money for them because of the clouded title.

That’s a lose-lose for everybody in Peachtree City.

Keep the public roads open to the public. They are our roads, used by the public for decades and paved and repaved with our tax money. Leave the box closed, City Council. For the benefit of all residents, not just a vocal few.

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mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 7:58pm.

Seriously, is that dork working for you or not?
The weekly hate Logsdon letters are one thing, but if you have him on the payroll writing anonymous editorials I think the public has a right to know.

Please answer us Cal. Does Steve Brown work for you at The Citizen? The informed readers need to know.

Submitted by sageadvice on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 8:21pm.

And, I'm sure that Cal approved it whether he wrote it all or not. That is the way newspaper editorials are done.
More can be said that needs to be, when not accredited.
Besides, whether Mr. Brown works for the Citizen or not is their business, not yours. It is not Brown's writing anyway!
Your logic and demands here are the very kind of thing that has destroyed the republican party! CONDESCENDING MANNER! GREED!
The "PEOPLE," whatever their status, must not be forgotten and ignored.

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 8:40pm.

I disagree, you funny little person - we do have the right to know who writes the editorials and whether a former mayor is employed by the largest, finest and most biased newspaper in the tri-city area (tri-city is Tyrone, Fayetteville and PTC). Funny, huh?

Anyway, Mr. Rothley, you need to calm down and understand that Steve Brown is not coming back and if he tries there are many of us that will stop him. Remember Friends of Tom? I thought I saw you lurking in the background the day he was awarded his poster (that he defaced).

I agree that the PEOPLE of all status and classes must not be forgotten or ignored. But that includes me, my family and all the normal people in PTC.

The Republican Party doesn't have anything to do with this issue, but since you brought it up and FYI - I am one and proud to be one and have no idea that we are being "destroyed". Certainly not in Fayette County or Georgia.

Submitted by sageadvice on Fri, 02/08/2008 - 5:35am.

Who he?

If you don't see the demise of the party nationwide, then you are blind.
Fayette County amounts to little in the whole scheme!
Stop defending a dead horse!

Submitted by Spyglass on Tue, 02/05/2008 - 6:44pm.

wasn't Pandora's Box for Big Boxes opened years ago when the first large grocery store was approved for PTC? Exactly who are we fooling when act like we don't have existing big boxes?

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Tue, 02/05/2008 - 8:54pm.

As per the city, the last big box to be built, before the ordinance went into effect, was the Publix on 74 south.

And no the Target doesn't count as the site plan for it was accepted by the city before the ordinance went into effect.

I don't think anybody is trying to fool you or anyone else. What is being said is that we already have enough big box type stores and the headaches they bring.

We simply don't need any more.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Tue, 02/05/2008 - 9:12pm.

Six months ago I was told that the Big Box exception was our best alternative, but I did not believe it then, nor do I believe it now. I have listened to the proponents of the Kohls plan and, to date, theirs is still the most advantageous to Peachtree City.
I am hoping that something can be worked out between Peachtree City and Mr McMurrain before he decides to cut his losses and we end up with three or four "small" retail venues that feasibly could end up as tatoo parlors some ten plus years hence.

Submitted by Jones on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 9:49pm.

I agree with Mike King that the big box is NOT the way to go. It should be pretty clear the ordiance has some power or the big box developer wouldn't be running through all the hoops to get what he wants.

From what I've been told the property is worth, it can't be developed with small little stores. The big box developer is in a bind.

The smaller stores work better because they won't become Big Lots or Goodwill Centers in the future like the "retired" big boxes.

Brown made a good point about Gwinett County's sales tax dropping. Maybe we ought to pay attention.

Submitted by sageadvice on Wed, 02/06/2008 - 6:27am.

You DON'T think the big box is the best, but you think KOHL's is?

Submitted by Spyglass on Tue, 02/05/2008 - 9:22pm.

Although, I wish it was a Dillards (or a more upscale type store) instead of a Kohls being presented. But I understand how being close to the interstate like their store in Newnan and other locales changes the metrics of a store location.

Do you think the "big box ordinance" would hold up under court challenge?

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Tue, 02/05/2008 - 9:52pm.

Under the current set of ordinances our "big box" ban does not stand a chance, my opinion. Mr Haddix's effort to update them is long overdue, and in time there will be "teeth" in what we have on the books.
While I was critical of his attempt at a moratorium, his ultimate goal of taking "interpretation" out of them is a step in the right direction. My objection to the moratorium is that the same result can be attained without taking that step.
An example would be that we may need yet another grocery store, but with a big box ordinance our hands would be tied.

Submitted by sageadvice on Tue, 02/05/2008 - 7:24pm.

It is a "feel good" type of thing.

Don't you feel that this was the plan for the KOHL's since eternity?

Town lawyers don't know who owns the land?

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