What secrets lie beneath Crosstown Road rezoning?

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On January 19 the Peachtree City Council will hold a Public Hearing regarding the rezoning of seven properties at the intersection of Highway 74 and Crosstown Parkway. The properties are zoned General Industrial (GI) or Light Industrial (LI).

Years ago, prior to commercial construction on these properties, they were granted “exceptions” to their zoning designation instead of changing the zoning. The exception allowed commercial construction with specific restrictions.

Peachtree City has proposed to rezone the seven properties at this intersection to General Commercial. No request has been made by any of the property owners.

The Planning Commission Public Hearing was held on December 12. The Peachtree City Director of Planning and Development, Robin Cailloux, did a presentation in which she stated they were just trying to “clean up” the zoning issue.

She added that all the properties are being used for Commercial businesses, except the old Car Wash, which has been closed for more than a year which invalidates the “exception” so any new use would need to conform to the Light Industrial zoning.

On December 15, Ms. Cailloux did a similar presentation for “information purposes” to the Peachtree City Council. It was not the Public Hearing, that will be held on Thursday, January 19 at 6:30 pm. You may want to attend.

Just before Christmas I submitted an Open Records Request for any and all written correspondence between the city and any property in the rezoning proposal. I received information on two properties, the Motel, and the Car Wash. There was nothing regarding the other 5 properties.

Is it as simple as just “cleaning up” the zoning? No. It’s not.

The motel at 976 Crosstown was purchased on August 9, 2022 by a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) of Francis Ford Coppola, named the All Movie Motel. They began submitting Building Permits in September to renovate and make major changes to the interior to include a “green room”, a screening room, a projection room and a non-commercial kitchen. Other parts of the Motel will be renovated and remodeled to provide Deluxe and Luxury rooms and suites for actors and movie production staff.

All Movie Motel

The “All Movie Motel” has already been approved for four building permits:

• on 10-03-2022 PCA22-034 for interior work $ 750,000 Phase 2

• on 10-03-2022 PCA22-037 for interior work $ 50,000 Phase 3

• on 10-21-2022 PCA22-044 for exterior work $ 250,000 Phase 4???

• on 11-03-2022PCA22-048 projection room $ 120,000 Phase 5

Total approved between Oct 3 and Nov 3: $ 1,170,000

You can read it yourself on their website:

https://peachtree-city.org/DocumentCenter/View/20230/October-2022

https://peachtree-city.org/DocumentCenter/View/21086/November-2022

The presentations, to the Planning Commission and the City Council on Dec 12 and 15, respectively, Ms. Cailloux clearly stated the “exception” established a cap for renovation at 50% of the depreciated value. For the motel, that would be $900,000.

But by November 3 the approved Peachtree City Building Permits totaled $1,170,000 which is $270,000 over the cap as outlined by Ms Cailloux.

Why keep it a secret?

Why was that not mentioned in either presentation?

When did Peachtree City staff realize this error? Was it discovered, as I suspect, between November 3, the date the last permit was approved that exceeded the renovation cap, and November 12 when they posted the signs for rezoning?

Who did they tell?

There was no discussion of building permits already approved at the Peachtree City Planning Commission Public Hearing on Dec 12. Nor was there any mention at the informational presentation to the Peachtree City Council on Dec 15. The citizens of Peachtree City haven’t been told so far.

Based on what they were told the Planning Commission did not object to the zoning proposal. But they were not given all the facts.

How could the Planning Commission make an informed decision, when they were not “informed”?

Who knew? and when?

Did they tell the Acting City Manager?

Did they tell the people in charge of the Motel LLC?

Have they told the new City Manager?

Why do I have to do hours of research to figure this out?

Is it an attempt by the Director of Planning and Development to rezone the entire corner as a smokescreen for the excess Building Permits they approved so she’d never have to admit their error?

Because to me this all looks like an elaborate “cover-up” for an error made by the Building Department.

By including all 7 properties on the corner in the rezoning, and claiming they are cleaning it up, maybe they thought no one would focus on their error.

What they have already approved, is in violation of current regulations.

In the Agenda Packet for the January 19 Peachtree City Council Public Hearing we finally see reference to the building permits already approved. It’s possible the building permits are being referenced now because the Director of Planning and Development had to provide those documents in response to my Open Records Request. She knows I have them.

You can read the zoning proposal on pages 71 to 75 at this link:

https://peachtree-city.org/DocumentCenter/View/21230/January-19-2023-City-Council-Packet-

Unfortunately, the dollar amounts for the building permits listed in the packet says they have approved $920,000 in value added work. But that is inconsistent with the actual building permits issued by the city. I have copies of the permits issued. They total $1,170,000, not $920,000. I gave you the links to the Building Permits portal. Check for yourself.

In a completely transparent situation I might support this rezoning.

I want openness. I want honesty. I want transparency.

I don’t want an elaborate scheme to lie by omission.

And I don’t want Peachtree City to only divulge all the data and information when someone like me takes the time to investigate. Any recommendation put forth by the Planning Commission was based on a lack of facts.

Over approving the Building Permits was an understandable human error.

Covering it up or failing to divulge it, is an intentional act of deception.

That is not acceptable to me.

If the Peachtree City Council approves this without further investigation and dealing with the lack of transparency, then it’s no better than the back-room discussions, deals and decisions some members of this Council seem to enjoy making.

I think that’s something that really aggravates the citizens of Peachtree City who elect the Mayor and City Council, pay their salary and trust them to do the right thing. We also pay the salary of every City Employee.

This is not being done correctly. So, I oppose it.

If you agree with me and want honesty and integrity from Peachtree City staff and our City Council, then you really should attend the Peachtree City Council Public Hearing on Thursday, January 19 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Will The Godfather pay  motel taxes?

Oh, and one more thing, I doubt that Francis Ford Coppola will ever hang a “vacancy” sign out front and function as a motel for the public. I suspect he will be using this as his personal Bed and Breakfast or short term rental for actors and production staff working on his movies. If accommodations are provided as a complimentary part of their compensation, we should not expect any revenue from a bed tax that regular motels and hotels pay.

[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.]

9 COMMENTS

  1. I attended the January 18 Council meeting online. None of the mystery or malfeasance that Suzanne Brown alleged ever came close to being exposed. This form of journalism seems to only serve to stir the local pot and create mistrust for no good reason. I suggest in the future that you carefully consider your subject matter.

    (And good luck with your poultry efforts)

    • Not sure if the poultry suggestion came up at the meeting (probably), but I did see her suggest this on another local social media site. It’s odd for someone (Ms. Brown) who apparently dislikes further build-out and development in PTC, is now advocating for a build-out of sorts for backyard chicken coups in residential areas. And of course, this new proposal (ordinance change) is overlooking the many nuisances that it will create and comes with it.

  2. We need a local press to hold elected officials and county and city managers accountable. The problem with both of the Browns is that they find malfeasance when there is none and sensationalize trivia.

    When you cry “Wolf” so often, no one bothers to bring their pitchforks when a real threat arises. Perhaps both Steve and Susan will be more judicious in their columns for the benefit of us all should a real issue of import be uncovered. The unveiling of this “secret” doesn’t even rise to the occasion of minimal interest.

  3. You occasionally have great insight and find real problems. This is a bit over the top. Thank God the Days Inn is gone. they are taking a slim and making it nice. Furthermore, who determined the depreciated value. As it has been renovated the value should increase. Lets not be enemies of progress.

  4. None of this has been a secret. As mentioned, all of this has been clearly and easily viewable on the City’s website. And the LLC behind the hotel has been a discussion item around various establishments at Trillith. The dollar-values and actions of some in the article certainly deserve answering but these questions have already been raised in certain conversations in PTC. Welcome to the party?