Council must sell roads to Kohl’s developer to ensure best plan for PTC

Tue, 02/05/2008 - 6:21pm
By: Letters to the ...

On Feb. 7, the Peachtree City Council faces a difficult decision which is whether or not to abandon/sell the roads to the developer of the Ga. Highway 54 West property.

That issue is the key as to whether the city controls the look and feel of what will be developed on that site, or whether the city only controls to a minimum what the site will look like.

One alternative is to allow the development to look and feel like The Avenue, BUT that proposal includes a big box, namely Kohl’s.

The other alternative is to get the minimum in terms of landscaping, set-backs, people-friendly atmosphere, and quality of retailers, AND that proposal will include a large scale gas station and at least one national chain restaurant, both of which will create a regional draw.

When this development first appeared on the horizon, the city asked the developer to join with the new development directly to the west and to include local area residents (Cardiff Park and Planterra Ridge) to be involved in the planning.

For several different reasons, the two developments separated, and the residents continued to work with Capital Cities Development on the Line Creek project (better known as the 54 West Development). The representatives of Cardiff Park and Planterra Ridge, as well as the developers, have been meeting for over one year.

During that time approximately 40 different plans/proposals were developed, looked at, discussed, and debated. The end result is what was presented in The Citizen on Wednesday, Jan. 30.

The proposals and plans that were looked at were based upon the fact that the city would be required to abandon or sell the roads to the developer. The legality of that issue was researched.

In addition, there have been approximately fourteen instances of the city trading or giving up roads in Peachtree City.

The legality of granting an exception for a big box was also researched in terms of precedent which many citizens seem to think is reason enough to stop the city from granting the exception. That question also was discovered to not preclude the city granting a special use permit to build a big box.

Many of the citizens of Peachtree City continue to say, “Show us another plan.” Since you cannot appreciate the position of someone else unless you make an effort to walk in their shoes, the citizens of Peachtree City cannot appreciate the amount of effort that has gone into this long-term planning process.

It is far to easy for our residents to sit back in their easy chairs and say, “What if? Why didn’t you try this? There has to be something better. We do not like big boxes,” and on and on and on.

Very few of our citizens have taken the opportunity to become educated regarding big boxes, because not all of them are exactly alike.

The standard governmental definition of a big box is that they are “large, free-standing, discount retail stores.” That definition includes the Wal-Marts, Home Depots, Sam’s Club, etc.

It does not necessarily define neighborhood department stores, large square footage specialty retailers and so forth.

Kohl’s does not fit the standard description of a big box, especially as it is designed for Peachtree City. Kohl’s marketing plan is based on serving customers from a six- to eight-mile radius. It is not a regional draw.

Based on information that has been presented, Kohl’s has not closed a store in the last 20 or so years. They have a sound financial plan and reputation. Kohl’s markets to neighborhoods, and thus, a store in Peachtree City will not adversely affect their stores in both Newnan and Fayetteville.

After more than a year of discussions, compromising, and redesigning plans, Peachtree City is now faced with two choices. Both choices can become a reality.

One choice is a plan that does not represent the aesthetics or quality of design that Peachtree City expects. That choice also does not affect all of the concepts that people talk about when they refer to the “quality of life” in Peachtree City.

The other choice is a development which will be extremely [similar] in nature, including landscaping and walkability, to The Avenue. That plan does include a “big box”; however, if the Kohl’s name was taken off the front of the building, no one would be able to recognize that it is just one retailer.

In addition, that plan includes 24 separate points that protect both Peachtree City and the residents of Cardiff Park and Planterra Ridge for the entire life of the property – no matter who owns it.

It is time for the residents of Peachtree City to make a choice based upon reason and knowledge of all the facts, rather than basing a decision upon excuses and blind emotion.

Citizens should email their council members before the critical vote on Feb. 7. That date is the end date for a decision. There will be no additional postponements or delays. The developer must start turning dirt in the very near future. The issue cannot be avoided any longer by wishing for something else or just ignoring the problem and wishfully thinking the problem will go away.

I sincerely hope that the residents of city take the time to think out what has been presented and remember that like-minded citizens worked diligently for more than a year to develop the best possible plan for Peachtree City.

The City Council must abandon/sell the roads to ensure that the best possible plan for Peachtree City can be developed. If they do not choose to do so, we can all welcome a development that will look like any other tacky development that we see in almost every city and town in our country.

Paul M. Van’t Hof

Planterra Ridge

Peachtree City, Ga.

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Submitted by beenthere on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 10:37am.

The residents of Planterra and Cardiff should have known how that property along side their homes and Hwy 54 was zoned when they moved in there. Now McBully wants to hold them hostage to plead his case to shove this garbage onto the rest of the city. I said way back when that the rezoning to allow those subdivisions to change to residential zone was a bad idea. Again they are unhappy with the zoning around them. We don't need a Kohl's, we don't need another batch of big boxes that will end up vacant or result in other vacancies throughout the city. Kohl's won't be able to keep 3 stores up and running. One from Newnan, PTC or Fayetteville will end up vacant within 5 years.

The city council better not sell/cede those streets to the developer - it will create even more problems. And they sure better not consider an exeption to the big box ban!!! The general ecomony forcast for the next few years is not looking good- we will end up with a bunch of boarded up windows. Look at the vacancies around town- shopping center on Crosstown can only expect more vacancies than they already have. At least one business has failed by the new Target and some store fronts have never had tenents.

We don't need more traffic snarls, impervious parking lots, or large gussied up storefronts.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 10:47am.

What happens if they decide to abandon the streets? It simply reverts to the adjacent landowners who may develop as long as it meets code.
With the developer currently involved, all aspects of his proposal would be scrutinized ever so diligently so as to leave nothing to speculation or interpretation. He has brought that upon himself.
Tonight's action or inaction by our council will indeed be interesting.

Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Wed, 02/06/2008 - 7:58pm.

How bizarre can this thing get? The city doesn’t own the road. No big bucks for the road from the developer. The mayor still wants his big box.

I am very tired of reading the cry baby versions of how the McBully will punish us if we don’t fall on our knees. Grow a spine! Protect the city! Tell McBully to go home!

Vote Republican

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 9:28am.

Could it be crunch time for our Council? Most of the informed citizens of our town know the issue both frontward and backward.
Would anyone care to make a prediction on tonight's vote? Mine would be a split decision approving the abandonment should a vote actually take place.
Perhaps likely, the vote would be postponed so that it could be done in a better light since growing a spine, in my opinion, is not an option.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Tue, 02/05/2008 - 10:41pm.

Mr. Van't Hof, the city will be forced to GIVE, not sell, the developer the roads as the city attorney has stated; PTC doesn't have clear title to them.

Once the abandonment is done, the roads immediately transfer to the adjoining property owner.

What do you supposed we will get in return for our magnanimous gesture?

Why don't you and the others demand that CCD deliver an outstanding project without 'strings' attached?

The threat of a gas station is the same threat as the Hooter's was.

If the Avenue is showing to be a good investment for the city then I see no reason why we need a big box to make CCD's property a good investment.

A Kohl's will draw business away from the smaller locally owned and operated stores in the Avenue and other smaller retail shops, that have been paying taxes here for years. As a result we'll have more empty shops with more local people out of work.

Does a clerk at a Kohl's make enough to pay a mortgage here in PTC, a clerk that used to be a local small business owner that employed other local people until Kohl's came to town?

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