OPINION: Behind the TDK Boulevard vote by council


I discussed the first crisis from Peachtree City’s April 4 city council meeting in my last column (see: https://thecitizen.com/2024/04/09/what-3-council-members-ripped-away-from-citizens-last-week/). Today, let’s talk about the excruciating experience of having to force certain members of the current city council to vote against a dangerous transportation project.

Mayor Kim Learnard keeps pushing her agenda to blot out any opposition to her in public, leaving the city’s communication channels open only to her unobstructed views. She tag-teamed with Council Member Laura Johnson to turn the meeting into an unbelievable circus where the city attorney expressed “major concern,” one council member said we were being scammed, Johnson rattled on contradicting herself every four to five minutes, Council Member Frank Destadio cited one ordinance while voting for another, and ringmaster Learnard smiled ear-to-ear as she got her way on restricting opposing speech from council members and citizens.

Even former Council Member Phil Prebor chimed in saying Learnard’s move to quash the ability of council members and citizens to add an item to a council meeting agenda looked plain wrong. “Proposing to have 3 council members’ approval appears as if a decision has already been made (whether a decision has been made or not),” said Prebor.

Prebor cited “our reputation as a dysfunctional government entity,” and told the current council members that reputation “still needs improvement.” Suggesting that Learnard’s agenda item was not a good idea, he warned them in advance of the April 4 meeting to handle the matter differently to keep “the general public (including city manager candidates) from witnessing the embarrassing debate that is forthcoming.”

Prebor’s claim was prophetic. Neither Learnard nor Johnson heeded Prebor’s advice.

Pulling the rug from under the real estate developers?

Council Member Suzanne Brown (no relation) wisely got her resolution opposing the TDK Extension road project on the April 4 city council agenda, knowing that the three-member cabal of Learnard, Johnson, and Destadio would prevent the resolution from ever seeing the light of day after Learnard’s added censorship clause to ordinance # 1218 (C) was approved in the same meeting.

The TDK Extension proposal is bridging Peachtree City over Line Creek into Coweta County and was initially recommended by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce during the last years of the Lenox administration. At that time, the Chamber of Commerce was dominated by people connected to real estate development.

The road extension into Coweta was sold to the public as a “traffic reliever.” That was a huge lie. If you want a thorough summary of the TDK Extension disaster, check out the second half of my column from April 1 (see: https://thecitizen.com/2024/04/01/warning-subversion-of-public-access-to-the-agenda-for-the-peachtree-city-council-is-coming/). You will be amazed.

I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that Coweta County and the developers holding the land on the Coweta side are dying to get the extension road built for their own selfish purposes. Learnard knows this.

The project is a proven loser for Peachtree City and Fayette County on the basis on substantially increased traffic congestion, intense competition for our shopping centers, and significant losses in sales taxes.

“Can’t trust Kim Learnard…”

Learnard was furious that the resolution opposing the TDK Extension made the April 4 meeting agenda, publicly insulting Brown in the process. Destadio was also noticeably disturbed over the resolution hurling the rude comment, “Suzanne likes to make concerns out of nothing.” (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I8CPczZf2U).

Destadio angrily made the claim, “We [Peachtree City] own all the land on the other side [Coweta] of the water.” I cannot find anything to corroborate that statement. Some are accusing Destadio of attempting to mislead the public. Hopefully, the city will point us to the truth.

So, why were they so irritated? After all, every city council since my administration 20 years ago has denounced the project. Why would our newest city council not want to join consensus?

Of course, we all know about Learnard’s relationship with the founders of the developer-centric political action committee Plan for PTC. Plan for PTC has made their thoughts known on building more large-scale multi-family complexes and such.

Anyone who has ever researched the TDK Extension deception knows that massive developments are planned for just across the border in Coweta. The Plan for PTC PAC might tell you that the developers do not care which side of the border reaps the windfall for them. However, they must be able to flood the Coweta traffic from the huge developments into Peachtree City.

Learnard also has a history with the TDK Extension project. According to former Mayor Don Haddix, Learnard and another council member, without notice, went to the county commission chairman and “attempted to negotiate a disastrous resolution to the issue,” undercutting the rest of the city council members.

“I, with my staff met with the chairman and his staff to resolve the issue when notified what they were up to,” said Haddix. “You cannot trust her.”

I must agree with Haddix and the others who are very skeptical.

Many of us remember when then-Council Member Learnard attempted to subvert the Fayette County Board of Education to create a “college and career academy” that the Board roundly rejected. She personally set up community meetings despite the Board of Education’s objections and even created a limited liability corporation designed to force the issue.

Many wondered why a city council member kept trying to force a Board of Education issue. The speculation was that Learnard was after the six-figure salaried position as academy director.

Learnard’s position as the Director of the LINC, a non-profit, working in conjunction with the City of Newnan government that has funded a portion of her salary also makes many weary of where her allegiances lie.

Which Kim Learnard do you believe?

When Learnard was campaigning for mayor, concerned local voter Frank Humphrey asked on her page, “What about TDK extension from Coweta into our beloved PTC?”

Learnard gave Humphrey an emphatic response saying, “No thanks. The potential is huge for a massive residential development on the other side of the county line…3,200 residential units, with vehicles all pointed in our direction, ready to use Hwy 74 and Crosstown Road to meet their commuting needs” (the quote was not abbreviated, and the ellipsis was Learnard’s).

Once elected, however, in a now infamous email rant by Learnard made public by her friend Taylor Pessin on NextDoor.com, the mayor says, “Hey, I don’t even disagree with stopping the TDK connector extension – providing there is a better solution.”

So, is Learnard saying she is in favor of the TDK Extension if she cannot find another project she likes better? It sure looks that way. This is why we are always skeptical of anything she says.

At the meeting, Learnard immediately went on offense claiming, “the very fact that this [TDK Extension resolution] found its way to a City Council meeting agenda is an insult to a community partner [Coweta County].” Whose side is she on?

As Commissioner Clint Holland looks to create a coalition to discuss State Route 54 issues, it is certainly appropriate to take the TDK Extension off the table as a possible project to implement. Why would Learnard and Destadio want to leave it on the table? From Learnard’s perspective, would that not be lying to a “community partner?” Or, maybe, they want it constructed?

Of course, Learnard’s vacillation is even more reason to force the current city council to vote on a resolution in opposition.

After the dust settled, Holland, Brown, and Johnson voted in favor of the resolution. Learnard and Destadio snarled and voted in favor also. I am delighted this resolution made it to the agenda before Learnard’s new censorship rule could take effect.

Let the reader decide

I am posting the meeting transcript of Council Member Suzanne Brown’s reasoning for offering the resolution below.

Suzanne Brown: “First let me set the record straight, no one on the City Council suggested extending TDK Blvd., and neither did any city staff. That’s been kind of bantered about incorrectly, but the issue of extending TDK Blvd. across Line Creek and into Coweta County has been a hot topic in Peachtree City for more than 20 years.

“In my campaign, I promised to support the preservation of the special planned community we have and to resist urbanization. Nothing stinks of urbanization more than massive traffic running through peaceful streets.

“Extending TDK Blvd. into Coweta County would be a boon for them and a disaster for us. We cannot maintain our quality of life here if we throw our plan out the window to benefit another county.

“Prior administrations dating back to 2003 initially looked at the inter-county connection as being favorable for both counties, but that was when the Southeast portion of Coweta County was mostly agricultural, and any residential lots were multi-acre plots.

“Nearly 20 years ago, council members learned that within a few miles of TDK they [Coweta County] were planning to build just under 1 million square feet of commercial development plus several housing areas with about 3,950 housing units. As a result, Peachtree City council members abandoned the plan to extend TDK Blvd. into Coweta County. They realized it would do far more harm than good.

“The slight reduction in State Route 54 traffic would be dwarfed by the massive increase in traffic on both State Route 54 and TDK [Blvd.] in the years following the build out of the proposed commercial and residential development in Coweta County.

“By 2007, Mayor [Harold] Logsdon had reversed his stance and removed the TDK extension from our transportation plans after learning about how many vehicles would enter the city via the TDK extension. Although some of those vehicles were projected to turn North onto State Route 74, many would continue to Crosstown Drive past Braelinn Village [Shopping Center], across Peachtree Parkway, past Oak Grove Elementary School, and out of Peachtree City via Ebenezer Road.

“The negative impact of the volume of traffic traversing Peachtree City on city owned streets would be devastating for our repaving costs, but the commercial and residential development being proposed would have a massive negative impact on every level of commercial operation in Peachtree City. Many small businesses including restaurants and all types of small shops could be affected. Many Peachtree City businesses could suffer greatly from the development and it provides no new revenue for Peachtree City.

“The resulting negative impact from the loss of county sales tax revenue however would severely impact the Peachtree City budget and would likely result in significant large increases in the mileage rate to make up for the lost revenue. Thus, property taxes for residents as well as commercial and industrial property owners in Peachtree City would need to be raised.

“Peachtree City councils took action to block the extension of TDK and they asked Fayette County to remove it from their transportation plan. As recently as March 21st of 2019, the Peachtree City council unanimously approved a resolution in opposition to the TDK Blvd. extension. Five years ago that resolution was signed by Vanessa Fleisch, Kevin Madden, Terry Ernst, Phil Prebor and Mike King, none of whom are on the current council.

“It is essential to note that a resolution of one council does not bind the actions of another future council. Think presidential executive orders, one president can pass an executive order and it can be removed by the next. They are not binding, and that is the reason why we need a new resolution signed by this council.

“Mayor Learnard and Councilman Holland are working on behalf of the entire city council to establish a State Route 54 corridor study committee consisting of members representing Coweta County, Fayette County, Sharpsburg, Fayetteville, and Peachtree City.

“The State Route 54 road easement is wide enough to add another traffic lane in each direction from the 54-74 intersection to the West and into Coweta County near Fisher Rd. Adding another lane is feasible and should help our traffic volume. Actually, the volume would be the same. It would help the density [capacity]. It would also help if Coweta County improved Fischer Road from State Route 54-34 North to I-85 and got a dedicated exit-entrance to handle Coweta County commuters traveling to Atlanta.

“A proposal coming from five areas affected by the traffic should gain more attention than a proposal coming from just Peachtree City. That’s why we put together the attempt to have this multifaceted committee. But the same traffic study could also open the door for Coweta County to press for TDK Blvd. to be extended. For me, that is not an option that I would ever vote for, and that is why I want this council to unanimously pass this resolution that we oppose the extension of TDK Blvd. into Coweta County.

“Any county or municipal partners who choose to work with us must understand that extending TDK into Coweta County is not an option that is on the table. And quite honestly, anyone on this council who wants the TDK Blvd. extension to remain as an option is not working for what is best for Peachtree City and our citizens. By taking it out of the discussion we can work to solve the State Route 54 traffic issues by widening State Route 54.

“I promise to look at long range impacts. I refuse to work towards solving one problem and then causing another in the process.”

There are many indicators that officials from Coweta County have not abandoned their hope to get TDK Blvd. extended, so they can build massive commercial and residential developments on thousands of acres on the edge of Peachtree City.

Mayor Leonard and Clinton Holland met with John Reidelbach, chairman of the Coweta County Commissioners. He said something to the effect of “oh, and if you wanna extend TDK Blvd. we’re open to it.”

We simply cannot open up TDK Blvd. into Coweta County, and if signing this resolution means Coweta County will refuse to work with us, then so be it. We can do it without them. Extending TDK is not negotiable.

I applaud Council Member Brown for taking a stand and speaking in terms that many long-time Peachtree City residents will appreciate. Don’t kill the golden goose!

[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. As we have seen Coweta County is not aligned to the interests of PTC or Fayette County. TDK would open the floodgates of more development on the Coweta side with no benefits and disadvantages to the people of Fayette County. Living in Brooks I have seen what Coweta Construction causes in traffic and sooner or later someone is going to be killed at the Connector or Rising Starr intersections.

  2. Kudos to Holland, Brown, and Johnson! I did not vote for her, but I have to admit that Suzanne Brown represented the PTC citizens well on this issue. If the future developers are so concerned with traffic on the Coweta side of the border, then look to Fisher Rd and build a bypass around PTC; don’t solve your problems by making ours worse.

  3. Long Time Resident, did you read the article? Steve Brown wrote a detailed account on TDK. He referred to it in his article. You can pull up Steve’s past articles and connect the dots yourself. Good thing we have someone who is so passionate about preserving PTC. Imagine not knowing half of the things we know that go on? Here you go:

    “The road extension into Coweta was sold to the public as a “traffic reliever.” That was a huge lie. If you want a thorough summary of the TDK Extension disaster, check out the second half of my column from April 1 (see: https://thecitizen.com/2024/04/01/warning-subversion-of-public-access-to-the-agenda-for-the-peachtree-city-council-is-coming/). You will be amazed.”

    • My proposal put the nail in the TDK extension coffin, but Learnard ignores the facts and pushes.

      Approval requires PTC, Fayette, Coweta, Mormon Church, Georgia and federal approval.

      That would be a problem for PTC, Fayette, Georgia, the feds, the airport and others.

  4. As stated before, Per my approved proposal on TDK, it takes more than a vote from council to allow.

    It requires approval by council, the County, Georgia, Coweta and the Mormon church, a.k.a. the developer, who owns property in Coweta and Peachtree City.