Multi-family housing and traffic

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I’m a socially liberal, fiscally conservative activist who was chairman of a county commission in another Georgia county. Among other things, I was also the chair of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia Tax Committee. 

Steve Brown and I do not agree on many things, particularly social issues. However, he is a very bright man and occasionally he hits the nail on the head. In that vein, his recent letter on multi-family housing makes several good points. 

Specifically, PTC residents rejected the so-called Livable Center Initiative (LCI) pushed on us by ARC and the last mayor. The citizens here do not want urbanization, doing away with the village concept and creating a traffic snarled city center near the already snarled 54-74 intersection.

The LCI would have helped real estate agents and developers, big-time, but not us. We like PTC the way it is, a pleasant bubble. Develop each village a bit so we have more Line Creek Brewery type establishments, but otherwise pretty much leave us alone. 

Multi-housing developments are only acceptable if they are planned and managed correctly. First, each unit must bring in sufficient tax revenues such that it will be a positive for existing taxpayers (i.e., high enough taxes to offset services provided). When I was on the PTC Planning Commission years ago, that meant somewhere in the $325,000 range and up (per Robin Cailloux, PTC Planning Director). I’m sure that if Robin ran the numbers now, it would be much higher. 

Secondly, we must consider quality of life factors for existing residents. Specifically, will adding multi-family housing have a negative impact on traffic patterns? Shouldn’t we address that elephant in the room before adding more conjestion? 

For my part, I would like to see a much greater emphasis on long-term traffic planning. Having lived all over the nation, the two things that can quickly ruin a community’s quality of life are high crime rates and heavy traffic. We are doing exceptionally well on the first item. But not so good on the other. 

PTC is a planned community. As a former top-level government and corporate planner, I can guarantee you everything is not predictable. And mistakes are always made but must be corrected. 

One major PTC mistake is that traffic was not routed around the city, but rather through it. Thus, we have the horrendous snarl at the Highway 54-74 intersection. The biggest problem is that past PTC politicians have avoided dealing with this perennial issue.  

My feeling is that we have a “new sheriff in town.” And that our new Mayor and City Council will take the bull by the horns and actually do something about our biggest problem-traffic. That “something” revolves around bringing Coweta and Fayette Counties into the picture.

All three political entities (and their state Senators and Representatives) must go together to the Commissioner for the State Department of Transportation. They must obtain funding for alternate routes around PTC for drivers coming from Newnan and Fayetteville.  

That’s the only way the money will be secured. It’s called raw politics…and it works. 

Jack Bernard

Peachtree City, Ga.

4 COMMENTS

  1. With the recent acquisition of land in Coweta County by developers to build 1000+ new homes just across the county line, traffic in 54/74 will only grow worse. There will be pressure to get better connectivity between Coweta and Fayette counties, like TDK Boulevard.

  2. I definitely agree with Jack’s analysis and recommendations in this article.And I hope our current Mayor and Council. No new multi family development and a concentration on alleviating our traffic problems.