DOT: light not possible on 54W

Thu, 07/03/2008 - 12:49pm
By: John Munford

Without stoplight, shopping center may go back to drawing board

A developer’s request for a new traffic light on Ga. Highway 54 West for a new shopping center in Peachtree City is going nowhere at the Georgia Department of Transportation, DOT officials confirmed this week.

But the process is still ongoing to get that traffic light approved, Doug McMurrain of Capital City Development told The Citizen Thursday morning.

The proposed traffic light would be too close to the existing traffic lights at Planterra Way and at MacDuff Parkway, a DOT spokesperson said last week. The state’s guidelines require a minimum of 1,000 feet of distance between stoplights and the traffic light sought by Capital City Development doesn’t meet those guidelines, said Kimberly Larson of DOT.

Without that traffic light, CCD can not get a building permit for the site under the special use permit that was approved recently by the Peachtree City Council.

McMurrain said it could take six, nine or more months to secure the traffic light approval from DOT.

The special use permit allows CCD to exceed the city’s size guidelines for the entire shopping center and also for two individual stores on the site, one of which the developer has said would be a grocery store. The entire shopping center would be 175,000 square feet, located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Hwy. 54 and Planterra Way.

Without the special use permit, a shopping center could still be developed on the site because it is zoned for general commercial use. But the development would be limited to being no bigger than 150,000 square feet with no single store larger than 32,000 square feet.

In recent public meetings CCD representatives have said they are waiting to hear back from the DOT on a new traffic light application. But Larson confirmed that the DOT has not received a new application for the traffic light since last fall when a representative from LAI Engineering — which is working with CCD — was told last fall the traffic light would not be allowed.

The DOT engineer who participated in that meeting gave LAI “some other options” for access to the site but as of Wednesday afternoon the company had not yet heard back from LAI, Larson said.

McMurrain previously has told the City Council that the DOT has informed him the shopping center would qualify for the new traffic light based on the “warrants” being met for the amount of traffic at the intersection.

As part of the special use permit approval, CCD has to provide a potential right of way access point along Planterra Way to the shopping center. That area, which has only so far been considered for being used if needed in the future, would allow for motorists to use the existing light at Planterra Way to enter the shopping center.

Such a move would most likely be opposed by at least some residents in the neighboring Planterra Ridge subdivision who have complained of the possibility that an access point on Planterra would allow a significant amount of cut-through traffic to go through the subdivision by turning right to go south.

Councilman Don Haddix, who joined Councilman Doug Sturbaum in voting against the special use permit, has said the city should build a road that would extend from the shopping center straight across Planterra Way to reach Huddleston Road. Haddix contends will be a better “shortcut” for motorists, thereby discouraging them to cut through the Planterra subdivision.

The special use permit, approved on a 3-2 vote, has drawn some controversy because Peachtree City has agreed to CCD’s request to sell or swap land in exchange for part of Line Creek Drive and all of Line Creek Court, two existing city roads. Without those roads, the developer would not have had enough room to build the larger stores because of the city’s setback requirements from public roads.

CCD’s Doug McMurrain said he would commit to pay a minimum of $500,000 (or swap an equivalent amount of land) in exchange for the streets. Recently he also agreed to pay up to $200,000 to fund landscaping in the median of Ga. Highway 54 West from Planterra Way to the city limits.

CCD has also committed to a significant landscaping along the southern border of the property, which abuts homes in the Cardiff Park subdivision. That buffering will include landscaping, berms and fences to screen the development from view of the Cardiff Park residents’ backyards.

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Submitted by jackyldo on Fri, 07/04/2008 - 10:19am.

All you hear is the developer says this and that and most of it is neither fact nor reality based.

This is a guy looking for "special use" permits and acting like it's his right and not a privilege to obtain it.

zoes's picture
Submitted by zoes on Thu, 07/03/2008 - 2:46pm.

"McMurrain said it could take six, nine or more months to secure the traffic light approval from DOT."

This said after: " The state’s guidelines require a minimum of 1,000 feet of distance between stoplights and the traffic light sought by Capital City Development doesn’t meet those guidelines, said Kimberly Larson of DOT."

How can it take any time to secure traffic light approval when it is clearly undoable based on the guidelines? Or is he waiting to see who's pockets he isn't lining yet so he can get what he wants?

No is No Mr. Ego. Go Away.


Submitted by sageadvice on Fri, 07/04/2008 - 4:25pm.

Were it that simple!

A way will be found. Why do you think the city officials acted as if they didn't know about the light distance? They did, of course--they aren't totally incompetent.
The town wants this income producer, and for that only, I don't know if there is any favoritism there.

It will be "worked" out, you can bet.
I fear the master plan from original concept was to use Planterra as an entrance now that they own the streets that were in that land. They would not have been able to conveniently cross those streets from Planterra.

Give it up. Elect different people to PTC council and Mayor if you really are interested in a planned city. It may already be too late.

Submitted by MYTMITE on Thu, 07/03/2008 - 4:11pm.

If the stoplight is not permitted now, why would it be in 9 months? And if the city allows the light at Planterra Ridge to be used for this shopping center the residents of Planterra should impeach any councilperson who votes for it and sue the city. Can you imagine the traffic going through that subdivision! Maybe it is time for McBullly to turn tail and leave. Maybe he can be civic minded and donate this land to go with the land the council "gave" or sold to him as a park for the area. Sure, and I am Tinkerbell.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Thu, 07/03/2008 - 5:14pm.

”And if the city allows the light at Planterra Ridge to be used for this shopping center the residents of Planterra should impeach any councilperson who votes for it and sue the city.”

That would be a neat trick seeing that the Highway 54 West Overlay District, authored in part by the vary same developer Doug McMurrain, calls for exactly that.

The original site plans for that development show the main entrance into and out of the shopping center connecting to Planterra Way.

Three of the current, not to be reelected, city council members included a change in the Highway 54 West Overlay District that removes this requirement in the SUP. By the way, they removed the requirement without ‘any’ public comment.

In their arrogance they seem to think they understand traffic management analyses better than the experts we paid to put the original plan together.

Not only did Logsdon, Boone and Plunkett sell PTC down the river with this mess, they agreed to let a few, very few, Planterra and Cardiff Park residents steer the ship into the ice.

I hope the residents of Planterra and Cardiff Park fully appreciate the abortion they helped to create. I would have settled for the Hooters and kept the roads as city property.

Submitted by MYTMITE on Thu, 07/03/2008 - 5:30pm.

I agree wholeheartedly that Logsdon, Boone and Plunkett sold us down the river and the people in Planterra ran scared when McBully threatened them (us) with a Hooters. I, too, would have preferred a Hooters. Thank goodness we have Haddix and Sturbaum looking out for us but with Plunkett going along with those other two we are still stuck for the time being--and as I have said before-I hope there is something of PTC left by the next election.

I do admit I did not know about the Highway 54 Overlay District and McBully's part in authorship. Due to circumstances beyond my control I have had to be absent from the area and many meetings, etc, but I do try to keep informed. Thanks for filling me in.

Oh, I do know that Ye has only one e, though, Yee would be someone of Asian persuasion.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Thu, 07/03/2008 - 5:42pm.

I looked at that and it passed 'spell-check' so I let it go.

Old English is NOT my forte. My use of New English isn’t much better sometimes.

Submitted by MYTMITE on Thu, 07/03/2008 - 5:45pm.

As an old aunt of mine would say "I was only "pushing your leg." Much better to be up on what is going on around you than to spell--sorry to say, I am evidently better at spelling----

Silence Dogood's picture
Submitted by Silence Dogood on Thu, 07/03/2008 - 12:59pm.

Please dear Lord. Not another traffic light. Especially not one there.

Thank you.

Liferfrom65's picture
Submitted by Liferfrom65 on Fri, 07/04/2008 - 11:30am.

So when do we get to UNelect these three? I can never seem to find info for when the next election for mayor is to be held.


Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Fri, 07/04/2008 - 7:17pm.

November 2009.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by Spyglass on Mon, 07/07/2008 - 9:32am.

In it's current state of zoning, what would you like to see go on this property?

Assuming the special use permits for the additional 25K square feet are denied due to the red light issue.

We know what you are against, what are you for? I for one would be interested in hearing your alternatives.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Mon, 07/07/2008 - 10:43am.

That is a personal opinion versus legality question.

My personal opinion is nothing built because of the glut of empty retail we have. Councils that have voted by personal opinion have given us nothing but problems, as in lost lawsuits, such as Hyde/Lowes, and the intermixing of uses in the Industrial Park that have caused a lot of friction. The way a number of our variance, Special Use and other clauses are structured make them opinions not based on firm standards.

The current legal reality is what the GC zoning allows to be built. Big Box banning laws exist across this nation for very real reasons of negative economic and crime impact on cities. That is not personal opinion but researched fact.

Here is a list of permitted uses.

(1006.2)Permitted uses: The following uses shall be permitted in any GC zoning district:
(a) Retail business involving the sale of merchandise on the premises, provided no single tenant, owner, occupant, or business occupies more than 10,000 square feet. (note: conditional use allows up to 150,000 total and 32,000 each building maximums.)
(b) Business involving the rendering of a personal service on the premises.
(c) Office for governmental, business, professional or general purposes.
(d) Commercial recreation facility located entirely within a building on the premises.
(e) Publicly owned building, facility or land.
(f) Building, facility or land for the distribution of utility services.
(g) Building, facility, or land for noncommercial park, recreation, thoroughfare or open space purposes.
(h) Private or semiprivate club, lodge or social center.
(i) Building, facility or land for off-street automobile parking.
(j) Hotel or motel.
(k) Commercial trade or vocational school.
(l) Radio and/or television station, not including a transmission tower.
(m) Wholesale business involving the sale of merchandise on the premises.
(n) Newspaper publishing facility.

Of those c, h, k, l or n would be most appealing.

I would note here that if my proposed Moratorium had been passed GC zoning would have been refined for usages and conditions, seriously lacking now, with hopefully the SUP removed, restoring the Big Box ordinance to its original purpose and intent. The proper buffers and such would be built in, as I have staff working on now in more than one zoning change proposal, not subject to negotiations and trade offs with developers or hoping to get the changes passed before a developer files a plan, as has happened with CCD, Walgreens and the Hilton LUC.

If those issues would have been addressed properly by old Councils the GC developed in PTC would have been far better controlled and we would have had far better outcomes than we have now.

This issue more than demonstrates the need for change.

I hope that answers your question fully.

And thanks all for the kind words about Doug Sturbaum and me. Much appreciated and will not be forgotten.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by Spyglass on Mon, 07/07/2008 - 11:43am.

I agree, that much of the problems we are dealing with today in PTC were brought on by previous Councils.

Of the current legal choices, I for one thought the new plan was better than a Mish-Mash of stores that we may get now, but the red light issue may just stall all that.

gelato's picture
Submitted by gelato on Sat, 07/05/2008 - 9:02am.

Is there any way we can fast forward time to get rid of the real Bozo any sooner?

Submitted by Roadrunner on Fri, 07/04/2008 - 8:03pm.

For being the Councilman we thought we were electing. Its a shame it will be so long before we can give you a majority of council members/mayor that actually care about the quality of life in PTC.

Submitted by MYTMITE on Fri, 07/04/2008 - 10:11pm.

When I voted for Don haddix, I prayed that was the person I thought he was and that we truly needed. Thank goodness, he has been. Mr. Haddix always keeps us informed on what is happening in our community, he replies to every inquiry and he certainly seems to want only the best for Peachtree City and its residents. He and Mr Sturbaum are what we need--too bad we don't have three more. Or at leat one---are you listening Ms. Plunkett??

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Fri, 07/04/2008 - 10:30pm.

Mrs. Plunkett will be running for Mayor and will not represent 'us the citizens of PTC' any better than she has in the past.

With Mr's Haddix, Strubaum and King's representation plus 'good' legal advice we should be able to resurrect PTC once again as a fine place to live.

Please take no offense but PTC needs a GREAT woman Jewish lawyer to assist council with the hard decisions. I'm not trying to be disrespectful of the Jewish faith or womanhood but the combination of the two are unbeatable.

I believe we need a hard-nosed, tough-as-nails, take no prisoners, I don't pay them to like me, I pay them to win, type of lawyer to assist PTC in any defense we'll face with developers like Mr. McMurrain.

ManofGreatLogic's picture
Submitted by ManofGreatLogic on Sat, 07/05/2008 - 5:55pm.

One thing I've learned by living in this community a few years (Yes, I'm a Yankee by birth--Southerner by choice) is that you folks in PTC will never vote for anyone who doesn't say, "I'm a Republican."

Sorry, but it's true. Most of you will vote for a Republican, even if that person is pro-development.

Then you'll turn around and whine about who you elected.

It's called anti-process. Look into it.

Better yet, ask Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity about whether PTC should be open to development or kept quaint.

They're going to say, "BULLDOZE IT."

We get the government we deserve.

Submitted by Spyglass on Mon, 07/07/2008 - 9:31am.

You will not want to live here. Smiling

yardman5508's picture
Submitted by yardman5508 on Sat, 07/05/2008 - 8:17pm.

I could not have said it better myself, though I do so on regular occasions. And MYTMITE...I don't feel the "logic one" was referring specifically to you, but "the typical voter" in Fayette County. The pickin's are, indeed slim on the Democratic side right now, but that will change, when the voters here begin to see the things "great logic" is addressing. The Democratic Party would LOVE to be able to field a full slate of candidates locally, and will, indeed, in the future. Afterall, SOMEONE has to represent the people's interests. Keep the faith.

Even a dead fish can go with the flow.

Submitted by MYTMITE on Sat, 07/05/2008 - 7:02pm.

I vote, and always have, for the individual I think will do the best job regardless of party. I do not listen to Limbaugh or Hannity. I think Limbaugh is a bag of wind and a liar. Hannity I have never heard nor wish to. I will continue, locally, state wide and nationally to vote for the person I think has the best interest of the people at heart. Locally, we seem to have found two in Mr. Haddix and Mr. Sturbaum, state wise is pretty slim pickings and sad to say, in this wonderful country of ours, we were able to come up with three people,(now down to two),none of whom I am anxious to see lead our nation. I do not see any of them getting us out of the mess we are in at this time.

Git Real's picture
Submitted by Git Real on Sat, 07/05/2008 - 6:33pm.

is that you folks in PTC will never vote for anyone who doesn't say, "I'm a Republican."

The only reason you 'cross over' is that your choices of Democrats are soooo limited at the moment you have nothing to vote for other that the fielded Repubs.. We'll see if you sing the same tune when Dems trot out a full slate perhaps in a few years. My money will be placed on the probable fact that you'll be pulling a straight party ticket. So please give us all a break with your silliness.


"That man was Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Scott Ballard".


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