Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016    Login | Register        

Council must be more proactive to save PTC

Lately, it has been apparent that Peachtree City no longer plans ahead. Instead we find ourselves reacting to whatever comes our way and trying to make it work.

What has happened?

What happened to the town that told everybody how it was going to be and as a result businesses felt privileged to build here? Now it seems like we are the ones that bow down to whatever is presented to us and we are constantly compromising.

Take the bowling “center” proposed for Ga. Highway 74 South across from Wilshire Estates and adjacent to Somerby senior living facility.

Five years ago when this property was rezoned from GI to GC the neighboring communities fought hard to get a list of restricted uses as a condition of the rezoning. They also fought hard for a nice tree save buffer on Hwy. 74 S. and a golf cart tunnel under Rockaway Road.

The tree save buffer was lost due to utility easements. The golf cart tunnel under Rockaway Road has been defunded. Now, when a bowling center, currently a restricted use, asks to locate on the property some city officials think we should allow it in lieu of other allowed uses.

Why don’t we just throw everything out the window and start over? The development agreement that was the entire basis for the rezoning in the first place back in 2007 is essentially meaningless if we allow this restricted use.

There will be no stopping other restricted uses from coming in and making a good case to be allowed as well. Once we start chipping away at our development agreements and reversing them arbitrarily, they weaken, and eventually become just as worthless as the piece of paper they are printed on.

Take the Line Creek property as another example. It has been sitting undeveloped for almost a year. During that time has the city taken any initiative to develop a plan for that property that we actually want? One that suits the unique circumstances of the lot? One that takes into account its proximity to Line Creek Nature area, Planterra Ridge, Cardiff Park and its GC zoning? One that won’t cause city-wide controversy and division?

No. Instead we have done nothing and now we have a developer coming to us telling us what they want and we are being asked to try and make it work with our ordinances. Here we go again.

I thought we were a planned community? Somehow we have turned into a reactive community instead, one that just rolls with whatever comes our way — not exactly what our city was founded on.

Council recently passed a resolution that will be on the ballot in November to let the voters decide whether we can sell alcohol in package stores on Sundays. We also recently voted to allow restaurants and bars to remain open until 2 a.m. on weekends. Why?

The answer that they do it in Coweta County and everywhere else is exactly why we should not make the change. It sounds a little like, “If Johnny jumps off a cliff, would you?”

Now we have heard all the arguments about allowing things into our city to help boost the tax base and keep our property taxes low. Mini big boxes at Line Creek and a bowling center at Wilshire would bring money into our city — no denying that — money that would help our revenue bottom line ... in the short term.

But what about 10-15 years from now? Doesn’t anyone think about that? Planning ahead is one of the foundations of our fair city, and one that has kept us enduringly beautiful. Can anyone show me a large retail area anywhere with six or seven big-box or mini-big-box stores within a stone’s throw of each other that after 20 years anyone would want to live next to?

When things get tight economically, it is very easy to look at any solution, whether short-term or not to ease the strain. We have to be strong and stick to our principles, especially during these times so that we do not succumb to short-term economic pressures and in the long run sacrifice our beautiful city.

Twenty years from now we want our property values and our quality of life to be envied and have PTC regarded as the best city in the country. We cannot achieve that if we keep compromising the very principles that have brought us here and make us different.

Our city officials need to hold our zoning requirements and restrictions sacred. They need to develop a proactive vision for our city that embraces our historical values and allows us to grow economically at the same time.

If we keep letting our standards be compromised for short-term economic gain and not define a proactive approach to development, we will cease to be great.

Remind yourself why you chose to live in PTC.

Then do your part to keep those reasons alive.

Beth Pullias

Peachtree City, Ga.



Robert W. Morgan's picture

Peachtree City has been one of the most proactive communities anywhere with its land use plan and site-specific zoning categories and even city-funded site planning through the (currently defunded) Development Authority of PTC. How we got off track is a mystery and one of the few things we can't blame on Steve Brown - although I'm sure birdman and mudcat will take a run at that.

Proactivity also takes the form of an out of control mayor free lancing in the economic development area and becoming a laughingstock at the county and state. The company from Clayton and the bowling alley are 2 strikes against Mr. Haddix. You could argue that Grisham's departure was a third strike, but either way, the mayor needs to back off.

I do hope you run for one of the upcoming council seats and bring some common sense and practicality to that group. Having a solid 3 and possibly 4 councilpeople dedicated to the land use plan would get us back on track. That would set up a return to productive proactivity where the city can adjust the land use plan where needed at their own pace without the pressure of an applicant with a timetable and property rights on his side standing before council with a specific proposal. And there are plenty of things in the land use plan that should be changed - Lexington Circle, Williams Circle and Willowbend Center to name 3. But these changes should be made by the city with an eye to what it will become in 10-15 years as you said.

In fact, running on a proactive platform to bring back funding to DAPC and giving it a dual mission to massage the land use plan in an effort to recruit and encourage industrial and office (not retail) growth would get you elected. The enviornmental stuff needs to be dialed back a bit, at least for the campaign. Good luck.

Live free or die!

I applaud the Council for moving quickly.

The bowling alley issue in an unapproved spot, well that's on Haddix. I think it's been proven over and over, he's clueless on issues such as this. I said it before he was elected, and I'm saying it now.

mudcat's picture

Please get into the election and on to city council. You are a voice of reason and I will support you all the way.

Mike King's picture

Ms Pullias, nearly twenty-five years ago I brought my family here because of the quality of life perks and the exceptional schools, and I learned of these while stationed in Europe. Today, one merely needs to look at the City Council Meeting agenda to see that an increasing number of last minute agenda items are listed. Don't misunderstand, the 24 hour requirement is there, but can anyone other than the mayor explain why such short notices are given?

Take for example at last evening's meeting it was approved that a listing of all city residents with alarm systems be given to the police department. Now since this will be a public document, how many potential thieves are capable of gaining access to those homes not on the list? Does our mayor and police chief stand ready to personally compensate future victims should there be a leak? Of course not, that would mean taking responsibility.

This action is the result of shortsightedness and a lack of study by Council. You speak of 10-15 years out, I doubt they can understand their itinerary for tomorrow.

I received the agenda in my email Friday the 14th at 4PM and the alarms were listed on this original agenda. So was all the detail to look at. I don't get that comment. It has been on the agenda in the past, also.

Mike King's picture

You are indeed correct, but there are others which makes my point.

Don't think I'd be too concerned until they started making public knowledge a list of those who officially acknowledge that they own one or more bullet launchers! That would automatically tell all who DOESN'T! And I know noone would lie about such a thing!

Mike King's picture

It's a public document kept by public employees of which not all are as trustworthy as you, my friend.

The idea behind this is to try and reduce the number of false alarms that the PTCPD responds to.

The Chief gave numbers for last year showing some 2,700 alarm calls and only 1 was for real. Based on numbers like that I would have to agree that is a LOT of wasted paid man-hours for nothing.

I had a problem when the discussion drifted into the absurd as it was suggested that if the police responded to a home alarm because a neighbor called it in, not an alarm company, and the alarm wasn’t registered with the city that the homeowner should receive a $100.00 fine or be required to register their alarm with the city within 90 days.

As AHG suggested I’m sure that there are several homeowners in PTC that have many small home alarms strategically located throughout their homes.

There’s a moral to the story of the Houston TX woman when asked by the judge, “Why did you shoot him six times”? And she calmly replied, “Because when I pulled the trigger again it just went CLICK”.

I can't figure out how the homeowner is legally responsible for a false alarm (ps: my definition of a false alarm is: No, the intruder isn't dead, but I ain't finished shooting! And how in the world can a reasonable person blame a homeowner for a security-conscious neighbor calling in an alarm? Doesn't pass the common sense test. Different slant: isn't it sad that homeowners feel the need to have security systems at all? When my Dear Wife asked me about such a thing, I said "if we need a security system,we need to move."

As far as I'm concerned my neighbors should call ServPro. They do biohazerd cleanup as well.

Ad space area 4 internal