Election season brings election questions, and this year The Citizen posed identical questions via email to the two Senoia council candidates for City Council Post 2, Gregory Lanman and William “Dub” Pearman.
1. What is your vision for both the council and the city?
[Lanman, who did not provide his photo, chose to use his one answer for all four questions.]
Gregory Lanman — ”I believe the underlying issue for Senoia is sustainable growth. The town’s motto is “… the perfect setting for life.” With the addition of several large subdivisions and plans to add several more large subdivisions within the city limits of Senoia, Senoia is on the path to becoming the 2nd largest city in Coweta County. Population density is already a problem. Will Senoia lose its small town charm and appeal in order to develop as much of the land as possible into endless tracts of residential subdivisions and commercial strip malls? Senoia needs to ensure that this growth, is what the citizens of Senoia want and that this growth does not exceed the city’s capacity and capability to sustain this massive influx of growth. As Senoia grows, is there a plan to ensure “…the perfect setting for life?”
Senoia will need a plan to provide for adequate public safety programs, such as police, fire, and ambulance services. Is there a plan to provide for adequate public works programs – water and sewage treatment, maintenance and repair of existing infrastructure, as well as assuming financial and fiduciary responsibility for existing and new infrastructure? What is Senoia’s role in advocating for our growing student population in discussions with Coweta County Schools? Residential development begets new elementary schools, new middle schools, and new high schools. Do the citizens of Senoia want to pay higher property taxes to build more schools? Who is going to pay to expand our city and county roads, to manage anticipated surge in vehicle congestion that is the result of residential and commercial development? When considering all of these factors, we need to always keep at the top of our minds the reasons why people move to Senoia in the first place. Growth for the sake of growth must never supersede our goal of maintaining Senoia as “the perfect setting for life.
“In addition to sustainable growth, I would advocate for the return of the farmers’ market to the downtown area of Senoia. Farmers’ market offer a sense of community and contribute to the local economy. Towns and cities all across America host a farmers’ market. When the City decided to eliminate the Senoia’s farmers’ market, they took away one of the greatest assets that appealed to so many citizens of Senoia and to people who visit our town. And finally, I would support collaborative efforts between City of Senoia, Coweta County, Fayette County, and the City of Peachtree City, in the construction of a golf cart path to connect the communities of Senoia and Peachtree City. People want to visit to Senoia for a variety of reasons—charming shops, walkable streets, fantastic restaurants, tourist destinations—and we should work together to make this happen.”
William “Dub” Pearman — “My vision for Senoia is not very different from what I see today. There’s a vibrant, but small business district, an historic district with numerous beautiful homes containing a variety of architecture, outstanding civic and volunteer organizations doing excellent work for our community, parks and playgrounds for families and children to play outdoors, and our library and senior center. My vision for Senoia is to maintain this setting without stifling growth or progress. My vision for the council and Mayor is to be able to work well as a team. When working a particular issue, we need to have all the available information, thoroughly debate the pros and cons including best and worst-case scenarios, then, once a decision is made, have all members work hard on implementing that decision. I don’t think that every decision made will necessarily be the best choice, but we are all human beings prone to make mistakes. When that happens, we should acknowledge the mistake and take action to mitigate any negative impact on the citizens.”
2. What is your vision for improving life in Senoia?
Pearman — “I don’t really think that anyone can improve life in Senoia. What our elected officials should be working towards is to make the city a favorable environment for living and working, then get out of the way. Part of that environment already exists and includes protection of our citizens from our police; cleanliness of our neighborhoods with sanitation and garbage collection; and clean water and sewage service. In addition to our basic needs, we need to be looking for accessibility with additional safe walking trails and sidewalks. We should also be considering more golf-cart paths and the widening of certain streets to allow all vehicles to safely navigate our city. However, the difficult part isn’t coming up with ideas on improvement, it’s bringing these ideas to life in a fiscally responsible way that doesn’t increase our taxes. There are solutions to this issue through state and federal grants, public/private partnerships, and matching fund programs available for public use land or buildings.
3. What is your stand on the city’s future growth?
Pearman — “As long as Senoia is a desirable place to live, work, raise a family, or visit for shopping and touring, the city will continue to grow. Cities are either growing or shrinking; there is no magic pill to keep a municipality in status quo. Senoia’s recent notoriety with the film industry has had a direct impact on increased visitors and tourists. While this is welcomed by many and scorned by some, this is not something that anyone believes has long-term sustainability. We should focus on bringing a variety of light industry, small business, and tourism to the community. This will provide a level of redundancy to the city that can sustain stable economic growth that doesn’t rely on a single business or industry.”
4. What is the biggest issue facing the city in the next four years?
Pearman — “The biggest issue facing Senoia is rapid growth. Coweta county, and the eastern portion in particular, is projected to have some of the largest growth in the entire country during the next 10 years. With that growth there brings opportunity for both success and epic failure. Growth without thoughtful planning will result in gridlock of traffic, loss of services to the citizens, and an environment that can cripple business. So, the most important issue for our elected officials will be to make sure that as growth is occurring, it will be working toward our long-term goals that protect Senoia’s home town feeling while bringing incremental progress and increased benefits to our citizens.”