PTC traffic about to get worse

Steve Brown's picture

To be, or not to be, that is the question. Well, Mr. Shakespeare, this tragedy will certainly be.

The journey began back in the year of 2006, and a massive rumbling stirred throughout our area when a C-7 Commercial Major Shopping District rezoning application came before the Coweta County Board of Commissioners. It was Scott Seymour of Seymour Construction and Development in Peachtree City who brought this matter to bear.

An enormous 150-acre retail complex with one million square feet of commercial space at build-out located near the intersection of Ga. Highway 54/34 and Dr. Fischer Road was the prize.

The Coweta Commission had a long history of denying all plans of such magnitude in the eastern third of their county, preferring a rural environment. However, their attitude began to change around 2004.

The folks in the county annex over in Newnan did not like to see their citizens going across the border into Fayette County for goods and services. The resentment was molded into major changes in the Coweta County Comprehensive Land Use Plan in 2006. The sleepy corridor on Ga. Highway 34/54 from Peachtree City to Thomas Crossroads was redrawn into a major commercial retail zone with Mr. Seymour’s development being the first major step to that end.

In 2007, a Coweta citizens group, the Council for Sustainable Growth, tried to fight the development, but the Coweta Commission would have none of it. Like many developers wanting to develop massive projects in Coweta, Seymour made a nice contribution to U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland’s campaign fund at a pivotal point in the process.

Seymour had a rough go of it as the economy began to rock. In 2008, 40 percent of his development site landed in foreclosure, filed by Bank of Coweta, trying to collect on an $11,050,000 loan.

To make matters worse, the development plans submitted to the county planning department could not be examined because the review fees had not been paid. There was also a lawsuit filed by the Alliance Theater Company after concerns were raised concerning its $35,000 in earnest money paid on seven of the acres.

The battered Seymour wound up in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Seymour’s fate was dangling on closing the long-standing contract negotiation with Sam’s Club on one of the parcels not in the foreclosure proceedings. As went 138,000-square-foot Sam’s Club, so went the rest of the large development.

Just recently, Seymour closed the deal with Sam’s Club and NCG Cinemas. With the Sam’s Club anchor in place, the retail underlings will flock to the site.

Unfortunately, the government officials in Coweta County decided to follow the development model set by Gwinnett County, using the motto, “Build it all now and worry about the consequences later.” But if they bothered to look, they would see Gwinnett is sinking in traffic, crime and unemployment.

Regrettably, western Fayette County will suffer the consequences of traffic jams right along with the Cowetians. The Coweta County government’s own future traffic projections for Ga. highways 34/54 running into Peachtree City clearly show the worst rating, total gridlock.

At least the Coweta government had the courage to tell the truth, unlike the fraudulent traffic plan the Fayette County Commissioners dropped on us.

The Logsdon City Council in Peachtree City made matters significantly worse for commuters on hwys. 34/54, adding further big box retail. With the additional big box retail center comes a very costly traffic signal, pried between two existing signals, outside of recognized engineering standards.

It should not take a great deal of effort to convince our new City Council in Peachtree City that evasive action must be taken to put a stop to the idiotic new traffic signal on Hwy. 54 West. The actions of a previous council cannot bind the new council in this case.

We do not need a Shakespearean tragedy. No excuses for failing to act on this one since our traffic situation will certainly worsen.

Let the new City Council members know your feelings regarding the foolish traffic signal proposed for the already crowded corridor, and let’s do what we can to see that it does not happen and further destroy our quality of life. Email them: today.

[Steve Brown is the former mayor of Peachtree City. He can be reached at]

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Submitted by hwancb on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 10:43am.

Why not spend your time advocating the extension of Crostown Road into Coweta County as a means of reducing traffic congestion on Highway 54 rather than complaining about it.

Submitted by Dondol on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 3:31pm.

Spoken like a true Developer, got to ask, does Industrial Holdings have a dog in this fight?????

matt.barnes's picture
Submitted by matt.barnes on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 11:50am.

What is the current opposition on that? If Crosstown/TDK connected to Christopher Rd. in Sharpsburg the Bralin shopping center would be very convenient for most of Sharpsburg.

Submitted by R. Butler on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 2:44pm.

It has been a few years, but shortly after the initial plan went in for the two lane TDK extension to Sharpsburg, Coweta County approved a plan to allow a developer to build a planned community of approximately 3000 homes (and associated retail/commercial) just on the other side of the county line. I beleive it was called something like McIntosh Village. The main ingress and egress for this new community was to be TDK. Based on this projected development, the Atlanta Regional Commission mandated that TDK would have to be four lanes in order to accomidate the estimated 10 K plus vehicles that would be using TDK daily in order to gain access to HWY 74 and ultimately I-85. Based on this nightmare traffic scenario, even the Lodgson-Boone-Plunkett axis had to retreat and kill the project.

matt.barnes's picture
Submitted by matt.barnes on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 2:53pm.

What a pain in the neck. To bad that same commission wouldn't just force Coweta to make 154 a 4-lane highway.

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 2:12pm.

Here's the opposition.

Braelinn Ctr. was not built for Sharpsburg. It was built as a village center.

Crosstown would be widened and become as ugly as 54. We don't want that.

Crosstown/PT Pkwy. would have a traffic light. We don't want that.

Crosstown would be also be widened from PT Pkwy. to Robinson. We don't want that.

A traffic light would go in at Crosstown/Robinson. We don't want that.

All the residential neighborhoods abutting Crosstown would suffer lower property values with a main artery in their back yards. We don't want that.

Rockspray Pond would have out of towners stopping to use it and trash it. We don't want that.

The elementary school would be on a major artery. We don't want that.

We are NINE subdivisions that access our homes directly from Crosstown. There are 3 connector roads that feed onto Crosstown. All of the above would be stopped for markedly longer periods of time at the stopsigns/traffic lights to accomodate this unwanted thru traffic. We don't want that.

Crosstown would become the 2nd major east/west artery in PTC from Sharpsburg/Newnan to Fayetteville and beyond and visa versa. We don't want that.

Now do you understand the opposition?

snappynappy's picture
Submitted by snappynappy on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 2:48pm.

Still got that condescending, bitter attitude I see.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 2:32pm.

Well spoken! People tend to take for granted things like having elementary schools facing quiet thoroughfares, or residents being able to pick up the occasional piece of litter without being reliant on the city. The residents of the nine subdivisions you mention plus the others adjacent will end up with a degraded quality of life and pay as much in property taxes, if not more.

The Hwy 54/34 corridor is an abomination that will not be fixed by slicing another artery through the middle of Peachtree City. If our elected officials over the past 15 years were nearly as competent as they claim, the current West Fayette Bypass would have been a collaboration with Coweta County on a by-pass from Starrs Mill to Sharpsburg

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 3:15pm.

Thanks, Mike King.
This is not a doable option. What I never understand on this whole TDK issue is this. We have Redwine on our south to provide east/west from Fayetteville to Senoia.
We have Hwy 54 to provide east/west to Fayetteville/Newnan. Now clogged.
We now have an aggravating factor in the Sams Club development in Coweta at 34/54.
Why do we never talk about going east/west from Fisher/Minix intersection in Coweta directly over to 74 at the southern Kedron Dr. intersection. There is absolutely NO development on that land.

Do a Google Earth map. Why not feed all those shoppers from west of Sams Club in Coweta instead of onto 54E/W, route them to a new feeder (dare I say bypass?) E/W to serve Coweta County and all those north of 54 in PTC and now Tyrone/Fairburn who will be coming south to Sam's Club?

Concept it as McDuff Pkwy ext. but instead widened out into a larger arc. McDuff Pkwy ext. would be less important. And suffer much less thru traffic. Feed those coming south off I-85 to Coweta and cut them west into Coweta at Kedron Dr. onto a newly built connector.

matt.barnes's picture
Submitted by matt.barnes on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 6:11pm.

Sure Goil, just dump all the Coweta traffic on my door step.

Actually I think that is a pretty good idea. It would really make my commute to Newnan much nicer. but don't the kind folks of Centennial usually pitch a fit every time someone mentions connecting Mcduff to 74?

matt.barnes's picture
Submitted by matt.barnes on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 2:27pm.

I might not have been built for Sharpsburg but the sales wouldn't hurt. You are still right though. The commuter traffic from Coweta to 54 would be to high of a price to pay just to generate a few sales tax dollars and help revive that dead shopping center.

JGF9148's picture
Submitted by JGF9148 on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 1:05pm.

For now I think it's deader than Logsdon's state campaign. I recall awhile back the city returned the engineering funds back to Fayette. It was to be a two lane road, but once Tom Reese's plans for East Coweta reared their head DOT decided it should be four lanes making it too ugly to sell.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 9:00am.

Our new council meets tomorrow night for the first time, and aside from another blast aimed at your successor, your post serves only to fill editorial space. The trials of those in Coweta County due to the economic downturn are accessable by anyone willing to research and, in my opinion, were in no need of an 'airing.'

Mayor Haddix and Council have their hands full and will, in my opinion, do the bidding of the citizens who entrusted them to their respective offices. It's my understanding that their first meeting will be aired via video streaming, that's a first and something that could have been delivered years ago.

I personally am exited about the prospects for our town, but I ask that you take a little advice and sit back and see how things unfold. Afterwards, then, do your bloviating when they either please or disturb your sensabilities.

Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 10:52am.

Now, Mike King, what is that post about? When you say, "accessable by anyone willing to research," you must know that around 95 percent of the reading public is not willing.

This particular column is actually the set-up column for when everyone is screaming about how bad the traffic gets when the new stuff goes in and they are wondering how the powers could have been so foolish to get us in the predicament. They will be using some colorful language.

No doubt, I share your excitement regarding the new City Council. The first three to six months is always the most dangerous for a new council because of: (1) inexperience; (2) the special interest vultures try to score early on the greenhorns and; (3) the city staff does not have a feel for how the individual council members will respond on various issues.

Haddix is quite capable of steering the ship and Sturbaum will lend a hand.

The traffic signal at Hwy. 54 and Line Creek Drive can be undone and the new council should work to that end, another reason for this column.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 11:29am.

Whether or not 95% of the reading public cares enough to research is immaterial, my opinion is that unnecessarily airing 'dirty' laundry without perceptable purpose is tabloid journalism. Further, being that the preponderance of our citizenry traverses the 54/74 intersection daily, it is common knowledge that congestion has worsened progressively since you were mayor.

This Council has numerous issues to tackle, and will do so while setting its own priorities. Harping on a pet peave at this time only serves to direct attention to yourself , but that's what you do best.

Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Thu, 01/07/2010 - 9:29am.

Gee whiz Mike, what was the "dirty laundry" in the column? What would you consider the "pet peave" in the column? Was there anything, seriously, you did not find to be factual? I would appreciate the feedback.

It looks like you need to do some research of your own, Mike. The congestion on Hwy. 54/34 has been an intense topic of discussion since the 80's when Caroline Price was charing the Planning Commission and forming a committee on the subject.

Remember, you have traffic volume and capacity issues. Some things can be done to address volume, but the real issue for us is not to hinder capacity - which is happening, both in PTC and Coweta.

Sorry raising your blood pressue.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Thu, 01/07/2010 - 10:22am.

Obviously, you are feeling a bit frisky this morning. My being on edge-your alligator ego is over riding its hummingbird ass. Regarding factuality, I did not question anything other than the motive to air something that is fraught with sensationalism. Your highlighting of the ills/misfortunes of others (Seymour/Bank of Coweta) seems only to demonstrate ‘wealth envy’ on your part. I honestly hope that not be the case.

Regarding ‘capacity’, was that why you initially favored the TDK Extension? Or was that a figment of my imagination?

My blood pressure? Refer back to my second sentence.

Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Mon, 01/11/2010 - 12:45pm.

Stop perpetuating the myth on TDK, guys.

Former Mayor Bob Lenox, a huge proponent of the extension, said clearly in October of 2005:

When Steve Brown took office on Jan. 1, 2002, the design and engineering work was virtually complete, all the necessary right-of-way was either in hand or committed to the city at no cost, the city had the necessary financial resources to build the road, and it was estimated that the road could be completed and opened to traffic by July 1, 2003.

For the next two years Steve Brown personally stonewalled this project. You don’t have to take my word for this. Pick up your telephone and call Greg Dunn, Fayette County Commission chairman, or any member of the Fayette County Commission. Call Ken Steele, mayor of Fayetteville, or any member of his council. Call Mitch Seabaugh, our state senator at the time. Call Lynn Westmoreland, then our state representative, now our representative to the U.S. Congress. Call the chairman or any member of the Coweta County Commission.

I was never against building or extending a "road" given that it benefitted the city. The TDK Extension did not. I told all the aforementioned names there was no way our city was paying for such a development fraud while I was mayor.

Any connections with Eastern Coweta County with their new Gwinnett County style development plan would be harmful. Thus, Mr. King's "initially favored the TDK Extension" comment is just plain wrong. Former Mayor Logsdon, who Mr. King supported early on, made the same comments about my not supporting the TDK project.

As for "wealth envy" of Bank of Coweta, there is no wealth to envy.

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 3:20pm.

Brown was dead set against TDK, then in favor it and proudly boasting of that fact, then 100% against it and followed all of that BS up with "I'm right, see, see, see!!!" The usual non-leadership and tons of hot-air that got him soundly defeated in the the Mayoral race and subsequent run against Ramsey.

Submitted by Spyglass on Mon, 01/11/2010 - 2:13pm.

Unless Cal has deleted it, it's all right here online in the archives of this very newspaper. I really see no need to keep beating this horse, the road is now dead..whether we think it's for better or worse.

And yeah, SB is right about traffic getting worse on Hwy 54..when did he become Dr. Obvious? Without alternatives, it will continue to get MUCH worse.

SPQR's picture
Submitted by SPQR on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 9:41am.

no need to exit, just yet anyway

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