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Planning commissioner resigns after email tiff with mayor

One of Peachtree City’s most outspoken planning commissioners resigned last week after an email exchange that began when Mayor Don Haddix questioned a comment the commissioner made at a recent meeting.

Larry Sussberg, who has served since October 2008, resigned Aug. 19 after he strongly criticized Haddix, who had asked about comments Sussberg made reference potential legal harm over the city’s proposed celltower ordinance.

Sussberg, over the span of several reply emails, noted that he was concerned about a comment made by a citizen at the meeting that the city council had committed to not putting cellphone towers in city parks or recreation areas.

Sussberg told Haddix that any statement made by a planning commissioner or a city council member regarding a project that has not been finalized, “a developer can perceive that as not receiving due process. That includes posting on The Citizen blogs or expressing an opinion to a citizen who might turn around and bring it up at a commission meeting.”

Haddix then replied that he disagreed with Sussberg “on what someone on council can or cannot say when and where.” Haddix also said in his reply that he has not said he didn’t want the city to allow celltowers in city parks or recreation areas.

Then Haddix turned the tables on Sussberg.

“Publicly lecturing council is not productive any more than any of us publicly lecturing anyone on the planning commission,” Haddix said.

That email from the mayor was the last straw for Sussberg, who resigned in a subsequent email reply.

“To further clarify, my lecturing was to you, not council,” Sussberg wrote. “It relates to your initial email to me as well as your blogs on The Citizen that disrupts the planning process. Finally, please accept my resignation effective immediately.”

Sussberg finished the email up by classifying Haddix as “an idiot.”

Haddix, in a brief interview this week, said that remark “went beyond the pale.”

“It’s inappropriate and it’s not a good reflection on the city,” Haddix said.

The seat vacated by Sussberg leaves the commission with four active members as alternate Lisa Curtis resigned in July.

The city is seeking applicants for the volunteer position and applications will be accepted through September 3.

A copy of the application is available at the city’s website at www.peachtree-city.org/jobx.aspx?jobID=124

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