The sell-out trio wins again; we lose

Cal Beverly's picture

The Peachtree City Council voted its customary split last Thursday in favor of further destroying the declining peace and tranquility of our “planned” community.

More traffic, more traffic lights, more flailing about for ever more specious rationales for decisions that a majority of city residents would unhesitatingly vote down if given the chance.

But who cares about the majority of citizens? As the mayor once remarked to me, “After all, the crowd wanted Barabbas.”

I put quotation marks around “planned,” because there’s a report now that our current crop of planning commissioners have not actually laid eyes on the city’s comprehensive land use plan for some time.

Whether that’s technically true or not, the planning commissioners and three of the five city council members talk, act and vote as if they have abandoned such bourgeois pettiness as being fettered by such an archaic document.

After all, it’s only the legal basis for making land use decisions in our “planned” community. Why bother with actually reading it, much less following it?

So, following their tortured logic, the block of three voted to affirmatively enable the very thing they have been saying they did not want: a dense, big-box center right across from Walmart/Home Depot.

When could they have said no?

The best time was when the developer came to the city, hat in hand, pleading for the option to buy city-owned land then occupied by two city streets.

As I wrote back in the fall of 2007, “The council in effect would become an enabling partner in the construction of a big box development that could not otherwise be built without the city’s explicit facilitation.

“In view of the public’s overwhelming aversion to another such development on Hwy. 54 West, the council’s approval would amount to a a complete and total sell-out to the developer who is most responsible for the wretched look and mounting problems of the city’s west side.

“Whoever votes for this perverted city-developer partnership will become a synonym for the sell-out of the Peachtree City vision.”

It was almost exactly one year ago this week that Mayor Harold Logsdon and council members Steve Boone and Cyndi Plunkett voted to sell out the Peachtree City vision. Newly installed council members Don Haddix and Doug Sturbaum voted against it.

Plunkett swung first against it in 2007, then swung in favor of the bigger development in 2008. Why? I don’t know. After all, what has land use planning and long existing zoning got to do with anything?

That’s been the pattern ever since: 3-to-2 to sell out Peachtree City.

All three come to the end of their terms this year. Their rule of ruin is comparable to the infamous trio of Burrell, Gosa and Sprayberry on the Fayette County Commission in the late 1990s.

That gang never met a rezoning or increased density they didn’t like. One of those unlamented commissioners even worked for an engineering company advocating for rezonings before the commission.

The public finally reacted with disgust, and all three disappeared from elective office, a blessing to the whole county. But much undoable damage was inflicted in their four-year rampage overturning the county’s land use plans and careful zoning.

Such a disappearance by the current trio of sell-outs on the Peachtree City Council would likewise be a great benefit to what’s left of the vision of a “planned” community.

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yellowjax1212's picture
Submitted by yellowjax1212 on Wed, 02/18/2009 - 2:02pm.

It seems like the council (at least three of them) took McMurrain's threat of a Hooters, a gas station and maybe a nail salon seriously and decided to opt for larger chain businesses, who ever they may be. Unfortunately if that is the line of thinking, the traffic getting in and out of this plaza would be terrible without a light. Chalk another one up for the developers.

PinchedNerve's picture
Submitted by PinchedNerve on Wed, 02/18/2009 - 2:13pm.

Is that what this is all about? The developer threatened us with a Hooters so the Sell-out Trio gave him everything he wanted. What the hell? Who cares if he builds a Hooters? I wish he would. I love that place.

I shacked up with a man before I was married. His name was Jesus.

TonyF's picture
Submitted by TonyF on Thu, 02/19/2009 - 6:15am.

Unh, OK. What is that supposed to mean?

"Your, yore, you're all idiots." (T.Floyd)

Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Sat, 02/14/2009 - 6:49pm.

What are the odds of DOT killing the traffic signal and doing the right thing???

Vote Republican

Submitted by Nitpickers on Sun, 02/15/2009 - 6:46pm.

If it meets code and with no opposition of politicians here---infinity to one for approval. We have capitalism. (for awhile)

Submitted by hwancb on Thu, 02/12/2009 - 9:49am.

This person talks about planned development and how PTC council members have ruined it. The fact is that PTC has one of the best administered development plans in the country. The developers of PTC had the vision and understanding of what a planned community should be and how to implement it.

Thousands of acres of land were set aside for commercial development. The development authority has done a good job in bringing in companies from around the world to locate in Peachtree City. Those businesses do not use our schools and other services that home owners do. They don’t use the parks and other recreation facilities that homeowners do, but pay enormous taxes that off set what home owners would have to pay if we had no business. A bedroom community could not exist without businesses to help pay their taxes.

These businesses do not create congestion the home owners that live here do. If the developers did no have demographic information that showed there was a need for more businesses they would not come. If you don’t want new business stay away from the stores and they will stop building.

Then you talk about congestion on Highway 54 and the red lights yet you are against the TDK extension that would take traffic off 54. PTC has only one major entrance and exit to the west and that is 54 until it crosses line creek. It would seem to me that everyone would want a new road to relieve congestion on 54.

The problem is that the people that are always on their soap box is that they are selfish and they are not looking at the city as a whole but at their individual preferences. Luckily we have a government that understands the needs of PTC and not a bunch of soapbox individuals.

I only hope that the council never gets into situation where they do not realize the needs of the community as a whole and cater to a few disgruntled homeowners that are constantly looking for an issue to complain about and when things do not go their way they attack the government and its individuals that are trying to keep PTC a great community and keep operating efficiently and allowing businesses to come to town in those areas that have been set aside for commercial development in the land use plan and updating it as years pass to meet current conditions.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Sat, 02/14/2009 - 9:11pm.

"I only hope that the council never gets into situation where they do not realize the needs of the community as a whole and cater to a few disgruntled homeowners..."


Why don't you show us the number of homeowners that are in favor of this proposal vs the number that are not?

I've attended the council meetings where this subject was discussed, over two years worth, and the citizens that are against this project far outnumber those that are in-favor of it.

"Luckily we have a government that understands the needs of PTC and not a bunch of soapbox individuals."

Yes I remember King Bob saying that he alone knew what was best for PTC regardless of what everybody else thought.

Submitted by skyspy on Sun, 02/15/2009 - 7:09am.

Ol King Bob really had our best interests at heart didn't he?

Is this the same King Bob who thought it would be a great idea to purchase his builder friends construction dump and build the police station on top of it?

Is this the same King Bob who thought it would be a good idea to let his builder friends make an illegal loan on behalf of the city for the tennis center? Instead of putting it up for a vote on a bond, like a normal city would have.

Is this the same King Bob who "tweaked" city ordinance and building code so his builder buddies could bring us the big box mess of Walmart/Home Depot?

He was a mistake we are all still paying for.

Submitted by MYTMITE on Thu, 02/12/2009 - 6:56pm.

Sounds very much from your post that you are either one of the three amigos, a developer or someone with financial interest in seeing the TDK extension. The majority of Peachtree City was against the light going in--not a few disgruntled homeowners---and still THE THREE voted for it. How is this looking out for the best interests and needs of the community? No one has objection to development if it is handled correctly. THE THREE also did not have to give away (sell?) city streets to allow for larger than necessary stores. These and others reasons too many to mention is why we are tired of these three who definitely are not looking out for the best for our community.

And, pray tell, why should our land use plan be updated as years pass to meet current conditions? People moved to this area because they liked the small community feeling--not because they wanted run-a-away, thoughtless development that only benefits the developer who then moves on and for anyone else that may have profitted from the change to our land use plan. The changes certainly haven't benefitted the people of the community and that is who the city council and any other public service groups are supposed to be listening to as they make decisions--not developers and builders.

yellowjax1212's picture
Submitted by yellowjax1212 on Wed, 02/18/2009 - 2:08pm.

The original land use plan has been updated several times to better meet the needs of the community. Although the "Village" plan is still, pretty much, in tact, today's plan bears little resemblance to the original that had planned on zoning and density for a city twice the size of the current PTC.

Submitted by Doug on Thu, 02/12/2009 - 11:42am.

The development authority has done a good job of getting in trouble and that's about it.

How would extending TDK take the traffic light off of Highway 54? How dumb is that comment? If you don't think those huge retail stores cause traffic, you're crazy.

The problem has been the mayor and his friends have been sticking their hands in the cookie jar and now there's no money left. It's the same with the school board.

You need to change your drug of choice dude.

Submitted by Spyglass on Thu, 02/12/2009 - 1:37pm.

Which HUGE retail stores has current Council approved? There are only 2 huge retail spaces approved in the West Village, and they are Home Depot and Walmart...other than that, there is NOTHING of that size even on the drawing boards.

And if you can't see that having ONLY Hwy 54 as an artery to the West of our fair City doesn't cause backlogs, then I'm not sure you can be helped.

Submitted by Doug on Thu, 02/12/2009 - 9:51pm.

It was big enough that you and your buddies had to sell city property to the developer so he could build it. And, if I remember correctly, you had to give him some kind of exemption to build what he wants to build as Cal Beverly was saying.

Oh, I get it now Spyglass. You are saying the ONLY Highway 54 artery was helped by adding another huge shopping center and a traffic light. Even your buddy Mayor Logsdon realized TDK was a really bad thing, so why can't you get it?

Submitted by Spyglass on Sun, 02/15/2009 - 12:56pm.

of was and has been zoned Commercial for a LONG time. I'm not sure you understand that. Are you implying someone should not be able to develop their property? I think the land deal you speak of enabled them to add 25,000 square feet. They could have built 150K square feet, and now it will supposedly be 175K square feet, but I'll believe it when I see it.

You're also wrong implying that I'm involved with the development in ANY way.

As for East/West Access, until we do something about it, it will continue to get worse. You could take ALL the retail out of the West Village and we would still have traffic.

Submitted by mthom5436 on Thu, 02/12/2009 - 10:55am.

I agree our town needs businesses and industry to pay taxes and support our community. But why do we need another retail center when we already have such a surplus of retail space.

Meeting the needs of our community:
Yeah, its the city councils job to "realize the needs of the community as a whole" and somtimes that means making tough and unpopular decisions. But this isn't one of those times. The city council has voted to put in this light against all public opinion and have not explained why.

TinCan's picture
Submitted by TinCan on Wed, 02/11/2009 - 2:49pm.

This editorial and the former, illustrious mayor's article both imply or directly state that the council has voted for the city to request the 54 light. I thought the original reporting stated that council voted not to oppose the developer's request. Did something change? It appears as if the opinion pieces haven’t. And, is DOT really influenced by a "I won't say no vote"?

Submitted by Doug on Wed, 02/11/2009 - 9:59pm.

Three out of five told DOT to go ahead with the light. I hate Logsdon for what he's doing to this town.

mapleleaf's picture
Submitted by mapleleaf on Wed, 02/11/2009 - 9:20am.

To a significant segment of our population, Barabbas might be a faint memory or a total unknown.

Numerous accounts in the Gospels, for instance Matthew 27: 15-26, explain that when Pontius Pilate gave the crowd the choice of freeing Jesus or criminal Barabbas from crucifixion, the crowd was persuaded by the chief priests and elders to choose Barabbas.

The analogy to many of the choices made by the voters of Fayette County is striking.

Submitted by mysteryman on Wed, 02/11/2009 - 8:52pm.

Faust was in town recently and the council made a deal alright, one that would take us all down, along with the quality of life we have come top enjoy in years past, all to appease a select few, who stand to make millions at the expense of all who live here... BLESS

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Wed, 02/11/2009 - 5:27am.

The reason the PTC sell-out trio wants the new traffic light is that they have a vested interest in creating as much gridlock on Highway 54 as possible.

Why would they do that?

So that they can resurrect the TDK Extension to "relieve traffic".

The fact that their developer buddies stand to make tens of millions in ancillary profits from the TDK Extension being built is just "icing on the cake".

Right? Right?

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Wed, 02/11/2009 - 6:49am.

There does seem to be a logical progression there, but I don't think there is enough time to get TDK approved before the election. Unless the 3 Musketeers think they are going to be reelected - then that would be a logical plan on their part.

At least we have a white-hot election issue this time.

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