OPINION — Sneaking in 5-story apartment complex across from McIntosh High School

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OPINION — How the Peachtree City Planning Director and Planning Commission were out-maneuvered by a former city attorney — 

An hour into the December 12 Peachtree City Planning Commission meeting we began the final agenda item: PW12-22-02 – Discussion about senior housing in Peachtree City and potential senior housing project at intersection of Walt Banks Road and Lexington Circle.

No explanation was included, just that. We were in the dark, so were the Commissioners. In retrospect, it appears someone was trying to take advantage of the process in order to help developers build more apartment complexes in Peachtree City.

Robin Cailloux, the Planning and Development Director, began the “discussion.” She explained the property being “discussed” is a vacant 4.5-acre parcel across Walt Banks Road from McIntosh High School, and immediately behind Sprouts Food Market.

She outlined a plan to put apartments for seniors on that property. There isn’t an official proposal because the property is currently zoned Limited Use Commercial (LUC), so it would need a zoning change to build an apartment building.

Ms. Cailloux tried to claim we are experiencing the “Silver Tsunami” with an increasing number of senior citizens. But I don’t agree. Some seniors choose to downsize their homes. Many combine that with moving closer to their children and grandchildren, which often takes them away from Peachtree City.

Ms. Cailloux showed a slide claiming “Senior apartments” have a higher rate of EMS calls, but lower impact on traffic and schools than apartments with no age restriction. Of course, she probably left off the best statistics for the impact of owner-occupied, single-family residential housing, because it doesn’t suit her narrative.

She said Cobb County has a “Multi-Family Senior Housing Ordinance” that’s been court tested. Cobb County is too urbanized so I don’t care what Cobb County did.

Then, Attorney Richard Lindsey (a former Peachtree City attorney) proceeded to show a video and power point presentation, to explain what they want to build.

But it’s not a proposal, it’s a discussion. Why did it feel like a proposal presentation?

The not-actually-proposed structure would have partially underground parking with four floors of apartments above. A total of 154 apartments were discussed though not officially proposed. Yet the video looked like a proposal.

Twenty minutes into the discussion, Mike Link, the Chairman, stopped Mr. Lindsey. He pointed out this wasn’t supposed to be a specific proposal, but rather a discussion whether a Senior Housing Ordinance would be of any benefit to the city.

Mr. Link then invited citizens to make comments in favor of the concept of Senior Apartments. No one spoke in favor of the proposal, I mean, the discussion.

People were permitted to make comments in opposition of the concept of Senior Apartments. Four people spoke in opposition.

The first speaker lives adjacent to the proposed site. She pointed out the distinction between Peachtree City versus Cobb County which has a Senior Housing Ordinance, and that we are not like Cobb County. She thinks a study should be done to see if an ordinance is even needed.

The second speaker lives adjacent to the proposed site. He’s new to Peachtree City, but interested in learning what they plan for his back yard.

I voiced total opposition to everything being discussed. We don’t need apartments, condos, townhouses, or mixed use, especially at this location. Traffic from McIntosh and the new Booth school is already a mess. Why would we add 154 apartments to feed more traffic onto Highway 54? I completely oppose the “proposal” being paraded as a “discussion,” and the ordinance.

If built, it would make the owner, developer and construction company rich, and leave us to deal with the traffic. And in twenty years, we’ll have another poorly maintained apartment building that’s under-occupied and they’ll be begging to remove the age restriction because of high vacancy rates.

The fourth speaker opposes any building that’s a four-story building on top of hidden ground level parking. She compared it to the new apartments in Fayetteville. I’ve seen them, I call them “The Projects.”

Commissioners then spoke and asked questions. Their overall assessment was that City Council should conduct some studies and then make a decision whether a Senior Apartment Ordinance is needed.

So, why do I think Planning and Development Director Cailloux, and Planning Commissioners were “out-maneuvered” by a former City Attorney? Mr. Lindsey specializes in Municipal Law. He should know the process and procedures. Why didn’t he submit a construction proposal with a zoning change request on behalf of the property owner? Why choose to go around the procedures?

Did he convince the Planning and Development Director to put the discussion on the agenda so he could help start the process to put a Senior Apartment Ordinance in place? If they put a Senior Apartment Ordinance in place, will they identify areas where Senior Apartments would be permitted? That way everyone could avoid those pesky Public Hearings where we get to object?

Instead, Rick Lindsey got a hearing with a handful of citizens. Ms. Cailloux scheduled it for him. He didn’t submit a proposal, post signs, or wait 30 days for a public hearing. He didn’t need to suffer through an entire room full of angry Peachtree City citizens who were “out for blood” because no matter how many times they tell their City Council that they oppose apartments, condos, townhouses, mixed-use, the LCI, or building the Great Wolf Lodge, the Planning and Development Director and developers keep trying to urbanize our city. And when proposals get rejected, they can’t be resubmitted for 180 days.

She may not realize how well he played her. She set it up and handed him the microphone. He showed a video and slides and was well along in his discussion when he was stopped. When Mike Link permitted a handful of citizens in attendance to speak, he learned that public sentiment was not favorable.

If Planning Director Cailloux claims he didn’t manipulate her, then what did she get out of this stunt? Why does it appear the city’s planning director wants this Senior Apartment Ordinance so much? Does it streamline the process for developers to build more apartments by claiming they are for seniors?

It seems Rick Lindsey out-maneuvered them. He knows the rules and how to skirt them. I bet he’s had enough discussions and interactions with our Planning and Development Director to know she seems totally committed to urbanization of Peachtree City.

Even a person without sight could have seen that.

If we’re going to preserve our city, then we need a Planning Director who is committed to preserving our city, not urbanizing it. She has got to go.

If you’d like to watch the Planning Commission meeting, click on the video below and go to the 59:00 mark to see the entire exchange. (https://vimeo.com/channels/peachtreecity/767106722)

Suzanne Brown

Peachtree City, Ga.

[Suzanne Brown is retired after 21 years in federal law enforcement, has a BS from Cornell and an MS from Colorado State, and has lived in Peachtree City for 3 years. She often speaks at local government meetings during public comment time, pointing out various laws and regulations that need to be followed to preserve our communities, and in support of a patriotic agenda.]

18 COMMENTS

  1. this isn’t the only news of great concern to Fayette county citizens… have a look at the DATA CENTER PLANS THAT FAYETTE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS APPROVED VERY QUIETLY LAST YEAR!

    THEY ALL NEED TO GO AND IT WOULDN’T HURT FOR ALL OF US TO STAY SHOWING UP TO ALL THESE MEETINGS AND VOICING OUR DISCONTENTS CONCERNING THESE DECISIONS… THEY ARE NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF ANY CITIZEN IF THIS COUNTY!!!

  2. Thanks Suzanne for this write-up. Cailloux’s brazenness is frankly extremely offensive speaking as someone who loves this city and it’s wonderful concept. Going forward we need to elect a mayor who will promise to no longer employ Cailloux and hire someone who will represent the citizens best interests. In the meantime we have to continue to make it clear to this council that we will not tolerate their underhandedness and that apartments or any other fancy words for them are absolutely off limits.

  3. Interesting that 3 or more of the comments here appear to be written by the same individual using different pseudonyms. The pace, grammar, and structure of the comments is identical.

    That being said – I agree with the sentiment – our planning director seems h*llbent on urbanizing and packing as much into our city as she can. She’s not in line with what the majority of the citizens want and seems to have her own agenda. I’m thankful that Mike Lind stopped the charade and called both her and Lindsey out. This wasn’t a discussion, this was a full-blown presentation where tens of thousands of dollars had already been spent to create and promote not a concept, but a specific project. Cailloux has lost all credibility and now her every move needs to be scrutinized more than ever. Maybe it’s time the silent majority starts speaking out, before our city is morphed into something we don’t want or recognize. It’s already happening in Fayette County and Fayetteville…….time to hold the line before we lose our county and have to all move to Pike.

  4. Something that I don’t understand is if this people from PTC government are not happy with our beloved city , why they doesn’t move out to a place they like ??? because something is clear here, vast majority of the PTC residents doesn’t want any changes like apartments, condos, mixed, etc, so an small portion of the PTC residents and the government members which most of them got elected with lying to the peoples

  5. Does anyone know what steps need to be taken to get her out? Do citizens have a say in such matters? I have attended several meetings in the 4 years I have been here, and from those I have spoken with, no one agrees with anything that she has done. We absolutely need to get someone in that position who cares about preserving what we have left of our city!

    • I personally do not believe terminating Ms. Cailloux’s employment is in the City’s best interest. However, to answer your question, see the City’s Personnel Policy Manual, September 2, 2021. Your rationale, if I’m reading correctly between the lines will probably fall under:

      “Chapter III. EMPLOYEE RELATIONS

      B. STANDARDS OF CONDUCT

      Section 4: Competence, Judgment, & Supervision

      (a) Competence

      An employee shall maintain sufficient qualifications and competence to properly
      perform the assigned duties and responsibilities of the position. The employee’s
      efforts shall be directed and coordinated in a manner that demonstrates and
      maintains the highest standards of efficiency in carrying out the functions and
      objectives of the City. Failure to do work at an acceptable level of competence as
      determined by the applicable supervisor may be grounds for disciplinary action, up
      to and including termination.

      (b) Judgment

      An employee shall exercise sound judgment relevant to the conduct and
      performance of duty.”

      Again, I am not a proponent of persuing the terminatiion Ms. Cailloux’s employment.

  6. Thank you Suzanne for bringing this to the attention of more PTC Citizens, the majority of whom do NOT want more condos, apartments or further urbanization of our already congested City. When will the Council and Mayor finally realize this.

  7. Thank you Suzanne! You’re always looking out for 99% of PTC residents, the majority are homeowners with an investment in this community. Cailloux has, since day 1, pushed HER socialist agenda. Cailloux proves over and over again that she doesn’t care what we think, it’s what she wants that is best for us. I’ve had enough of her and her assault on everything PTC is.

    • You realize Callioux is in the pocket of the developers right? This is quite literally the opposite of socialist, it’s greedy capitalists trying to ruin our city with more apartments. I agree she needs to go, but lets understand this is about greed, not some political ideology.

  8. Shame on Rick Lindsey and Robin Cailloux for the underhanded way this was presented and the attempt to bypass a full public hearing on this proposal. They both know better than this, and ethically, should put the welfare of Peachtree Citizens ahead of this cheap ploy. More to come, but the citizens of Peachtree City had better pay attention before they wake up one day to find this thing halfway under construction and there be no options left for them after the scheming of lawyers and self-serving officials. Is it me or does this just smell really bad from start to finish?