Reading [The Citizen’s interview with] Dar Thompson last week, I had to wonder where Mr. Thompson actually lives, because clearly in my mind he does not live in the same city of Peachtree City that I do.
My wife and I have lived here now for almost 18 years, coming here after serving almost 30 years in the United States Air Force as a civil engineer. It was actually a fluke, since we had never heard of Peachtree City until I came to Atlanta for several job interviews.
My wife and youngest daughter fell in love with the community. I loved the golfing opportunities and my wife loved the community, church and access to shopping. And my daughter loved McIntosh High School. We all also loved the city golf cart trails and the time we would spend with our grandkids traveling them when the kids came to visit. It was perfect for us, with the exception of the long commute I had for work, but I could handle it given the benefits Peachtree City offered the family.
After 16 years of working in Atlanta, I decided to retire but wanted to stay active in my church and community so I volunteered for a position on the city’s Planning Commission, starting initially as an alternate and then being selected as a full member. I now am fortunate to have been the chairman for several terms.
While serving on the commission I have had the pleasure of working with the city manager, mayors, many of the City Council members and certainly many planning commissioners. However, probably just as importantly, we have had many individuals attend our meetings making comments, both for and against items on the agenda. Each have their own opinions and I believe they are all sincere and honest and want to have their opinion heard.
I have also attended all the city’s working group and planning meetings for the City Comprehensive Land Use Plan. This includes the current plan that was passed recently, as well as the last attempt that was not completed due to changes in the state process resulting in not allowing the city to complete our plan in time for submission. Nonetheless the city’s efforts along with the residents input was outstanding.
Interestingly, had Mr. Thompson attended any of these sessions, he would have heard and seen that there were individuals of all types, ages and persuasions, deeply involved, all making comments about what they liked about the city and how they wanted the city to grow and where. This massive effort was organized and documented by the Atlanta Regional Commission and the city staff, who did, in my opinion, another outstanding job.
The result was not at all what Mr. Thompson was “alerting” the residents to. In contrast, Peachtree City is a vibrant and active city moving ahead in many ways, all focused on what the majority of the residents of the community clearly stated they want.
Additionally, as chairman of the City’s Planning Commission, I and the other four planning commissioners regularly see young families coming to Peachtree City opening businesses or wanting to open businesses. Many others attend a workshop to get the opinions of the city staff and the Planning Commission on the details so they can comply with all the zoning, ordinances, etc.
They routinely state that they are coming for the community environment, for the golf cart trails and for the family-friendly lifestyle. Again, clearly different than what Mr. Thompson believes is the case with the younger families.
We have also had excellent developers such as DeGollian Homes, who are working with the city in an effort to redevelop some of the older 1970s single family homes into more modern upgraded homes like the one they just completed on Pinemount Drive.
Also developers/contractors like South-Tree Enterprises here in PTC are doing outstanding work developing and constructing viable industrial complexes in the areas of the city zoned for industrial and commercial facilities.
These are just a few; there are many more all looking at re-development like the old Bank of America, on Ga. Highway 54, that is well on its way of being revitalized and upgraded.
The city’s staff and Council are doing an excellent job redeveloping and annexing areas that the city can continue to use and grow where appropriate and without significant changes in the beautiful planned community that makes Peachtree City unique and special.
So in this man’s opinion, don’t listen to developers who want to change our community. Follow the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the excellent city planning and zoning staff’s suggestions and our elected officials.
As long as they continue to execute your desires as they have been doing, our beautiful Peachtree City will continue to be recognized in the top cities in the state and in the USA where individuals, young and old, want to come and live and enjoy our beautiful lifestyle.
Chairman, Planning Commission
Peachtree City, Ga.