Council majority still pushing population density through new comprehensive plan for Peachtree City

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The current mayor and council in Peachtree City are going up in smoke and they seem intent on pouring gasoline on the blaze. The new LCI 2.0 being sneaked through the new update of our Comprehensive Plan is a dirty trick played behind the backs of the citizenry.

The Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) proposals issued by the Fleisch Administration in the second half of 2021 were horrible and received overwhelming criticism from the citizens.

They had the audacity to propose tearing down beautiful public parks and sports facilities and replacing them with apartment buildings. They cared nothing about creating even more traffic congestion through ultra-dense development while totally ignoring current congestion problems.

The worst part is both the city council and the city planning department lying to the citizens about the LCI. Planning Director Robin Cailloux intentionally told the citizens in a public meeting there was no longer any chance of seeing land zoned for multifamily residential housing, and the mayor and council abolished the city’s long standing moratorium on multifamily residential rezonings.

That lie surfaced at the exact same time the city’s yet unpublished LCI plan contained thousands of newly planned multifamily units.

Why is that planner still working for Peachtree City? She shows complete disdain for our award-winning village planning concept and she wants to urbanize every green space we have remaining.

To review the disaster from the previous LCI plan, click here.

After the LCI plan crashed and burned in 2021, Current Mayor Kim Learnard and Council Members Mike King and Phil Prebor are now working on an end-around of sneaking the multifamily housing units in piecemeal and altering zoning through the Comprehensive Plan review process.

Three members of the city council recently approved 36 multifamily units and are poised to annex the land behind that facility and build even more such units. Council Members Frank Destadio and Gretchen Caola voted against the multifamily proposal.

Former council members Terry Ernst and Kevin Madden lost reelection bids for not respecting the wishes of the constituents, but the rest of the council did not heed the message.

This new effort we refer to as “LCI 2.0” because it perpetuates the sneaky tactics they were attempting to achieve with the same goals as the previous LCI is promoting multifamily residential buildings four stories high and up as in-fill and site redevelopment projects. This is patterned off of more dense urban development, the kind we chose not to reside in when we moved to Peachtree City.

If you are new to Peachtree City and Fayette County, here is a little history on the subject.

As Peachtree City grew in population, all sorts of real estate developers came to town to cash in on our success. They did not care about the community nor the well-being of the citizens, just made a nice profit and moved on.

Trailers began accumulating in large numbers behind local schools and keeping pace with municipal infrastructure was difficult as best. The well-educated citizens of Peachtree City began to rebel against the proposed plans for even more dense types of residential development.

We were paying tens-and-tens of millions of dollars for school expansions and new schools through additional bonds and sales taxes.

As the Bob Lenox Administration approved one new apartment complex after another, the citizens complained about school overcrowding and increased traffic congestion and other issues. We moved to Peachtree City to escape dense urban living.

The public objections became so loud that the Lenox Administration created a moratorium on rezoning to or construction of multifamily developments. The moratorium stood for over 20 years, renewed annually, as the city government attempted to cope with infrastructure issues and service delivery.

The focus started to revolve around the will of the citizens. Our city was so specific on our desire to maintain our exceptional quality of life that the public sentiment was actually codified into our city ordinances.

Article 3 in our ordinances says, “The purpose of this ordinance is to promote the health, safety, convenience, order, prosperity and general welfare of the present and future inhabitants of the city; and to assure the development of the city in accordance with the land use and thoroughfare plan as adopted, and as amended from time to time; to protect the population from the danger and inconvenience of traffic congestion; to prevent overcrowding of the land and the undue concentration of population; to facilitate the adequate provision of transportation, water, sewage, schools, recreation and other public requirements; to regulate with reasonable consideration the character of existing and future uses of the land in order to promote desirable living conditions and neighborhood stability, protect property against blight and depreciation, secure economy in governmental expenditures, and protect against floods and other natural hazards” (boldface added for emphasis).

The previous city council under Mayor Vanessa Fleisch ushered in the era of elected government elitism, favoring real estate developers over the citizenry, extinguishing public input, endangering established subdivisions, and not giving a darn about what problems their actions would cause for the city’s future.

The Citizen ran an 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 (Fleisch, King, Prebor, Madden and Ernst) literally tried to convince the citizens that the land plans that have made us one of the top ranked cities in Georgia on all positive metrics from the late 1980s to the present are a failure (even though you can sell a home in about 48 hours because the demand is so high).

They pushed for several destabilizing projects such as the Great Wolf Lodge to be built on top of an adjacent subdivision and 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.

They attempted to force an urban downtown building project near City Hall that brought on citizen fury and ended with a thud.

The Fleisch Administration neutered the Planning Commission as the citizen voice on planning issues by removing any authority they had.

They also attempted to pass an agenda item to allow the city council to use taxpayer dollars to sue citizens who criticized their performance.

Each time, the citizens protested loudly and pushed the city council back. You would think the constant drubbing from the citizens would have the holdovers King and Prebor changing direction, but they are content to follow the real estate developers over the taxpaying citizens.

So here is what we should reasonably demand from our elected officials in Peachtree City. It’s not difficult and costs nothing.

(1) Approve a resolution that guarantees the city council will not sell our protected greenspaces, parks and recreation venues to developers to build thousands of apartment units;

(2) Restore the Planning Commission’s authority, including public hearings and a formal vote on proposals;

(3) Do not support any development proposals that cause harm to any of our subdivisions;

(4) Stop converting General Industrial and Office/Institutional zoned land to residential and secure future high-paying jobs;

(5) Create meaningful citizen input at all public government meetings and stop holding a timer and forcing people to speak their comments in 2-3 minutes;

(7) Offer an official apology and cease conducting official business in a backroom outside of a public meeting; there was no vote on installing path speed humps nor removing them;

(8) Reinstate the moratorium on multi-family housing and dispose of the zoning changes in the comprehensive plan that allow for them;

(9) Immediately withdraw any changes to our official plans now pending DCA approval and ordinances that allow for multi-story mixed-use development with multifamily residential and;

(10) Humble yourselves, respect the taxpaying citizens, show some leadership, do not lie and do not destroy our successful award-winning community concept that attracted all of us to live in Peachtree City.

[Brown is a former mayor of Peachtree City and served two terms on the Fayette County Board of Commissioners.]

13 COMMENTS

  1. Steve Brown does have something to do. He is the voice of the silent majority.
    If you agree with Steve, please read and sign the petition I have on change.org
    Here is the link: https://www.change.org/p/peachtree-city-ga-no-apartments-condos-or-townhouses-in-village-centers?recruiter=1272670631&recruited_by_id=699b31b0-1114-11ed-8bca-c97796ef6954

    The people who keep referring to some original Peachtree City plans need to focus on why and how a few of the original things were abandoned in the interest of preserving greenspace, preventing urbainization and overcrowding, and the benefits of the building and maintaining the Village Center concept.
    Steve is spot on about how the City Planner has orchestrated her “progressive development agenda” into the Comprehensive Plan through the use of her biased survey and her biased analysis of the survey data. Neither the Revision Committee nor the City Council have voted to approve the draft that was sent forward. It reflects “the City Planner’s opinion” not the opinion of the citizens of Peachtree City. I agree that she needs to take her progressive urbanization development plan back to Atlanta. We don’t want or need her or her plan here.

    PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION ! IF I GET ENOUGH SIGNATURES I WILL PRESENT IT TO THE CITY COUNCIL AS PROOF THAT WE DIDN’T WANT THE LCI AND WE DON’T WANT MIXED USE.

  2. They are coming again with LCI 😡, this new administration is a Trojan horse, they said something on campaign and they are doing totally different not respecting what citizens ask to do, they don’t care our opinion, they only care 💵💵💵💸💸💸 PLEASE STOP !!! they want to shut off our mouth with a dummy street sing unenforceable that not one see ( Planterra subdivision ), I want to know how much cost to us that 🤦🏻‍♂️. Like the editor said the previous administration is out the office, this current people are doing everything to follow the same way, be alert, is OUR city in risk, not their city, they are in office for OUR best interest, not for THEIR best interest, WE paid their salaries, remember this basic rule

    • also I have a question out of LCI, because people celebrate bumps removal from our golf cart path, how much it cost to us to install and now to remove it ?? someone need to be accountable for that, it is sing of bad administration,

      • It is very difficult, if not impossible, to stop elected officials who just want to do the wrong thing, are just not interested in following the wishes of their constituents. That is where we are at in PTC.

  3. Peachtree City was originally planned to have more than 2x the current population (there’s articles, go look them up). At least be honest with people Steve that what you’re shilling is not the original plan, but more a manipulation to fit what you think is correct.