Council cuts public out of major LCI plan meeting

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As if the City’s LCI project proposals were not controversial enough, they had a final LCI Core Committee meeting October 8 at 6:30 p.m. with absolutely no public notice, while knowing many citizens were constantly making inquiries about what the city was doing.

I was told the meeting was held via internet on Zoom.

I found out about the meeting the night of October 7 from one of the committee members I was speaking to on the phone. I was surprised because my subdivision had asked about meeting schedules related to LCI and we did not have that date.

I went and checked the city website and there was no mention of the meeting.

The committee member offered to get me an access code for the Zoom meeting, but I did not want to participate in an illegal activity in violation of the state’s Open Meetings law.

Open Meetings law is common knowledge in local government channels, so will the Mayor and Council be accountable? I doubt it.

After the meeting had concluded, I was told that the committee decided NOT to recommend any changes to the Tennis Center. It only took 3,500 signatures on a petition to make that happen.

The approximately 2,000 residents of Planterra Ridge and Cardiff Park are extremely angry that Councilman Mike King is still wanting to force a road connection from Planterra Way (a residential road) to the very busy high traffic shopping center next door. That is insane.

Councilman King and the city already admit that the subdivision has a lot of cut-through traffic currently.

I participated in the early LCI discussions in Peachtree City back when Bob Lenox was mayor and later when I was mayor.

In those days, we agreed that we did not want to “urbanize” the city with a lot of high density residential buildings. Additionally, we did not favor high traffic retail on the southern side of State Route 54, as it was zoned mainly for office.

Several members of the current City Council were part of an effort that rezoned that land to commercial retail and created what we believed 20 years ago to be the worst case scenario. Now, to exacerbate that horrendous mistake, they want to attach the commercial retail to a residential subdivision.

On August 23,The Citizen news feed warned us with the article entitled, “Mayor Fleisch: Peachtree City’s ‘village concept is changing,’” and boy-oh-boy did she want radical change with dense multi-family buildings on preserved green spaces and the loss of recreational amenities.

This City Council has literally thrown the land plans that have made us one of the top ranked cities in Georgia on all positive metrics from the late 80’s to the present right out the window.

The consistent neglect of the citizenry is shameful for a well-educated community like Peachtree City.

Mayor Fleisch and Councilman King pushed for the Great Wolf Lodge to be built on top of an adjacent subdivision because they did not care about those homeowners.

They pushed for the Calistoa “mini city” to be built at the end of our airport runway, virtually guaranteeing future problems for our citizens in aviation and our aviation businesses at the airport.

Do not forget their attempt to force a urban downtown building project near City Hall that brought on citizen fury and ended with a thud.

But always remember when people began complaining, they (and you can’t make this stuff up) pushed for a city ordinance that would allow the City Council to use taxpayer funds to sue citizens who publicly challenged them. In a packed meeting room full of livid citizens, a local high school student asked which person on the City Council was responsible for placing the mind-boggling ordinance on the agenda. Of course, none of them would admit to it.

People are still wondering why the successful community garden was moved for no reason to less convenient, crowded recreation fields in Glenloch.

The overwhelming majority is saying please stop the lunacy. Do not give our treasured preserved green spaces to real estate developers. Likewise, stop talking about “walkable development” when we far surpass walkable standards with our path system, able to go anywhere, not just five blocks to a store.

So many notable cities in the north metro Atlanta area are trying to emulate Peachtree City and our path system. Stop trying to make us another Gwinnett, Fulton or Cobb County. We moved to Peachtree City for the quality of life, not urban downtowns.

The LCI process has been non-transparent, slanted with a vague citizen survey that purposely did not mention the LCI traffic ramifications on the Highway 54-74 intersection and it was powered by a single-minded subcontracted urban planning firm.

How about focusing your attention on the State Route 54-74 intersection debacle that you have been ignoring for over a decade?

How about showing some respect for our citizens and our neighborhoods?

Steve Brown

Peachtree City, Ga.

[Brown is a former mayor of Peachtree City and former Fayette County Commissioner]

5 COMMENTS

  1. It is a question of preference. Density generally has higher crime, always has higher congestion and inconvenience in moving about, and it attracts a different kind of people (no, I’m not talking about minorities or any racial inference). I have heard we need it (density) to attract millennials but I have not heard any valid good reason why we need millennials. I have met an increasing number of 30-45 yr olds with families who are new to PTC and love it and feel that it is exactly what they wanted for their families and do not want density. We had Lexington Circle set and zoned for a mixed use area which made sense but council approved everything but mixed use. No surprise. The comment was made that Fleisch was elected so… Well, sadly, it seems very difficult to get anyone to run for office that doesn’t have a financial stake. It seems obvious that a Realtor is a conflict. But, our only hope is to find and elect those who feel like we do about our city. Being active and voting has consequences. If we fail we adapt or move. I hope we can preserve and improve upon what we have rather than try to become something new. We are blessed with something special as we are.

  2. I could not agree more about the vague nature of the entire process. While appearing to encourage participation amongst citizens, the city has been rather closed about advertising opportunities to participate. Perhaps Covid has caused some kinks in the original process but how/why in the world would this critical meeting be closed? I looked today to see what the upcoming calendar for the final stages of the process was, only to find out that the meeting had already occurred, AND that it wasn’t open. I have not been pleased with the transparency (of the city, not the company doing the study) at all and frankly feel like it’s all been a bit leading from the beginning. I have read the October 8th meeting presentation however and am pleased to see that the study at least states that the citizens of PTC like things here and would like to keep (most of) them as-is. There’s a reason people move here and we should respect the foresight of this who planned it well in the beginning.

  3. Why is mixed use bad? Why is “high density” bad? The majority of people voted for Mayor Fleisch, she’s just doing what she thinks is best for PTC. I happen to agree with her and whole ton of people think it’s a good idea they’re just not as motivated as the people who hate it to go to meetings.