Will Fayetteville Council listen to their Planning Commission and their citizens?


Last Tuesday, a meeting room full of very concerned Fayetteville citizens joined forces with the Fayetteville Planning and Zoning Commission to condemn yet another mega-multi-family scheme thrust upon them by willing members of the Fayetteville City Council.

Thanks to the public alarm sounding in The Citizen, a fed-up throng besieged the castle at City Hall and demanded that the madness stop, finally, once and for all (see: https://thecitizen.com/2023/12/18/fayetteville-eyes-rezoning-for-massive-condo-complex-at-hwy-54-gingercake/). A perfect Christmas present from the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The “Fayetteville Life” page on Facebook was the only Fayetteville-specific page to allow the warning of the rezoning on their feed. The larger Fayetteville pages refused to allow the heads-up on the pending vote of the Planning and Zoning Commission.

It is highly recommended that citizens of Fayetteville like the “Fayetteville Life” and the countywide “Fayette County GA Community Discussion” Facebook pages as well as www.thecitizen.com to learn about serious real estate development issues that impact your quality of life.

Now paying attention

Anxious government officials and the gluttonous developer reworked their appeal to the masses regarding their wanting to rezone a large property from Neighborhood Commercial to Residential

Townhouse Condominium (see: https://www.fayetteville-ga.gov/396/Planning-Zoning-Commission-Agendas and select “12/19/23 Packet”).

The enhanced presentation from the developer amounted to a horrific duplex city, including a site plan full of one, two, and three-bedroom duplexes, literally built on top of one another. Even worse, to enable the pathetic proposal the greedy developer wanted the city to abandon its building setback requirements as part of the deal.

Keep in mind that a hideous proposal like this one does not make it to the Planning and Zoning Commission unless there is some preliminary approval from some of the council members behind the scenes. The developer has to expend significant money on engineering, architects, and retainers to hold the real estate pending rezoning approval before making a presentation to the commission and city council.

It is refreshing to finally see a meeting room packed with citizens of Fayetteville revolting against the city council’s massive buildup of multi-family housing construction. Traffic, the future impact on local schools, and derogation of the built environment are legitimate concerns. Likewise, the overbuilding of multi-family housing in our market will cause severe problems and destabilize what has traditionally been a moderately stable sector.

It’s not over

After some heated comments from an angry constituency, the wise Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously denied the request to amend the Comprehensive Plan and the Future Land Use Map to accommodate more unreasonable multi-family projects.

Please keep in mind that the commission only provides recommendations to the mayor and city council on all requests for annexation, rezoning, and amendments to the Future Land Use Map. The developer can still appeal the denial to the city council.

Also, keep in mind that the current city council is foolish enough to override the commission’s denial. The citizens should attend the city council meeting when the outlandish proposal is reintroduced.

There are no excuses

An elected official who blames the planning staff for outrageous development proposals after he/she gave the green light to proceed is an apostate, without principle, and unfit for elected office.

Every elected official must do the research, understand the market, and seek out opposing views from the constituency. Relying solely upon planning staff’s bias for government decisions is a copout.

Fortunately, the rogue city council in Peachtree City has been held at bay and the citizens elected a new majority. Most of the absurd proposals were met with stiff opposition and rebuffed.

On the other hand, Fayetteville’s city council was allowed to run recklessly on high-density developments with no regard to traffic congestion, overdevelopment in the multi-family residential sector, and future issues with the school districts.

It’s common sense that when the multi-family residential sector goes into a down cycle (and it always happens), rents drop to counter issues with occupancy and cash flow. Under these circumstances, a significant proportion of the population becomes much more transient, attracting temporary residents who strictly rent-shop and are less civic-minded.

The December 20, 2023 edition of the Wall Street Journal contained articles on the warehouse building “boom” collapsing (“Warehouse Building Boom In the U.S. Looks Finished”) and the office market being “hammered by falling demand and high-interest rates” (“No Relief Seen for Troubled Office Market”). Cycles abound in commercial real estate.

In many major markets, failing office buildings are being converted into residential apartments, thus, causing more over-capacity pressure on the multi-family residential markets.

Elected officials should know how to evaluate our market in all sectors and determine appropriate levels of development in each sector to not leave our community overexposed.

Reckless elected officials commit to knee-jerk reactions, responding to cries of “NIMBYism” from the real estate developers asking the local government to disembowel the city’s land plans and harm existing nearby neighborhoods. They follow urban development trends without respect for the characteristics of their market.

Reckless elected officials do not care about the future consequences of their decisions. They have no guiding principles on land use and transportation which generally leads to failure and irate citizens.

Ignorance of the process is no excuse. No elected official gets a “pass” for generating problems in the community.

[Brown is a former mayor of Peachtree City and served two terms on the Fayette County Board of Commissioners. You can read all his columns by clicking on his photo below.]


  1. FYI:
    The Planning and Zoning meeting that was scheduled for this past Tuesday, that would address the huge apartments development at Gingercake and 54, will now address the issue on February 27th!!!
    Please come out and fight for your community.

  2. Spyglass, “held at bay” means the projects were not approved. If you go back and read the column Steve Brown says the City Council was pressured into denying those “absurd proposals.” Obviously, that means they were not approved thankfully because local residents came out in protest.

  3. When will enough be enough? The city planner must be a post LSD user. How many ice cream,tire and oil change shops do we need? You tear down a well established sports store for yet another tire shop. It was ridiculous the number of drug stores in a 3 mile radius. Now you want to load us with cheaply made housing, for whose profit? Townhouses in a parking lot overlooking the back of stores. A catastrophe on the corner of Tyrone Rd and 54. A huge cement block of mess for 100 jobs, most probably not for Fayetteville citizens. Let’s not mention the 25 million mausoleum Town Hall with the playground beer garden. All this shows the citizens is that Fayetteville City Council and Mayor Johnson do not represent citizens of Fayetteville, but only developers and themselves. Why aren’t these type of businesses being put up in Trilith? I think we all know why. This Council does not represent Fayetteville citizens, is leading Fayetteville to it’s demise. Might as well change the name to Fayettdale and get ready for the MARTA buses, because that is next with this group. Fayetteville citizens wake up.

  4. “Fortunately, the rogue city council in Peachtree City has been held at bay and the citizens elected a new majority. Most of the absurd proposals were met with stiff opposition and rebuffed.”

    I’m confused, point me in the direction of all the approved multi family projects in PTC under the last 8 years…your bluster gets old on this topic.