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Flip-flops by Imker, Fleisch, Learnard?

What do we need more, a corporate site to provide jobs or 90 more new houses to complete with our already depleted existing home sales? We already have well over 1,000 undeveloped home sites already within our city limits.

The annexation and rezoning of the “Southern Pines Plantation” (SPP) is a perfect example of political promises gone wrong.

The City Council voted to move forward on the annexation process on July 12 instead of saying “no” to the annexation and rezoning of 77 acres south of the city, which is currently county land that is zoned commercial.

Councilwoman [Vanessa] Fleisch did not ask one question regarding the comprehensive land use plan in Peachtree City nor did she speak about the close proximity to Falcon Field.

Councilwoman [Kim] Learnard also failed to recognize that SSP violates the current comprehensive land use plan. Also, Councilman [Eric] Imker was silent during the discussion except to move to approve step one annexation request for Southern Pines tract.

The council’s exchange gave the green light to move forward to another developer to take advantage of Peachtree City’s sewer system and top notch schools, forgetting all our all-important need for land for corporate facilities.

As a voter, I’m most angry about the broken campaign promises of Fleisch, Learnard and Imker. They also seem to have forgotten this particular parcel of land is directly under the approach path to Falcon Field and could pose multiple problems, including lawsuits, for the airport which is finally standing financially on its own.

We were given some definite promises in 2009 when candidates Fleisch, Learnard, and Imker were running for elected office.

The Citizen newspaper asked: Do you support the rezoning of industrial-zoned property to any residential use?

(To be fair this question was a multiple part question with reference to the Callula Hills project, but I deem it applicable because the Southern Pines property is also close to Falcon Field and the only difference is that Callula Hills property did not need to be annexed, only rezoned from industrial to residential.)

Then-candidate Fleisch responded, “It is foolhardy for a planned community to go so far outside its land use plan to rezone industrial land into residential ... The FAA has within the past year awarded Falcon Field grants to expand its hangar apron and installed an instrument landing systems (ILS). Falcon Field is the only airport on the south side of Atlanta to have an ILS. My hope is that the airport will become a magnet for businesses and thus help our tax revenue. The current airport authority is doing a tremendous job and we need to be supporting them, not throwing obstacles in their way.”

Then-candidate Learnard responded to the same question, “I do not support rezoning of industrial zoned property to residential use ... we must focus on Falcon Field and its value to Peachtree City.”

Candidate Learnard also responds about the development of Callula Hill (which is very similar to the Southern Pines parcel): “The proposed Callula Hill project would place a residential development in close proximity to Falcon Field. This presents the likelihood of noise and nuisance complaints from any future homeowners. I do not support new development or rezoning that could ultimately compromise airport operations”

Finally, then-candidate Imker responded to the question, “Sticking to the original zoning is clearly the right thing to do. Rezoning sets precedence and begets future uncontrolled growth.”

Candidate Imker was so opposed to the rezoning that he wrote letters to the editor in March, May, and June 2009 titled (“No on Callula Development”) (“Callula Hill Rezoning is the most illogical request in memory”) and (“How will Mayor Logsdon vote when Callula Hill comes back”).

The Citizen continued: There are roughly 1,400 more homes to be built before running out of virgin residential-zoned space. Do you see any need for the city to expand its borders through annexation for any zoning category?

Fleisch answered, “After the approximately 1,400 homes are built, I do not see any reason to expand the city limits through annexation. Adding more homes would cost the city a great deal in infrastructure and services that would always be a part of our budget. Continually planning for expanding fire, police, and cart paths while annexing in more land will wreak havoc on the budgeting process.”

Fleisch continues, “We need to be focusing on the redevelopment of some of our older existing homes and structures ... My belief is that most citizens feel as I do, that we do not need to annex any more property and lose our sense of community”

Learnard responded, “I would need to see clear evidence that any annexation works to the benefit of Peachtree City citizens. Even an annexation that at first glance appears to be a cost benefit due to building permits and impact fees can end up costing a city millions of dollars over time.”

Learnard also states, “The development projects our city needs are light industrial, quality manufacturing, and corporate headquarters. These types of development projects bring good paying jobs to the city; they call for modest sized facilities and infrastructure in appropriate locations.”

Imker remarked, “Any annexation request will be reviewed in accordance with our city ordinances. I am against annexations that would involve the big three zone types of residential, commercial, and industrial as they all have inherent flaws as they relate to the land use plan. Residential annexations will create unneeded competition in this current economic downturn for those trying to sell their homes.”

They made the perfect arguments in 2009 and we voted for them. Now they seem to be flip-flopping on us by annexing and then rezoning the Southern Pines parcel to residential.

No one has done a better job of explaining exactly why we should avoid this annexation than Fleisch, Learnard and Imker.

Joshua Bloom

Peachtree City, Ga.



The mayor or Commisioner Brown is spoon feeding you.

mudcat's picture

I wonder if there is a stomach tube involved. Looks like our little Josh is being groomed for bigger and better things.

If you listened to the meeting, seems the biggest issues now are sewer and build out already planned within the existing city limits.

Dennis Chase gave an outstanding presentation on some history of this property along with the WASA extension that would go along with it. That, and fact that the mayor also announced there are 1400-1500 more homes yet to be built within the existing city limits (Cedarcroft, Centennial part 2, Weiland, Scarbrough), are all part of the decisioning here. Council has a lot to consider on this and should not be in any hurry to say yes, if at all.

I did not see this from The Citizen in Sept. from Dennis Chase. He presented more last night.

You are correct and they should take their time without politicians trying to manipulate information.
Haddix/Brown/Bloom should stop and wait for the facts.

Actually, I'm glad this opportunity still exists because this is the property Mayor Haddix wanted for LOW TEMP. If he had his way, it would have had to be re zoned Industrial!

A factory next to ball fields, shopping center and homes.
How would that have fit into the Comprehensive Plan. Technically Mayor Haddix started the Flip Flop regarding this property and the consequences would have been far worse.

If you are interested in running for public office, and I sincerely hope that you are, I urge you to back away from the "scorched earth" approach that you are undertaking here.

This style has been used repeatedly by our current mayor and a former mayor.

Our current mayor will most likely not be re-elected and his poltical career will end and the former mayor sat out for many years to only rise again surrounded by new supporters, many of whom did not know him during his time as mayor.

If you choose this approach you will bring out people who hate bullys and they will fight to keep you out of office, and if elected they will continue that fight until you are gone!

I commend you for being politically active and involved. I also encourage you to run for elected office BUT there are many ways to present your ideas and positions and I urge you not to take the advice of a few believing that this tactic will win supporters.

The time is coming in Fayette and America where citizens will demand our elected representatives show civility and citizenship.

Those who effectively communicate show leadership, those who attack show that they are nothing more than hack politicans who feed off the system. It's time to honor the citizen/soldier concept to public service that built America.

Please stop and show the citizens of Peachtree City that you are a capable communicator on the issues.

What exactly did the guy do wrong?? I can't find the article he's quoting using the search thing but if his quotes are accurate we owe him a "thank you" for taking a stand.

I'm assuming his quotes are correct because Cal Beverly referred to them as well. Does anyone have a link to the article?

Josh Bloom's picture

The following were the questions asked of the candidates in 2009 and then links to their answers.

Questions for Peachtree City candidates

1. Based on current zoning, there are roughly 1,400 more homes to be built before running out of virgin residential-zoned space. Do you see any need for the city to expand its borders through annexation for any zoning category? Why or why not? Please explain what type of development — if any — the city needs more of, how it will be paid for and where you think such annexation makes the most sense.

2. Do you support the rezoning of industrial-zoned property to any residential use? Also tell us specifically whether you support or oppose the Callula Hill project that would convert land in the city’s industrial park into an upscale “lake view” subdivision, and if so, tell us why or why not. Also, spell out whether this proposal does or does not represent spot zoning.

3. This has been one of the most painful budget years in the city’s history. Grade the City Council on personnel cutbacks and how it handled the funding shortfall. Explain exactly what you would have done differently.

4. If the city had to cut another $1 million out of the coming year’s budget, what specific actions would you take to balance the budget?

5. Under what conditions — if any — would you support an increase in the city property tax?

6. What is your opinion about Peachtree City selling city streets to a developer so as to enable a much larger shopping center to be built on Ga. Highway 54 West?

7. What will you vote to do to insure that the city’s existing village centers remain economically viable?

8. Will you vote for or against the countywide SPLOST renewal? Why or why not?

9. Describe your general political philosophy, particularly regarding local government.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

How did they vote on the annexation? And the sewer thing - did that pass?

Live free or die!

The vote on annexation was postponed for further research by city staff.
However it is apparent that this issue will be used to kick off Haddix's bid for re-election. With Steve Brown silently in the audience, Josh Bloom spoke.

It appears that the tactics being used are:

-anti developer
-against the Comphrensive Plane and LUP
-flip flop voting record of 3 council members
-its an economic loss to PTC because long term the cost
of services out weigh the initial benefit.

Of the 3 listed tactics above, you pick which current and past mayors' gamebook they come from.

It appears that some do not want to wait for the city staff and Falcon Field study, to make an EDUCATED decision, and now you can see that Mr. Bloom is posting more political issues(see above) prepared by the team of Brown & Haddix to kick off Haddix's campaign.

Meanwhile can anyone tell me if this is the same tract of land that LOW TEMP was looking at?

I am glad the vote was postponed to perform additional homework. Making an informed decision is more important than basing a decision on campaign promises under different circumstances.

Josh is certainly being groomed by Mr. Brown. If Josh is a good student he will study under different mentors and then try to emulate the best qualities of each.

In my opinion, no one really pays attention to the Mayor. If he wants to vote directly in line with every one of his campaign promises, then people can say that his closed minded approach are not always in the best interest of the city.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

meaning if staff get more conditions or freebies out of the developer - it will be approved later.

The flip flop thing is being was overplayed by both Josh and The Citizen. There's not one candidate in the last 20 years around here who knew anything about anything before he or she took office. Get elected, get educated, learn some more, then after two or three terms, its ok to pontificate. When candidates make judgements first, they are just background noise. Look at Brown running to kill the WFB. Nobody listens, at least nobody with any judgment.

I do believe LOW Temp was going on part of this land.

Live free or die!

How about PTC Council votes NO, no matter what the research says then the developer can build a 77 acre RACTRAC.
200 pumps and a Kohl's department/convenience store open 24 hours a day with a bowling alley inside.

Don doesn't flip flop...remember, he voted no to "Joey the development man", stayed true to his word and ran him out of town at the Fresh Market opening.

Josh Bloom's picture

You should of come up and said Hello. I would of liked to talk with you and thanked you for some suggestions that I would rather not post on the board.

But to respond to your post, I was not anti developer. In fact I complimented them on the visual lay out of the community which I do appreciate. I don't think its a bad plan, and like the fact that it has an office park at the gateway. I like that they added two pocket parks and particularly enjoy the curvy streets. The lots are a little small for my liking, but hey, some folks don't like to do yard work. It is just in the wrong location and the wrong time.

The council can change their stance based on new information, but I have only heard 1 reasonable argument as to why they should vote yes, and that argument is somewhat thin. IF they change their stance then the following needs to be complete:
1. Economic study that says PTC will not lose money over this deal
2. This community fits within our land use plan
3. Falcon Field airport authority gives its stamp of approval or at least an impact study on the community
4. Assurance that this will not have a severe impact on PTC current housing market
5. Fire, Police, Sewer looked out to make sure we can handle an additional 90 homes

Personally I don't think the council will be able to leap over hurdle number 1 and 2, but we will see.

Next meeting I will come up and say hi, as for this meeting I was out of town so I watched it via podcast.

Frankly, I am more concerned with #1, 3 and 5. The housing market is already depressed due to the overall economy and, locally because of the mishandling of economic development. Some believe that it's changing.

For item 2 and our Land Use Plan. This property has been popular because of its location at the southern entrance to Peachtree City.

If you look at the recent activity surrounding it, Mayor Haddix showed interest in attracting LOW TEMP manufacturing there.

That was the first FLIP FLOP on the issues as you have kindly laid them out. Had LOW TEMP proceeded, then the land would have been annexed then zoned industrial. That would have been a complete disaster for PTC.

A shopping center was also proposed, which is in close proximity to PTC Publix Center. Luckily that project did not move forward as it would have pulled tax revenue away from the city to that center.

So, 2 projects in approximately 4 years, both bad for Peachtree City.

Josh, I again applaud you for being proactive. Just be careful where and how you collect your information and you are not being used or handled by ANYONE!

Imagine what would happen to your chance for elected office should your FLIP FLOP approach become a political whine in a bid for re-election by an "exposed" Flip Flopper.

If you are it's author and for some reason(s) the outcome does not sit well, then by all means run with it and own it but ALONE because its what you believe.

Your enthusiasm is great. Thank you for chairing the Mayor's citizen committee on service levels. PTC needs young leadership and vision and I encourage you continue.

My direct email is Let's meet for coffee.

What? Politicians lied to you Josh? Lesson learned young man. Politicians lie. All of them. Yes sorry to burst your bubble but it appears even the Three Council Ladies...Kimmie, Erica and The Big Hair Lady. Politicians will say exactly what the electorate want to hear when running for office. However, once elected...forget about it. Now, let me offer you some additional advice. Follow the money in politics. You will understand why politicians vote the way they do. Fact is if you don't have skin in the game, your opinion and a buck will get you a cup o' joe at Mickey D's.

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