Haddix: By 3-2, PTC going the wrong way

Tue, 09/09/2008 - 2:39pm
By: Letters to the ...

The recent announcement of job cuts at Panasonic is a shock and a loss to Peachtree City. It is also a call to take a serious look at where Peachtree City currently is and where it is going. For those who remember, these were campaign issues and have been ongoing concerns for Councilman Doug Sturbaum and me.

This job loss is yet another in a list of manufacturing, industrial and other higher paying job losses over the last number of years.

Yes, we have had employment gains as well. But growth in retail jobs cannot and will not offset those higher paying job losses.

Yes, we do have Sany locating here. But where that was seen by some as a gain, it is actually a partial offset to the losses. That offset will take 10 years to be fully realized.

As well, Fayette County, especially Peachtree City, has measured much of its success on attracting well-paid commuters to live here. That is a reality we cannot look to in the future because the demographic and logistic realities have shifted to people demanding to live close to their jobs, as reflected in our population growth slowing before the current economic woes and now being flat to negative. And no, mass transit is not an answer as that is still a form of long distance commuting and it brings its own inherent problems along with it.

So, am I crying, “We are doomed!”? No, never. I am saying now is the time to get off the old ways of thinking, as in, “Build it and they will come,” “More retail means more consumer spending; after all, there will always be some empty stores,” and, “Things will get back to the good old days and how it always has been. It always comes back.” Times and realities have changed. We need to change or be left behind.

In the past, Peachtree City was growing, but now we are at build-out. That means that flow of one-time fees, other one-time or short monies and donations to the city from new construction, so heavily counted on in the past, are drying up.

No longer will the next new retail construction cover the catching up of infrastructure and service costs from older constructions and ongoing budget expenses, as stated in a recent budget.

Now new retail construction will simply increase the number of empty stores within Peachtree City and reduce the sales in others as our infrastructure ages and consumes more money in repair and replacement costs.

Realities found on the Northside, and across the country, give us ample warnings of how not to proceed. Those realities include malls, Big Boxes and large shopping centers turning into crime magnets whose infrastructure and service costs end up exceeding their incomes, with age begin going dark, especially the Big Boxes and large centers that actually generate less income to cities, counties and states than they consume.

If you doubt that, look at the locales and even states penalizing and even banning them now. Look at all of these places that sit empty or have become large flea markets. Just drive around Peachtree City and see all the empty stores, fewer cars in parking lots and less inventory being carried in the Big Boxes.

Then look at Fayetteville, where it is worse, and Coweta, where it is even yet worse, with about 30 percent vacancy, but they keep building. Also look at the Northside, where they are moving to the village and downtown shopping models as fast as they can once the ability to keep annexing and building new projects ended.

For the future of Peachtree City, taking into consideration our geographical location, we need to make our first priority recruiting research, development, tech, medical and educational institutions and businesses. Those employ people who will work, live and shop here, without commuting.

Attracting those assets will sell our too many homes on the market and enhance our home values. In turn that will fill our empty stores and enhance sales across the board, which will further increase housing demand and add to local sales in retail and other commercial interests.

Those working in our retail, by and large, do not live or pay property tax here. And if they do live here, they have less disposable income than those assets we need to be seeking.

The old “grow or die” in size and numbers demand isn’t working out. We need the new grow in quality demand model. Places that have succeeded in that model are doing quite well.

As we all know, some of the most key players in driving the goals and future of Peachtree City are the members of the Peachtree City Council. How we promote and vote carries heavy weight as to what the results will be.

So where does the council stand? Basically we have a three to two split. Three are for business as usual where being a great commuter city with low crime, high quality standards and great recreation will do the trick. Basically the old model of “Build it and they will come.”

Two are Smart Growthers, meaning you add what is needed, not anything that presents itself, actively seek what you need, keep up with what is successful and what is not and create the infrastructure required to bring what is needed here.

On annexation, three have few restrictions when it comes to adding property or annexing to grow Peachtree City liberally when an annexation request presented itself.

Two oppose annexation unless it can demonstrate true gain to Peachtree City, as in provable positive and needful reasons.

In example, the 80 acres at Redwine and Ga. Highway 74 versus annexation of the Publix and Steinmart shopping areas. One is built, has a proven income history, squares out our city limits in one area, brings in an area where we are already providing some services and so on, while the other is not even built, will require allowing WASA onto the property and is a neighbor of the already existing Wilshire shopping, which already has Dominion building competition immediately across Hwy. 74.

On Big Boxes and large shopping centers, three support them and two oppose. Remember here, Big Box ordinance caps boxes at 32,000 square feet and total site development at 150,000 square feet, per national impact and other studies. To build more requires special permission from Council, which has been granted by this council in a 3-2 vote this year. Inventing definitions for Big Boxes or trying to add the term Mid-Sized Boxes does not change the reality of what constitutes a Big Box.

On extending sewer into the county, three are willing to use it as a tool for annexation and control where there is no compelling need, while two are strongly opposed except for the most compelling need.

As regards building more homes, three are for allowing more and two are against because we simply do not need more homes at this time. This is demonstrated in the lifting of the multi-family moratorium to allow John Wieland Homes to not only move forward on requesting a rezoning of 89 acres to residential, but high density residential.

In all these issues the two votes were Councilman Doug Sturbaum and myself.

One time I can remember where this pattern was broken was on the variance request to exceed 35 feet for the proposed Fairfield Inn. Doug Sturbaum and I managed to ask the questions that uncovered an issue concerning the request that resulted in 2-3 vote defeating the request, Cyndi Plunkett voting with us.

But it is significant that two still voted in favor, as all three had done so before on a Hilton request to exceed 35 feet, even when motel and conference center occupancy rates in Peachtree City are running less than 40 percent total.

The one other time this pattern was broken was in the effort to take away the Development Authority of Peachtree City (DAPC) funding. Cyndi Plunkett again voted with us to defeat the measure 2-3.

These issues reflect how important it is as to who is making the decision on the future of Peachtree City. There are those who do not believe citizen rights exceed developer rights, do not believe you cannot simply build your way out of problems, do not understand the basics of market economy laws of supply and demand, consumer base, market share and do not understand demands change with time. Then there are those that do understand those realities.

The DAPC of Peachtree City plays a critical role in our future. Without them we have no organized effort to recruit the institutions and industries critical to our future, determine the infrastructure we need and pursue it, pursue business to fill our vacant store fronts and work with our current businesses and industry for retention.

This is why I became the liaison to the DAPC to aid in fully bringing them on line from their shelved condition where some had actually thought of disbanding them.

Everyone is entitled to their own thinking, motivations and beliefs. My thinking and motivation is that we have taken a wrong fork in the road and are heading in the wrong direction. Those on the three side of the votes totally disagree. Ultimately the voters determine whose thinking will be making the critical decisions.

So, why did I write this letter? Because newspapers often leave the impression Councilman Doug Sturbaum and I say nothing or very little and have little impact on what council does, such as ordinance changes, etc., and that the council largely agrees on every issue, none of which is true.

In addition, I had promised open communications with the citizens, which I an keeping via occasionally using the venue of letters to the editor and will more frequently keep with postings on donhaddix.com, along with Councilman Doug Sturbaum and Representative Matt Ramsey.

All of us are always open to questions and remarks.

Thanks for your attention and patience. I hope this gives some perspective on the issues facing Peachtree City and how council is looking at those issues.

Don Haddix

City Council Post 1

Peachtree City, Ga.

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 Skeptic on Tue, 09/09/2008 - 10:01pm.

Councilman Haddix,

I appreciate your comments on the evils of annexation, but they seem somewhat contradictory to your website posts on annexation of the small parcels near the West Village.

You say we do not need more homes at this time. I have a simple question for you: if the West Village annexation (900 new homes we don't need at this time) is thrown out in the pending court suit, and Wieland and Scarbrough reapply for the West Village annexation, will you vote for it or against it?

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Tue, 09/09/2008 - 10:38pm.

We are far past the issue of the annexation. It is a done deal that does not require a new attempt, I believe. I do not think it is going to be thrown out, even with the errors committed before.

But even if it turns out it is overturned, too many legal issues have been established to try to deny it now. The small parcels are tied up in a number of other legal issues created prior to my election during the annexation.

I am not going to create lawsuits I don't see how we could win. Especially on this scale.

We cannot stop the Scarbrough development, realistically. Further, being 55 plus takes away the children issues and most of the commuter problems.

But the remaining Wieland land is another issue. We do not have to rezone it from industrial to residential. Or the property in process of annexation from agricultural reserve to residential.

Scarbrough is looking at 160 homes currently.

What I want and what is reality are two different issues here.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by Skeptic on Tue, 09/09/2008 - 11:14pm.

Councilman Haddix,

At 3:39 today you posted the following:

"On annexation, three have few restrictions when it comes to adding property or annexing to grow Peachtree City liberally when an annexation request presented itself.

Two oppose annexation unless it can demonstrate true gain to Peachtree City, as in provable positive and needful reasons.

As regards building more homes, three are for allowing more and two are against because we simply do not need more homes at this time."

Now, just under 8 hours later, when faced with the choice of annexing the property or not, you take the opposite position.

I did not ask you whether you thought the West Village annexation would be thrown out, that will be decided by a court. I asked you what you would do if it was thrown out. Maybe a better question would have been: had you been on the City Council when the vote on the West Village annexation was taken, how would you have voted? If you would have voted for it, why? If you would have voted against it, what has changed, other than the market for selling those homes is much worse now?

You say " too many legal issues have been established to try to deny it now." What kind of gobbledygook is that? What legal issues have been established? What legal issues are the small parcels tied up in? What lawsuit couldn't you win, and why? Do you have any idea what you are talking about? Or is it all another line of bs?

What l

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Wed, 09/10/2008 - 10:41am.

My position for new annexation does not negate the realities of annexations begun prior to my election.

For the legal and other issues, please go back and review the votes under the last Council, with Logsdon as Mayor, and prior, with Brown as Mayor. Also research the legal and other actions already taken place and in work concerning these issues and this area.

I cannot rewrite, reinvent or nullify those actions. I have to deal with them as they are. Try to make the best of it.

The small parcels are tied up in the larger issues. State law prohibits creating County islands within a municipality via annexation. It has to be fixed.

As for how I would have voted if on Council when this whole annexation process began, I would have voted against because it was very obvious what adding all those homes to that area would do to traffic, etc. Then, and now, we simply did not need to grow PTC in size.

I hope this satisfies your questions. Not really much more I can say without sitting down with you one to one.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Tue, 09/09/2008 - 9:01pm.

I appreciate your attention to what is a looming crisis Councilman Haddix.

From a historical perspective, then-Mayor Bob Lenox outlined several of the points you addressed in your letter.

I have had numerous people ask me why Logsdon, Boone and Plunkett seem to be voting for every out of scale development under the sun and I do not have an answer.

The last several years of deficit budgeting do not help things much.

For the people who moved to Peachtree City 10 years ago or beyond, that city is disappearing. For the people who moved here within the last 10 years, the city is still better than Gwinnett, Fulton, Clayton, etc. but will decline at a faster rate.

The city election of 2009 could be the most important ever.

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Wed, 09/10/2008 - 6:51am.

The West Village (the plan and rezoning at least) will be a one deal long before the 3 new people take office in January 2010. And there will be 3 new ones. Boone is very vulnerable - even Steve Brown could beat him. Haddix is obviously positioning himself for mayor and could win. Cyndy has had it and will not run. Logsdon thinks he can get elected at the state level and won't run again.

And, with a low turnout - a few hundred votes will make the difference. Even low profile candidates with loyal support could be one of the 3 winners. This is the ultimate off-year election, no national elections - maybe governor and a state rep or two.

Nevertheless, the new mayor and council will have nothing serious to preside over or decide. Peachtree City will be built out, no rezonings or annexations. Businesses will come and go. Industrial Park will slowly sputter towards its completion.

The new folks will just have to maintain cart paths, expand the police department and reduce city hall staff.

So showboats like Brown, Logsdon, Lenox, Rapson, Weed, Dar Thompson, Dan Tennant, etc. won't be needed. Haddix is the right personality type.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Wed, 09/10/2008 - 7:10am.

you've hit right on the head! Hopefully, Don Haddix makes the decision to run for mayor and for one I would like to see our current mayor run against him. Even with a campaign chest full of developer contributions, I, for one, believe that although his ego is telling him to run for higher office his backers will advise him to remain local.

The ultimate test of his performance would be to end up defeated as an incumbent by the same margin of loss as it was when we put him in office.

Just my two cents worth.

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Wed, 09/10/2008 - 6:54pm.

City will be built out. Secret contributors will have all gone away. Dingy Don in his brown suit and brown shoes might win since nobody has the desire to run for anything in this city.

My neighbor wants to run for council and I told her to go for it since she's smart and qualified. She probably won't, but if she does it will be against Boone and I will help. What a loser that dude is.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Thu, 09/11/2008 - 5:55am.

...a lot to clean up or at least things to put in motion to prevent further losses. Some major hiring decisions, budget priorities, and major house cleaning(opinion) will have to be addressed. Currently, I would say that Don is the right guy for the job.

Encourage your neighbor to run, being both qualified and smart coupled with the astute council that you surely will provide, would be a breath of fresh air at city hall. We both know that she would be an improvement.

Submitted by dkinser on Tue, 09/09/2008 - 11:05pm.


Not that I'm trying to turn this into a pick on Steve Brown night, but prior to the election where you were removed as Mayor, you were encouraging me and I'm sure others; to vote for Ms. Plunkett.

Today, you take aim at her votes. I know Cindi, and I believe she votes her conscience. When I've seen her on an issue, she educates herself, she listens to the sides, and she makes her decision.

It is not her fault to be on a Council with two who vote yes to build anything (Mayor says yes, Boone just shakes his head), and two who seem to vote no for anything.

Yes, I agree, in some ways, this city isn't what it used to be; but I also agree partially with your comment "For the people who moved here within the last 10 years, the city is still better than Gwinnett, Fulton, Clayton, etc. but will decline at a faster rate." The partial is because I don't see the decline happening faster than those areas did, but the city is far better than those you listed.

I lived in Jonesboro before coming to Peachtree City. I watched that city and county nose dive and quickly. Can it happen here? Yes. But I have faith in the voters and stewards of this county and cities to keep their votes in the best interest of the community.

And I guess with your closing comment, are you subtlely announcing your run for Mayor again? If so, I would agree with you, that election could well be the most important one ever.

Dana Kinser

Submitted by MYTMITE on Wed, 09/10/2008 - 2:30pm.

there are some things I feel the need to repond to. First of all I believe Steve Brown lost an election-he was not "removed" from office. Saying he was 'removed' makes it look as if he was recalled or removed for something he had done wrong. People decided to make a change. I am sure now all but a few of those who are well connected are realizing this was not a change for the good. I do believe Mr. Brown has the best interests of Peachtree City at heart; I believe Harold Logsdon couldn't give a ---- what happens to Peachtree City.

As for the demise of Peachtree City. Yes, it can happen quickly. You say you have confidence in the voters of this city--most things are being voted on by City Council and not a city-wide vote and you can see wnere that has gone. Mr. Haddix and Mr. Sturbaum vote for the things that benefit the city. God knows whose benefit Logsdon and his yes-man vote for-- but I think many of us have an idea. Ms. Plunkett is usually the swing vote that brings on still another monster to devour our city. Ms. Plunkett may be very nice, may study the issues but I would like for her to explain how some of the things she has voted for are of benefit to the city.

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Wed, 09/10/2008 - 6:48pm.

Because that's what we as a city did. Fired his sorry butt - big time. Brown brought nothing to the table in the way of leadership, just a bunch of Democrat inspired feely good ideas.

No he won't be running again. House husband has had his political allowance shut off. Thank God.

MainframeComputerGuy's picture
Submitted by MainframeComputerGuy on Fri, 09/12/2008 - 11:17pm.

some of the animosity toward Steve Brown. I moved here late in 2000, at the end of King Bob's reign, and it wasn't difficult to quickly determine that he was just a marauder who was fleecing the City. I saw the derogatory snipes at SB but figured someone who took the time to be involved at that level and was against the status quo couldn't be all bad. Then there was KB's lackey, Dan Tennant. Reminds me of Logsdon and Boone. He was definitely "removed" and that was reinforced during the last election.

So SB is "booted" for Logsdon. How did that improve things? Maybe there were some contradictions in Brown's words and deeds (that you guys all seem to be aware of in excrutiating detail) but why were they bad enough to enable Logsdon to sneak in? And are we further ahead than we would be had Brown been reelected?

Thanks for your insight.
Gary R.

Submitted by MYTMITE on Wed, 09/10/2008 - 9:35pm.

Since you think he did such a lousy job, evidently you were one of those who voted for Loopy Logsdon. How's that working for you? Pray tell what has Happy Harold done for Peachtree City except give away every thing he possibly could? No, he won't be running for office-he will do well to get through his term without being recalled and he probably fullfilled or will have fulfilled all his obligations to the developers, etc who helped him get into office. Steve Brown never wreaked the havoc that Harold Logsdon has. And before you jump on it--I am not a strong supporter of Brown but have always felt he had the best interests of the city at heart. Can you say the same about Logsdon?

What about his being a house-husband bothers you? If he and his wife are happy with that situation, what business is it of yours or mine? There are many house-husbands around today. I think it is great that a family can determine who is best suited to go out into the workplace and who is suited to stay at home. That should not elicit a derogatory remark from you, but then you delight in making nasty comments to everyone. You probably think you are being clever but it really comes across as being strident and mean-spirited.

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Thu, 09/11/2008 - 5:07am.

And so does Steve Brown and so did every other mayor and most councilpeople.

And they have all made mistakes with their actions and interpretation of what is best for the city. If Lenox hadn't broken the mold of weak mayor/strong city manager things would probably be fine. And if Brown hadn't let his inexperience and immaturity take over his good intentions by firing Williams and Basinger, we would have a strong staff and good institutional memory instead of what we have now - weak mayor/weak city manager.

As I have said before, the next election will give us a mayor who knows he (or she) is a figurehead. We'll have a new city manager - hopefully a professional and all the old dead wood will have retired.

Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Wed, 09/10/2008 - 1:38pm.

Hi Dana.

No, I will not be running for mayor in 2009. As for Cyndi Plunkett, you are correct, I did encourage people to vote for her. As mayor, I appointed her to the city's Recreation Commission. I truly like her, but I cannot justify a few of her big votes.

Historical planning and policy (much of it unwritten) do not even come into play when Logsdon/Boone/Plunkett vote. The type of development they are approving is not even close to what made the city great.

The big box issue was about as clear as it gets: the ordiance and the citizens said "no."

Running sewer out of the city for a net loss: why?

Cyndi almost pushed the TDK extension through with a lot of us begging and pleading for her to pull back.

She is a wonderful person, big heart, but her big votes, the ones that impact our future, I disagree with almost to the vote including the budgets.

You misunderstood (or I did not say it clearly) about the decline. I did not mean the city would decline faster than those other places. I meant the city is in a position to decline rapidly on its own scale.

We have everything in place for Hwy 54-W to be totally slammed without any way to resolve things. That would include the 54/74 intersection and Hwy 74-N. It is going to be ugly.

If Councilman Haddix decides to run for mayor, I will gladly support him as I have in the past.

Submitted by Spyglass on Wed, 09/10/2008 - 3:43pm.

And some of the votes I've seen by current Council are questionable to say the least.

Sooner or later, we will WANT another way across Line Creek to Coweta Co. It will have to happen, or as you say, we could be looking at massive traffic at certain times of the day.

Submitted by Spyglass on Wed, 09/10/2008 - 11:36am.

Well said.

Submitted by skyspy on Tue, 09/09/2008 - 3:38pm.

Thank you for all of your hard work. Thanks also for keeping the best interest of the city and its citizens in all of your decisions.

Submitted by MYTMITE on Tue, 09/09/2008 - 4:36pm.

thank you Mr. Haddix for always informing us of what is going on in our city. Ms. Plunkett, I have heard from several people that you are a nice, caring person. I implore you to really take the future of Peachtree City under consideration. I really do not think that you would want to go down in history as one of the three who helped to change Peachtree City from the place we chose to live in to an overcrowded, ugly, run of the mill city. Really and truly it is up to you as Mr. Haddix and Mr. Sturbaum seem to always vote on the side of what the people want. Your vote is always the one that sways it the other way. We all know that Harold Logsdon has not done one thing beneficial to the city since he became Mayor and his yes-man votes right along with him. Please consider what is happening to our city and vote against the Weiland proposal and any similar ones he comes up with. Keep what is left of Peachtree City before it is too late.

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Tue, 09/09/2008 - 7:10pm.

Swing vote, I mean. She can singlehandely kill the Wieland proposal and if she does - she runs for mayor and gets elected easily.

On the other hand, if she acts responsibly and votes for Wieland with real serious conditions and contributions - she's my hero and should be yours,

Comment viewing options

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