Traffic and the proposed Aberdeen Village/Partners II rezoning

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It was 1971 when I first came through Peachtree City looking for my first home. It was just a big field with a couple of developments. I incorrectly thought it would never amount to much, so I bought a home in Fairburn. Wow, that was a big mistake.

Peachtree City, where I have lived for over 7 years, is a fabulous place. It’s diverse and the people here are much friendlier than just about anywhere. I love living here … with one exception, the traffic along Highway 54. Especially at the Highway 74-54 intersection.

The only way to lessen the worsening Hwy 74-54 mess is to create alternate routes. And abolishing the four-way stops and speed bumps on MacDuff Parkway, a natural alternative route for those going towards Kedron or I-85, is something that can be accomplished with little effort. Either put in roundabouts or make them two way stop signs with no speed bumps.

Compare driving down McDuff to driving down Peachtree Parkway or Robinson Road. A comparable distance takes twice as long. Why? A ridiculous and completely unneeded series of speed bumps and four-way stop signs on MacDuff. Instead of using MacDuff as a bypass, most people just stay on Hwy. 54, worsening the traffic situation for the left-hand turn at 74.

Bringing Coweta, Fayette and PTC government officials together to jointly apply pressure on the state DOT to fund other alternate routes will be more difficult. But, as a former County Commission Chairman in another Georgia county, I know that’s the best way to get the funding.

On another traffic related issue, I have read in The Citizen about the proposed renovation of the Aberdeen Village Shopping Center off Highway 54. Some citizen comments were interesting … but missed the negative traffic impact of this proposal and the precedent that it sets.

The owner, Mr. Royal, wants to renovate his retail space. That’s a great idea. However, making new multi-family housing part of the renovation just adds additional traffic on Hwy. 54. Yes, he only proposes a dozen units to start. But that is only the beginning.

I was on the PTC Planning Commission a few years back when Mr. Royal proposed a major renovation of Aberdeen Village with over 200 housing units including a large brick building someone called the “Royal Hotel.” That proposal was rejected by the Planning Commission, by a vote of 5 to 0.

We, the citizens, should oppose this new proposal for several reasons:

1. While Mr. Royal is requesting to rezone the front portion of his property into an LUC, nothing actually stops him … or a future owner when he sells the property … from requesting the balance be rezoned as well. It would certainly be difficult for the city to decline that request once the front portion is approved. Here comes more housing and more traffic.

2. Developers want the owners of the nearby Willow Bend Shopping Center to sell. This is the “Blue Top” shopping center where the classic Bloom Coffee shop and Al’s Cleaners now reside. Developers want to tear it down and put up a center where you have retail on the bottom and apartments (or town homes) on top. How can PTC ever stop that once the Aberdeen/Royal area is approved?

3. This general area was also part of the out-of-touch Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) plan that our citizens were totally opposed to. Finally, the last City Council saw that opposition and passed on the LCI plan. As part of the LCI study, townhomes were also proposed on Commerce Drive, one development close to Hwy. 54 and several farther away back near the banks. Using the same rationale, if the Aberdeen Village rezoning (including multi-family housing) is approved, additional requests for more on Hwy. 54 will be received shortly thereafter.

Do not misunderstand me: while I was on the Planning Commission and afterwards townhomes were approved throughout the city to help address the growing need for housing. But they were approved in areas with minimal impact on Hwy. 54 or Hwy. 74 traffic. These housing units certainly seem reasonable.

The Aberdeen redevelopment project needs revision. Multifamily housing, which sets a bad precedent in the Hwy. 54 area, must be removed.

So, if you do not want additional traffic at the Hwy 54-74 intersection, come out to the City Council meeting. Make it clear that we do not want more housing in the center of our town.

Jack Bernard

Peachtree City, Ga.

[Bernard is a former member of the Peachtree City Planning Commission.]

7 COMMENTS

  1. Jack Bernard is right, mixed use is RARELY a “one and done” project, but rather the first domino of many.

    Mike King violated legal protocols by posting a public comment on here.

    Mike King is a Peachtree City Council member. As such, he is empowered to vote on this zoning change when it goes before the Peachtree City Council on June 16th. His comments give a clear message of how he plans to vote on a pending case. That’s a violation. The Public Hearing has not even been conducted!

    MIKE KING MUST RECUSE HIMSELF from voting on this when it goes before the City Council!

    On April 21, in a Special Called Meeting, the Peachtree City Attorney, Ted Meeker was quoted as saying, “Meeker cautioned the officials to remember that a public hearing was a quasi-judicial proceeding, and they were sitting like judges in the matter. He said they should not have contact or conversations with the applicant or with citizens.”

    Mike King’s posted comment in this public forum compromises his ability to be fair and impartial in making his decision at the June 16th Public Hearing. His only option is to recuse himself.

    If he fails to recuse himself, it opens the door for a lawsuit against the Mayor, all City Council Members, and every Peachtree City resident will end up paying.

    Mike King should have listened to all public comments at the Public Hearing, and then voiced his opinion as a City Councilman. After commenting here, he cannot vote on this case.

    Mike King keeps approving zoning changes, setback and easement variances, new developments, new construction and annexation requests. Yet he can’t find a workable plan with GADOT to fix the traffic issue.

    If we don’t agree with Mike King’s opinions and actions, we get to express our opinion in the voting booth in 2024.

    Owners and developers see big dollar signs if they can add condos above retail or office space. Their potential targets are every Village Center, plus all land along Huddleston and Dividend.

    And, why does the Peachtree City Planning Department embrace these projects with so much enthusiasm? When they evaluate traffic impact on a case by case basis it misrepresents the impact of the more 400 building permits for new residential housing in the last 12 months.

    Think about adding 400 houses between Governor’s Square, Petrol Point and along MacDuff. Those 400 houses will contribute a lot more than 6 cars in the morning and 6 cars at night. Why isn’t anyone from the Planning Department commenting on that impact on the traffic pattern?

    Developers will push until we “overbuild” Peachtree City because their goal is to make a lot of money . . . PERIOD.

    Few developers live here. We need to decide if we’re going to let them ruin Peachtree City as they get “richer”.

    This issue will come before the City Council when they hold a Public Hearing on June 16th at 6:30 pm. If you oppose “mixed use” construction in Peachtree City, please attend and speak at the hearing. We’ve seen many other less desirable Atlanta suburbs adopt mixed use and live to regret it. We don’t need to repeat their mistake.

    • You are ignorant about both city planning and the law.

      For city planning: what causes more traffic, do you think? Having to drive everywhere or putting uses together? Mixed-use areas consistently reduce traffic compared to the overabundance of single-family residential that we have in PTC.

      As for Mike King, you conveniently left out the other part of the quote: “Any contact with a party involved in the case could be used against them in court.” From the context, it is clear that your statement is in regards to this. If he reached out to someone who was a neighbor, that would be one thing, but merely responding to a public new article is not the grievous legal issue you claim it to be.

  2. Three points:

    1. I agree with the MacDuff Pkwy idea. Federal guidance is clear that stop signs should not be used as speed control devices, and that is exactly what is being done there. Leave the speed bumps or put in roundabouts to slow down the traffic but take out stop signs.

    2. Multiuse areas (residential + commercial) reduce traffic, they don’t increase it. The reason is fairly obvious: when you separate out the two types of buildings, people have to drive between them, which equals traffic. Put them together, and you open up the possibility of walking, cycling, or even golf carts.

    3. You seem a bit like a former mayoral candidate who said in the same breath that he wanted to address the housing unaffordability issue in PTC but would not support new apartments. In case you didn’t know, there ain’t any new land being created. PTC has only two options to provide affordable housing: grow out or grow up, and both seem to be politically toxic. I’m not saying that PTC has to do either, but if we choose not to grow, let’s be honest about what that means–and the implications that we aren’t going to do anything about the housing costs here.

  3. I see no issue with the Aberdeen Village/Partners II rezoning initiative. I see it as an updating renovation (redevelopment) of a small section within a village with off-highway access and similar in nature to remodeling and updating a house. I prefer to maintain our city’s overall population as it is, but such a small footprint is acceptable to me. I also prefer to see only a few of these types of mixed housing projects approved in the future, maybe one or two in each village. Keep things relative to PTC’s overall makeup and I believe we will not create any problems that cannot be corrected.

  4. Something is amiss here: The statement that Mr. Royal proposed a major renovation of the Aberdeen Shopping Center is completely false. In fact, Mr. Royal had absolutely nothing to do with the referenced proposal.
    Fact is, the Royal family have been in business since 1977 as the owners of Partners II Pizza. They have proven themselves a staple in the commercial sector of Peachtree City where many of our families have enjoyed a weekend pizza or attended various gatherings. Their charitable work, while largely going unnoticed, is commendable.
    Mr. Bernard is attempting to spread disinformation and create an atmosphere of angst much like the rancor of Washington, D.C. over a singular proposal for twelve condominiums that will have little to no effect on the area.
    If one is to create a future scenario about density why would one need to disparage a family or business by first claiming a complete falsehood?

  5. I disagree with Mr. Bernard’s premise that if you don’t want traffic to get worse, you need to stop this project. Traffic is already bad. Businesses are already located where these developments are proposed. Tearing down & improving the current sites will only improve these areas, which happen to be in the oldest part of PTC.

    Traffic is an issue, but it’s a separate issue. The current bad traffic flow through 74/54 isn’t a reason to prevent this project.