LCI plans presented, citizens mostly say no thanks

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Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch (in red facing camera) hears from a resident during the LCI Open House Oct. 22 at Kedron Fieldhouse. Photo/Cal Beverly.
Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch (in red facing camera) hears from a resident during the LCI Open House Oct. 22 at Kedron Fieldhouse. Photo/Cal Beverly.

So, nine months and $160,000 in planning grants later, what do we have?

The Livable Cities Initiative Oct. 22 presented its maps and arguments for redeveloping parts of central Peachtree City in an area from City Hall-Drake Field westward past the Ga. highways 54-74 intersection to Huddleston Road.

Hosted by the City Council around a set of maps on the gymnasium walls at Kedron Fieldhouse, the open house Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. brought between 70 and 100 citizens to question the plans and assumptions behind the LCI study.

<b>Councilmen Mike King (L) and Terry Ernst (both facing camera) hear from residents Oct. 22. Photo/Cal Beverly.</b>
Councilmen Mike King (L) and Terry Ernst (both facing camera) hear from residents Oct. 22. Photo/Cal Beverly.

Council members and city planning staff spent a large part of the gathering assuring residents in one-on-one meetings that the city-owned tennis center was in no danger of being demolished and that Drake Field would not be home to multi-family apartments.

<b>Opposition handout criticizing City Council for the LCI planning results.</b>
Opposition handout criticizing City Council for the LCI planning results.

Two words might best describe both council hopes and LCI plans: Scaled back.

<b>Councilman Phil Prebor (facing camera) points to an LCI map at the Open House Oct. 22. Photo/Cal Beverly.</b>
Councilman Phil Prebor (facing camera) points to an LCI map at the Open House Oct. 22. Photo/Cal Beverly.

Scorched by hundreds of residents in feedback through survey and online comments, the LCI planners summarized what they had heard:

• Residents are “very hesitant about change in any location.” That means “no build” scenario at City Hall. There will be no redevelopment in the City Hall area.

• “Residents are happy with PTC the way it is.”

• Lack of desire for new housing of any kind (including single-family)

• Concerns that any LCI plans will worsen 54-74 traffic and make traffic more congested in Planterra Ridge.

• The tennis center stays as is.

The LCI summary of citizen replies said that 40% don’t want change, 27% want retail and mixed-use, and 33% want to improve the cart path system.

The LCI study made some recommendations for streetscape changes along Huddleston Road and in Westpark Walk, but the likelihood of that going farther is uncertain after the Thursday night meeting.

The study still must be presented to the council for final action in coming weeks.

 

48 COMMENTS

  1. Henry, you are changing my point(Straw Man debate tactic) and attempting to win a new point. Very weak. I said nothing about voting as I am sure you know. Homeowners in PTC are interested in preserving our property values, not driving them down(which a lot of us feel LCI would do). People who do not have property here do not care if they hurt the home values in PTC. In fact, they would probably be all for it. The how long someone has lived here argument you made is even a more pitiful. If one is invested here through home ownership, they want the value preserved. And the Huddleston LCI concept was beyond insulting to the Planterra Ridge neighborhood, but I am certain the particulars as to why are lost on you.

    • I was using voting as a comparison, it doesn’t matter if I rent or lived here 50 years or 5 months. A vote is a vote. Using your logic I should only be allowed to vote if I own land, we got rid of that a long time ago. I have a vested interest in PTC, it’s where I grew up and I want to see it live up to it’s full potential. You out-of-towners move here and think you know what’s best. You’re just interested in making as much money from your property, not doing what’s best for PTC in the long run. (Again it’s really easy to make these dumb arguments that don’t hold up to scrutiny, so why don’t you stop doing that and tell me why my IDEAS are wrong.)

      If you want to have the highest property value possible you should be the biggest supporter of the LCI plan. It’s been shown in other similar projects to this one that land values increase in the general area of the mixed used development because people realize how nice it is to be close to this type of development and are willing to pay more to live near it. The individual properties in the LCI might be cheaper, but when you fit 3 houses at half the price of an avg house on the same amount of land as a avg house the value per acre is 50% higher.

      I have been discussing with people who live in Planterra Ridge and I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what they don’t like about it. Their main concern is traffic using Planterra as a cut through to get to Huddlestone. This is an entirely valid concern and one that needs to be addressed. However, civil engineers have an array of solutions to this problem. One easy way is to slow down traffic on the road, also know as traffic calming in engineering circles. This involves but is not limited to; narrowing the road which makes drivers more cautious, adding chicanes so that drivers have to slow down for the tight corners, speed tables which are already installed there. In the latest design they realigned the road to have an additional stop sign, further slowing down traffic and discouraging cut throughs.

      I’m sure they’re also up in arms about the bit of land the city wants to build a road on that the HOA owns. I was talking to the one engineer for the project and he said that they already have an alternate road layout to avoid the HOA land because it would have been a nice connection but not necessary.

      Is it also insulting because “poor” people might live near them? What a travesty that would be, poor people living in PTC. You let one poor person in and within a year PTC will be overrun by gangs and crime. (I’m being sarcastic if you couldn’t tell)

      If I missed anything let me know.

        • How do you know I don’t have a girlfriend? Just because some of friends from college are civil engineers?

          Again, you haven’t countered my arguments just called me names. I’m starting to think that you don’t actually want to have an informed discussion on the LCI proposal and just want to be an internet troll.

          You say that I’m clueless, but where am I clueless? I don’t claim to know everything and if there’s something I missed, I would like to know so that I can get better informed.

    • I got it figured out now – Henry is actually Steve Brown. The Planterra cut through diatribe was my final clue.

      Remember when Steve had those other female identities on here? Silence Dogwood was one, Alice something was another. Pretty funny actually. Henry is really the same kind of thing – funny, silly and idealistic. Always stirring the pot.

      See how he (Steve or Henry) responds and compare writing styles and then decide if I’m right or wrong. Could be either. Go back and review his postings and see what you think. Looks like he’s an attention-getting troll with extra time on his hands.

      • I’m insulted you think that I’m Steve Brown fake account. I put the Planterra ridge aside in to be snarky and poke fun at Steve Brown. I think he is an annoying NIMBY, who opposes all change for no go reason. If you went to the meeting that this article is about, you might have seen me arguing with him and telling him why he’s wrong. Despite what you might think, I’m not an attention seeking troll. You’re right that I have too much time on my hands, but I’m making use of it trying to convince people that the LCI is good.

        • Sorry Henry. Didn’t mean to insult you. I did say I could be right or wrong – so, I guess I’m wrong. But Brown has had these fake identities in the past – Silence Dogwood being the best and you were going in that direction, so I just assumed something I should have not.

          And you are not wrong about the Brown clown being an annoying NIMBY, but you are incomplete. He is certainly annoying, but NIMBY is just the tip of the iceberg. The late, great Carolyn Cary said it best when she dredged up the old French word Parvenu to describe him. Perfect. Parvenu Brown, Pet Detective.

          Moving on, if you really think the LCI plan is good and you have extra time – run for mayor or city council next time. You will have a larger pulpit (win or lose) and can test the ideas you want to promote on a larger audience.

          • If you do not own property in PTC, you stand alone as not understanding why people who do own property and live in PTC would have no interest in your opinion on a project(LCI) that will certainly have a significant impact on our community.

          • That doesn’t matter. My vote in local elections for doesn’t change just because don’t own property. I haven’t seen anyone dispute my arguments based on their substance, people have either said “You don’t own land, what do you know?” or “I don’t want change.”

            Why is owning property a requirement to be part of the community? I grew up here and feel like I’m part of the PTC community.

            Did you grow up in PTC or did you move here later in life? If the latter, why should some outsider tell the people who have lived here their whole lives what PTC should be?

            See, it’s easy to make up random requirements for who is “really” part of PTC. Someone is a part of PTC if they live here.

            To bring this full circle. My opinions on PTC are just as valid as yours and I would like to hear some substantive criticism of my arguments.

  2. I think the city has some good ideas but the plan has to be modified. First of all one must be very careful about LCI grants etc. This is not the way to move forward. One must understand the conditions that come along with LCI and grants. Ultimately you the city, will beholden to the government and government funds. Once this takes place, who will ultimately call the shots. Trust me, before it’s over the government will be involved in your local decisions which is what I believe none of us want.

    If the plan is good enough, do it through the private sector and leave the government component out of it. Just think of it this way, 3 years ago NO way I could get very upscale condos converted to apartments in an absolute perfect location (Lexington, Grocery stores, pharmacy, restaurants, Starbucks, liquor store, etc. So what has change? Now that the government is offering financial incentives. My proposed project 3 years, converting into very upscale apartments received a resounding NO would now, all of a sudden be perfect. What has changed? Just follow the money.

    Under an LCI many incentives are introduced but I don’t think we want the government (on a Federal level), telling us what we can and cannot do. Furthermore, developers will get tax incentives from the government which would allow an additional 12% +/- to their bottom line. You have to be very careful. IMO PTC needs to change but remain to hold on to its core values.

    In closing, I personally think many of the ideas are good but only if the private sector with private money get involved. Also, traffic is yet another major issue. One must have alternated access to the south. parallel to 54 or you are just dumping more traffic on Hwy 54.

    Currently, the state or Federal government cannot tell us how to develop the zoning rules of our city. When you start anything with the government, there will always be a catch. Trust me.

    In closing, I agree with several (not all) of the components but only with added parallel access to 74 which would take about 30 percent of the pressure off of Hwy 54 and any new city development needs to be private and zoned by our mayor and council. Again, one must follow the money. Personally, I like our leaders looking to engage and finally understanding that we cannot and will not be a bubble for much longer. The mayor is finally understanding, we have to prepare for the next 60 years. IMO- heading the right direction, just on the wrong path.

    I would encourage to never stop ways of improving our city. We missed a golden opportunity in the west village to put a component (live, work,and play) on hundreds and hundreds of acres. I think its good that the mayor and council are looking for ways to add value to the city. Many (not all) of these concepts needed to be addressed before Cress-Wind was build. Also, if you are looking to create such projects it is imperative that you have corporations on board with moving their headquarters here so these apartments condos create an environment for white collar jobs.

    Many more layers as I’ve only touched the service into the multiple moving parts.

    Another component that needs to be

  3. Welcome. You came here from there because you didn’t like there, and now you want to change here to be like there. We are not racist, phobic or anti whatever you are, we simply like here the way it is and most of us actually came here because it is not like there, wherever there was. You are welcome here, but please stop trying to make here like there. If you want here to be like there you should not have left there to come here and you are invited to leave here and go back there at your earliest convenience.

    • I don’t want PTC to be like other suburbs, I love PTC because it’s not car dependent. The vast majority of suburbs are entirely single family zoned and you have to get in a car to go anywhere. I want PTC to move in the other direction. PTC would be improved with mixed use, because it plays to the strengths of PTC, the ability to get places without having to get in a car and the interactions we have on the paths. This isn’t about making PTC like a big city or like some other suburb, it’s about taking what we have and continuously improving it.

      We need to move away from car dependency as a nation and PTC can be a model for other suburbs to follow.

      • At what point Henry will you come to the realization that you will not change one single person mind here in PTC about THE LCI despite how reasonable your arguments may be. Think about this: “People are stubborn about what they perceive to be the right thing or the wrong thing, and it takes a long time to filter this human condition. There’s a waiting period until people catch up. But if you have patience – which it takes when someone thinks differently from you – everybody always catches up. That patience is a wonderful virtue.” Johnny Mathis

        • I think young Henry knows what he wants and yes, he is stubborn about it. So was I – 30 years ago. Fortunately and more importantly, so was Joel Cohen – 30, 40, 50 years ago and we are living in a wonderful place thanks to him and some others who followed his vision.

          Henry is probably more a visionary (like Joel) than a hands-on get it done today person, but he does at least have a vision and some intellect to think about cause and effect and most of all how land can be used and enjoyed by his generation.

          Perfect solution would be to find someone who has a couple thousand acres of land and buy it or if that won’t work, sign on as an employee using that engineering degree. Probably take 10 years to have something he’d be proud of, but it would be worth it.

          Another solution is to study the Pinewood Forrest social experiment. They seem to have unlimited money chasing after every millennial dream that is “trending” – whatever that means.

          • I would only call myself a visionary in the sense that I have a vision for the direction I would like to see PTC go. I’m mostly just combining what I see as PTC strengths with other interesting city planning ideas I’ve seen around.

            I would disagree that the perfect solution is building a new city from scratch. Part of cities and towns is the history and their evolution over time, building a whole new city makes the same mistake the not quite a downtown does. You don’t have the older and newer neighborhoods, it all feels the same.

            I think that it is possible to put mixed use into PTC and have it compliment what we love about PTC pretty well. There are some trade offs, traffic will probably get a bit worse. That doesn’t bother me though because I hardly ever drive a car. I think that traffic might help the city in a roundabout way, it’ll make people think twice about defaulting to driving their car and might get more people to cart places.

          • The plan is not a train wreck, it is a very exciting opportunity. It’s a bit of a change of direction for PTC, but moving towards a more walkable and less car dependent city is for the best. Cars have been the center of attention in city planning for the past 80 ish years, it’s time we stop worrying about traffic flow so much and focus on making places that are nice to walk around.

  4. Disheartening to see that our mayor and council members won’t model correct mask usage, especially when the lack of COVID precautions by the City has already led to one staff member’s death from COVID and multiple other infections!

  5. Amazing. The “NO CHANGE / LEAVE THINGS AS THEY ARE” mindset of this community doesn’t surprise me. They would never have built the first, grocery store, shopping or dining facility, or paved the first roads 75 years ago with this kind of no progress / stagnant thinking if they had their way. News Flash: This is no longer a Andy Griffith and MAYBERRY RFD world.
    “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what could go right.” Tony Robbins

    • Thank you, people in PTC need to realize that the world is changing. A big single family home isn’t what people want anymore, we loosen up regulations on what kinds of housing can be built in PTC and let the market respond to demand.

        • Why not make it better? The traffic will get worse no matter what, at least with the LCI some car trips will be converted into cart trips and walking so it has the potential to slightly reduce the amount that traffic will increase.

      • Henry, you clearly don’t like what is going on here. We just don’t want LCI. You may need to look elsewhere and share some of your progressive ideas about what communities need elsewhere. You may like Buckhead. Lots of condos and apartments there.

        • I love it here. PTC is one of the only suburbs that isn’t car dependent. I don’t think that my ideas are that crazy, mixed use fits with perfectly with the atmosphere of PTC. Mixed use has been around for much longer than single family zoning. I just want PTC to be the best city it can be, it has a lot of potential thanks to the multi-use paths. If we had a few more apartments/condos/less expensive houses so that people working in the factories in southern PTC could live and work in PTC that would reduce traffic as people would be able to cart to work. It’s also been shown that everyone benefits economically when people of different incomes live near each other.

          • Henry you are living in a dream world, the mixed use apartments condos and townhomes won’t be priced for factory workers. They will be priced for older wealthy retirees and high salary folks..you won’t be able to touch a 1 bedroom for less than 1800-2000 a month. Condos will be 300k with 600 a month HOAs.

  6. Moved here 35 years ago with the concept of small villages and no downtown. That was the original development plans. Why change? Traffic is a miss because you would not listen to the citizens that said we did not want big box stores in town. Set them up on north 74 way out of town. Now look what we have. Original plan was for 40,000 residents, now you want us to look like north Atlanta. Solve the current headaches and stop trying to make new ones.

    • You’re right that big box store cause traffic, but mixed use has less of a traffic impact because instead of driving between a handful of stores people can walk between them reducing the total number of car trips. We’re not at 40,000 residents yet, if anything the LCI would put PTC at pretty close to 40,000 residents. The first master plan PTC ever made in 1972 called for mixed use in the villages. This fits in with the theme of PTC and PTC needs to change with the changing times, swapping out mixed use at the villages for one mixed use area. We aren’t going to look like north atlanta just because of some mixed use development. We can develop our own style of mixed use that fits PTC and that plays to the strengths of the city.

    • Right Bill, that was my take too – small villages of 10,000 and no downtown. I love this place. The paths, the people, the library and the small business retailers in the village shopping centers (big ones too – I love Kroger, Publix and Fresh Market and their wonderful employees), The Fred, the rec dept. the 4th of July, the lakes, etc.

      There have been 3 master plans 1959, 1972, 1986 and all were interesting and all embraced the village concept – as they should. Those master plans did not include big box retailers – duh! What a great place. No need for big box retailers and now (how ironic). they are becoming obsolete a mere 10 years after PTC government dropped the ball and let them in.

      I was here a couple of years before you, but I never once lost any sleep thinking about how we need a downtown. Who does? I know you didn’t Bill and I think the majority of us old timers don’t care a ting about a downtown. But, as I have written before, the new folks thinks this is somehow cool. Great, they will have it after we die off. No need to rush that process in my humble opinion.

      • I don’t lose sleep over not having a downtown, but I certainly think it would be nice. No one is defending the box stores, they destroy cities with their seas of parking and massive amount of traffic.

        We’re not rushing the process, it’ll be years before anyone breaks ground on this. You said it yourself, this project isn’t for you. Why not let the next generation steer PTC in the direction they want it to go? It’s a tale as old as time, young people wanting to change things and old people saying it’s always worked this way why change it?

        Suburbs like PTC are a new idea, the first of this type were built after WWII. Cities and towns existed for a long time before this model of sprawling suburbs and they’ll be around for a long time to come. A city needs a downtown to be the cultural hub, otherwise the city becomes rather bland with no local arts scene. We have the Fred, but how many local bands perform there? I like the idea of going to a bar with some friends then being able to walk home.

        • Right on. A downtown, mixed use development would be great. It would allow for more visually appealing buildings, a more walkable area for citizens, and less traffic congestion. As it stands most of the American suburbs are ugly as hell, gas stations and strip malls litter our landscape. We can do so much better. To Mr. Morgan’s opposition, had you been alive during the invention of the automobile, it seems you would have been advocating against the car, in favor of the horse & buggy. Nothing is as constant as change and more often than not Americans seek to improve their conditions rather than maintain the status quo.

          • Owl and Henry actually have a couple of interesting points. Sure change and progress are inevitable, but one does not design a planned community on the village concept and then 50 years later say “Gee we need a downtown” even though that is what you advocate. The bones of this community is the village center concept.

            This is not a typical. ugly suburban community with strip malls – except for the huge misstep on 54 west of 74. We are mostly better than that.

            The cultural arts have made many false starts here and all (except the Fred and library) have failed – always from lack of financial support from the residents. If the next generation is able to use tax dollars to force-feed the residents arts and culture, that might work. Step one would be increase the tax base.

            You and others don’t really want a downtown. A downtown means old-fashioned Main St. on which all retailers are consolidated and yes there is a movie theater (another of our failures) art galleries and a few neighborhood bars. What you all probably want is a focal point for events, celebrations, political speeches (ugh!) even protests. I would suggest that we have a good beginning on that with outdoor movies at Drake Field, a designated food truck venue nearby, a farmer’s market, concerts at the pavilion (and The Fred), dog park (at Drake Field) and of course the library and city hall. That can be the backbone of our downtown. City efforts to take over the churches and Aberdeen Shopping Center to expand were too much too soon, but if you all start thinking of the city hall complex as the anchor of our “downtown” then future redevelopment surrounding areas takes on a definite new meaning with a goal in mind.

            Picnic Park, Willowbend, some of the excess Baptist and Presbyterian land and outbuildings (their church families are shrinking, so will their need for all that land) and eventually Aberdeen Village Center will all be redeveloped over the next 30 years. Maybe even the conference center. It won’t be a build from scratch downtown like Avalon or Reston, but it sure is central and easily navigated by golf cart.

            The major challenge will be creating an indoor arts center theater type venue – something like Legacy Theater in Tyrone with all the smaller shops and restaurants surrounding them. Maybe a church will sell out and deliver us a ready-made structure or maybe we have to tear something down and build a new one – either way if it is within sight of the library and Drake Field, it would qualify as “downtown”.

          • I do want a downtown, what you’re describing sounds nice but it’ll be mostly empty during the week only to fill up on weekends. That kind of development ends up having a bit of a sterile feel to it in my experience. Part of what makes a downtown is the people living there and all the little things that people do to make their house or apartment their own. For example, instead of the city doing everything, each townhouse will have different things out front on the porch or garden. (IDK what design the townhouses will have, but the point still stands) Resulting in it feeling like a place that people actually live in. As opposed to the, “It’s cheaper if we do everything the same” approach the city will take. The goal is not to force the arts on the city, but rather create an environment where the arts can survive. Before we build an arts center we should figure out why previous attempts failed, and how to fix those underlying issues. A new expensive building to revitalize the arts looks good and the major and city council get good publicity for the ribbon cutting, but the city won’t fund it forever and if we don’t change anything it’ll end up dying a slow death.

            I don’t want a centrally built downtown, I think we should use the same approach we use with other developments. The city plans out the streets and the zoning code, then gets a handful of developers to actually build it. That’s something that PTC done well in the past and I think we can apply it to the mixed use without to much difficulty.

            There’s a lot that we can copy from dutch city design, like just yesterday the parliament passed a law allowing towns to block big box stores on the edge of town if it’ll cause to much disruption to the town and the local shops. If only we could have done that.

    • How do you propose they fix the traffic? Adding lanes won’t help, induced demand is a thoroughly understood phenomenon. There is a absolute limit to the number of cars that can get through the 54/74 in an hour. The new redesign will get the intersection closer to that limit, but it won’t solve it as the areas around PTC develop and more cars travel through the city.

      The only way to solve traffic is to get people to get places by other modes of transportation. Luckily PTC has paths already, if we put a focus on making the paths a convenient quick way to get around PTC that can help traffic. If we allow the LCI to go ahead there will be less development around PTC, as a result fewer people driving through PTC and more people driving golf carts.

      This will never happen, but extend the Red line down to PTC so that people communing into ATL can take that instead of driving.

      The traffic situation we face today is a result of car first development and the only way to fix it is to give carts and walking and biking a higher priority than cars.

  7. Well I’m glad the citizens of PTC spoke up and oppose the LCI initiative to bring in apartments and more redevelopment. We need to fix our traffic problem. We need to attract more companies for the industrial section. And we need to come up with good ideas about what to do with the vacant retail stores.

    • The only way to fix traffic is to get people out of their cars and getting around by other means. Adding lanes only makes traffic worse, the development in Newnan and Fayetteville means that the number of cars going through PTC will only increase with time. The way to attract companies is to build mixed-use. The younger generations are looking for places where they can have short commutes that they don’t necessarily have to drive. PTC is uniquely suited to supply this kind of environment, because of our paths that when combined with a walkable neighborhood create a incredibly rare and sought after city layout. You want to know why the avenues are full of vacant shop fronts? It’s because of the traffic. No one wants to deal with 54/74 traffic and as a result no one shops there. The ingenious part of putting mixed use and townhomes near the avenues and westpark is that the people living there can walk or cart to the stores. The result is that it makes shopping there much more appealing and can revitalize them.

      What are your proposed solutions? Why do you shoot down these potential solutions but don’t propose any alternatives?

        • It might, but the induced demand problem still exists. Do we want to add more traffic to the area? The box stores bring in traffic, the bypass won’t reduce that. Look at LA adding more highways is a good way to get bumper to bumper traffic.

          • You can’t seriously believe the traffic tie-up is due primarily to store customers. The through traffic is very heavy at certain times and the traffic lights generated by the stores are overwhelmed by that traffic, creating gridlock. A bypass could make all the difference in the world, despite the stores. That is not to say I think the stores should ever have been allowed where they are. That was another failure of planning by a previous council of people with “vision”.

            Your previous comment about “minor” increase in traffic with the new initiative shows how little you care about that problem. Most of the city population is spread out because of the village concept. Most people will not cart for great distances, other than for events, because of the time involved. The idea was to have everything needed within the villages to limit the need for long distant drives by cart. So your desire is to now create a downtown where YOU can live and walk, but to heck with the more distant members of the community. Your vision would create a draw of more auto traffic to the area of the new retail and that will exacerbate an already untenable traffic problem. A city center is not consistent with the original design of PTC, especially now with the highway intersection traffic problem and limited space for construction. If you actually are an engineer I have difficulty understanding how we see things so differently.
            John