PTC denies 54W store upsize request

Thu, 01/07/2010 - 9:48pm
By: John Munford

Without taking any public input, the new Peachtree City Council unanimously voted down a developer’s request to upsize one retail building for a new shopping center off Ga. Highway 54 West from 50,000 to 65,000 square feet.

When the agenda item came up for discussion, new Mayor Don Haddix notified the audience there would not be a public hearing. He noted that in the past two years the council has received more than 6,000 emails on the subject.

Council did, however, hear the case from Capital City Development attorney Rick Lindsey. Lindsey suggested CCD would be willing to have two other 50,000 square foot stores shrunk down to the city’s regular 32,000 square foot limit as a tradeoff for approval of the upsize of the third store from 50,000 to 65,000 square feet.

Lindsey said CCD is courting Kohl’s Department Store, which he noted was well-received as a potential neighbor by residents in the adjacent Cardiff Park and Planterra Ridge subdivisions. Another potential tenant is Academy Sports, he said.

Neither company is interested in a 50,000 square foot store, Lindsey said. He noted that if those companies don’t come to Peachtree City, they are likely to end up just across the Fayette-Coweta border in a megadevelopment at Ga. Highway 54 and Fischer Road.

As approved by the previous council in 2008, the shopping center can have a maximum of 175,000 square feet total. The site is located at the southwest corner of Ga. Highway 54 West and Planterra Way; it will be served by a new traffic light approved on the third try by the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Lindsey asked that council table the vote and instead form a committee of residents along with the planning commission, city council and city staff to study the proposal to see if it was worth pursuing Kohls or what other national retailers citizens would like to see at the site.

The land owned by CCD is already zoned for commercial use. The project drew some controversy in 2008 when the City Council voted to sell most of two city streets on the property to CCD for at least $500,000 in cash and the potential for additional land to be added to the city’s Line Creek Nature Area.

Councilman Doug Sturbaum said he felt the plan in place was “workable” and new councilmember Kim Learnard said she felt the city needed to stick to the framework of that plan, which she noted was a compromise.

The motion to deny was unanimous 5-0. But at least some resentment lingered in the air over the decision not to allow public input. Resident Caren Russell asked after the vote for the opportunity to correct a misstatement made during the discussion, but Haddix turned her down.

“I’m glad you’re willing to listen to the citizens of Peachtree City,” Russell said.

“I stated before there was to be no public input on this and I will stick to that,” Haddix replied.

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Gene61's picture
Submitted by Gene61 on Sun, 01/10/2010 - 7:46am.

Courting Kohls is not the same as having a firm deal in place. So its still a what if situation. Plus, how about the existing store fronts that are empty now? Build, build for what? More brick buildings with no one renting them?

Is the goal for some to build on every acre of land in the city or surrounding county? Sorry, this not the time to building more empty spaces. Slowly all of Fayettev Co is losing what was the main factor for my moving here quite a few years ago out of Clayton Co, the southern feel of community. We're losing that daily.

Submitted by R. Butler on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 9:16pm.

Mayor Don Haddix notified the audience that in the past two years the council has received more than 6,000 emails on the subject...

Interesting... Over the past 18 months, the impression left by the former mayor and council was that there was a broad mainstream of support for the whole CCD project, and that it was just a vocal minority of disgruntled residents of Planterra Ridge and Cardiff Park who opposed it.

Submitted by Arf on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 11:27am.

Way to go new city council.

This CCD project has been a thorn since the beginning, and McMurrain has continued to ask for more and more, done nothing but made shallow promises and produced nothing. There does not need to be any more retail in the 54/74 corridor. Yeah, it’s zoned commercial, but it’s already overloaded. We simply do not need more out of area people drawn to the area by national retail stores because it is already overdone. McMurrain may build, but look around. Many, many of the stores in the area are already vacant, and he’ll be hard pressed to attract anyone else. Retailers also seem to realize that this is not a good place to be. People are already desperate to get through and take dangerous chances. You cannot drive through the “corridor” without seeing flashing blue lights dealing with accidents, traffic violations etc.

No public input? Gosh, seems like we have already had our say on this project over and over and over. The public consensus, published and in conversations, has been against this development almost since the beginning. Those just trying to line their pockets at the expense of everyone else are now showing up to complain because nobody’s voting for them anymore.

I often look around as I’m traveling to and from home, trying to figure out why all of these people are here and coming and going to and from here. We are attracting non-
residents to shop in our hometown area. It’s been proven that doesn’t work. Look at Fayetteville. The great Pavilion (built for residents’ shopping convenience) has become a true bane for the residents as they contend with the blight and crime caused by “great shopping.” The tax revenue generated cannot pay for the problems created and “love to call it home” just falls by the wayside.

I remember back in the eighties, having to drive out of the area to shop. It wasn’t convenient, but we always made it a “day trip” and didn’t mind. I also remember the
peace and quiet of this community with no traffic, no crime, no confusion and no stress.

We probably can’t go back to that, but we can stop it from getting worse and worse, as it has been for the past 5 or 6 years.

Keep it up council. That’s why we voted for you…

Liferfrom65's picture
Submitted by Liferfrom65 on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 11:50am.

Remember when you had to drive to Shannon or Southlake malls to shop? Remember how peacefull it was here? I'll gladly drive across the line to shop at big box stores and they can have all the tax revenue that comes with it. They can also deal with the crime and traffic that go along with it.

Submitted by hwancb on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 10:35am.

As Peachtree City Government and its citizens struggle to make ends meet we see the irrational decision that our Mayor and council has in store for us in the next few years.

I read last week in an article in this paper that the wishes of the council were to quash development of “Big Boxes” in Peachtree City because it was causing, local small businesses to close.
The new Council evidently feels that if they stop development of Big Boxes in Peachtree City then its Citizens will shop locally at the smaller stores. According to Mayor Haddix, the new east Coweta retail will have little effect on Peachtree City’s budget. “The residents of Peachtree City buy into our community, “They’re not going to go across the line to Coweta to do all of their shopping, he has stated.

This goes to prove the narrow mindedness of the new Mayor and Council. With the ability to go another few miles into Coweta County and get a better selection of goods and services will not keep shoppers in Peachtree City and we will loose those badly needed revenues from commercial development, who pay taxes and fees into the coffers of Peachtree City but do not take revenues out, such as paying for education, and the other services given to its citizens from their taxes.

At one time Peachtree City was kind of an oasis in the Region. Citizens had to shop here or drive long distances to regional shopping centers miles away but that is no longer the case. The Mayor and Council need to realize this, when we are blessed with a good company that wants to open a store in Peachtree City or annex land into the City. The Mayor and Council should work with them to improve the quality of shopping in Peachtree City and receive the rewards of the income from those businesses to help support the quality of life we have grown accustomed to here in Peachtree City.

Those people that are so upset about the traffic and the red lights on Highway 54 should pressure the new Mayor and Council to extend Crosstown Drive into Coweta County to relieve the congestion on Highway 54, because make no bones about it, people will continue to go to those Big Boxes in Coweta County and Coweta County will continue to allow development of new businesses because they can not stop development but can only dictate the quality of the development. This is what Peachtree City must do or its businesses will dry up including the Big Boxes as they seek locations that are where the majority of the shoppers go. We have already seen Big Boxes close in Fayette County’s Pavilion and move to Coweta’s newer Big Box developments because that is where larger and larger numbers of people are shopping and they pass right through Peachtree City on Highway 54.

The Annexation of additional land into Peachtree City is another area that additional tax revenue and other fees could be realized but the commissions continue to vote against annexation.

Where some feel, that with the new Mayor and council, they will get the change they have been advocating, it has been proven time and time again that government cannot dictate how people live, where they go, and what they do, so be careful what you wish for.

Submitted by R. Butler on Sat, 01/09/2010 - 12:00am.

It isn't about blaiming anyone, but finally coming to the realization that what we are really looking at and dealing with is the result of retail market saturation and potentially permanent changes in consumer purchasing habits.

There is no doubt that a Kohl's store would be good for Peachtree City. We are centrally located between two already existing stores in Newnan and Fayetteville, and clearly the success of those stores is in part due to the willingness of PTC residents to make the ten-mile trip to each in order to purchase goods. As consumers, we win. But it isn't just about us, is it?

I suspect Kohl's has also examined the same customer base and determined that it is adequately supported by thier existing footprint. Clearly, there is no expectation that another store will draw away significant revenue from Wal-mart, Target, Ross, or other PTC based discounters. They could compete with upscale retail in the Avenue, and would presumably lure some new customers. But for the most part, the main draw to a PTC based Kohl's would be shoppers who already patronize other Kohl's locations. Absent a new customer base (which is difficult to generate in a community at build-out), it makes little economic sense for Kohl's to "expand" into a mature market which it already sucessfully serves. Just not enough return on investment to make it cost-effective.

Submitted by MYTMITE on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 4:06pm.

close, they do so with no regard to what they are doing to the community they are leaving. Are you suggesting that we should just keep giving and giving to Doug and his group? We have made concession after concession and still they come back for more. There needs to be a point where you say "NO, ENOUGH ALREADY". And, what is the good company that wants to come in that we are not admitting? So far, as far as I can see, Doug and his group have given us no definite names of stores---just hints, and then of course, there were the threats of Hooters, etc. Yes, Coweta County is getting all kinds of Big Boxes and stores and look what it looks like--until you get to downtown Coweta it is an ugly, congested mess. Do you want that for our community? I don't.

matt.barnes's picture
Submitted by matt.barnes on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 6:05pm.

I work in Newnan and I have to drive the full length of the Big Box Gauntlet on 34 every day. Its a miserable drive. Unfortunately, between the Sams Club and the existing PTC Big boxes it look like I will be driving through two gauntlets every day.

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 3:14pm.

According to Mayor Haddix, the new east Coweta retail will have little effect on Peachtree City’s budget. “The residents of Peachtree City buy into our community, “They’re not going to go across the line to Coweta to do all of their shopping, he has stated.

This goes to prove the narrow mindedness of the new Mayor and Council.

Actually, it proves how stupid and naive they are, if they really think something so laughable. Hate to say it, but it wouldn't surprise me if 3 or 4 of them are that dumb.

I think what they actually meant in their own ignorant and usually inarticulate way is that "PTC will survive with or without shopping on its borders that might appeal to people." Of course, the same crowd said that Home Depot would drive Gilroy's out of business immediately, Ace Hardware,etc., and that hasn't been the case at all either, so maybe listening to this crowd of clowns is rather fruitless when they have shown over and over that they have zero clue whatsoever, though that might be better than at times than a Plunkett-led group.

Submitted by jmatute on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 2:30pm.

Living off of Crosstown Drive for close to 23 years inspires me to refute your request to "pressure the mayor and council to widen it to relieve the pressure off Hwy 54". I voted for the new mayor and council to specifically stifle development that destroys my city and community. How I shop, where I shop, and how much I shop is not dictated by distance. The quality of life for me and my fellow residents is ahead of any developers who desire to annex, rezone, or harm that which I have left to cherish in Peachtree City. We have zoning, a shell of a good land-use plan, and a heritage already established. Land developers should understand that they need to live within the intended limits.

Submitted by MYTMITE on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 4:13pm.

and feel. We do not want an overcrowded, ugly community. I would really like to know how many of these developers, especially of shopping centers, etc, live in the area. Not many, if any, they go in and do their damage and then go home and forget about us and the way our community has been altered to it's detriment.

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 11:36am.

The central theme of what hwancb wrote is very, very important. Joel Cowan knew it, Bob Bevins knew it, even Doug Mitchell knew it (or more likely was told it by a staff person) and Herb Frady was the last Mayor to realize this pearl of wisdom.

The only way a planned community can adhere faithfully to the village concept and be successful at the same time is for it to control its borders.

Think about that. Look at the buffer along Hwy. 74 south of Tyrone, arguably the front door to our city. Look at the Publix center to our east. Look to our west.

The contention that PTC residents won't drive outside the city to shop is ludicrous of course. But when a responsible mayor or council takes an action to turn something down, it would be good to have a valid reason (other than keeping campaign promises) and some kind of a back-up plan. In other words, actions have consequences and you have to be very careful when you start tweaking the land use plan. Most of the Westside mess occurred under Lenox and Brown - 2 micromanagers who were not faithful to the land use plan.

hwancb is mostly right about government cannot dictate where people will live or what they will do. However, proper and professional planning can gently guide people to the appropriate places. This is why most successful planned communities are not incorporated cities. Most are under the light control of 1 or 2 counties for public safety purposes, but the real planning is left up to the professionals in the private sector.

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 11:36am.


Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 11:36am.


Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 11:36am.


Submitted by PTCGOIL on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 11:18am.

What an ignorant statement. Let's just try one. much public safety time will be taken up with crime over there in Coweta? Sheriff response calls, EMT's, fire dept.?
And DUH, paying for education???? Since when does Sam's Club pay for education? And since that budget is BOE, not PTC, what's your point?
Oh, big boxes close in the Pavillion? To move to Coweta? That took less than, what, 10 years max for the Pavillion to have empty big boxes?
Soooo, let's put a big box in PTC....good for what, max of 10 years...then what??? Ooops, more empty BIG BOX storefronts in PTC....let's let Coweta have the big box AND the empty storefront(s) in less than 10 years.
No, hwancb, govt. cannot dictate and succeed. What it CAN do is follow the wishes of the ones who vote them into office. Which is exactly why this govt. voted the way they did and will continue to.

Submitted by Spyglass on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 10:16am.

Great way to start off....all hail the King.

Listen guys, hear folks out..we know your mind is made up, but at least show some modicum of professionalism.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 10:51am.

Codified through Ordinance No. 984, enacted Aug. 20, 2009.
(Supplement No. 25)

Sec. 2-38. Public hearings.
(a) The city clerk shall prepare, as separate portions of the agenda, a schedule of public hearings.
(Ord. No. 721, 10-21-1999; Ord. No. 737, 5-4-2000; Ord. No. 815, 9-18-2003)

Had you and others bothered to read the ‘City Council of Peachtree City Agenda January 7, 2010 7:00 p.m.’ you would have noticed, apparently not, that the item listed under the heading of ‘Old Agenda Items’, “- Consider Amendment of Line Creek Development Agreement”, wasn’t marked like ‘Public Hearing - Consider Annexation Request, Hyde Investments, LLP’, was.

For future reference, that’s a good indication that public input is NOT being accepted for a topic.

So instead of complaining about not being heard try reading and understanding the agenda before the meeting. That way you might not look so stupid by complaining about it afterwards.

Submitted by Spyglass on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 1:45pm.

So be it.

FWIW, it's against the law to drive 46 MPH on Hwy 54 through town too.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 2:50pm.

46 mph on Hwy 54? You obviously traverse our town much earlier than I. Haven't seen that for awhile.

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Thu, 01/07/2010 - 11:14pm.

at this meeting. Logsdon signature sarcasm. In a female incarnation. I now realize that's why Ms. Russell sounded so familiar. I think I heard her in the lobby on the way out wailing into the snowy night...."Harold, I miss you SOOOO much........"

Ditto...great job to council and staff. You all did a great job. I hope David Rast can keep smiling till forever. He deserves it.

I think I heard they all broke for executive session, but secretly went out to throw snowballs at an undisclosed location.

Submitted by MYTMITE on Thu, 01/07/2010 - 10:08pm.

You are off to a great start. Keep it up!

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