Good development thwarted by ‘not in my backyard’ mentality
Peachtree City has screwed up the development of the “Line Creek” site, south of Ga. Highway 54, over and over again.
It’s cost us hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of dollars in lost revenue and staff time. It’s given us a great honkin’ gas station and likely yet another fast food place. And we’re about to screw it up, again.
Once again, the developer is offering a cohesive, comprehensive site plan that is in the spirit of Peachtree City, with good aesthetics; high-end architecture, lighting, and landscaping; golf cart paths and connectivity; and minimum negative traffic impact.
The development would relieve the city of responsibility to maintain Line Creek Drive south of Hwy. 54. The site plan is optimized with respect to the Line Creek Nature Area and will reduce the cost for the Line Creek dam and pond. The development likely would have brought in a nationally-known tenant to an anchor store.
Once again, however, it appears that this vision will be destroyed by people blinded with a “not in my backyard” mentality. There is opposition to adding a traffic light on Hwy. 54; that traffic light has been in planning documents for more than 12 years. There is opposition to adding a cut-through to Planterra Way. The cut-through has been in planning documents for more than 12 years. The site has been zoned commercial since the 1970s.
It’s time for the people in Planterra and associated subdivisions to suck it up, and live with it. If you didn’t do due diligence before you bought; if you believed a real estate agent, developer, or politician who said that the site could never be developed because of the terrain and rocks; it’s your fault.
You’re like the person who buys a house near a railroad or an airport because it’s cheap, and then complains about the train and plane noise.
There will be commercial development. The only question is, “What kind of commercial development?” If things continue as it appears to me they will, there won’t be coordinated development of this site. Parcels will be sold off piecemeal (the process has already started). The city will have to maintain Line Creek Drive south of Hwy. 54 in the face of increased traffic.
And rather than a quality tenant, we will more likely end up with an assortment of nail salons, tanning emporia, title pawn stores, and the plethora of bound-to-fail franchises that seem to spring up in so many other communities.
The traffic that a large store would create, both on Hwy. 54 and Planterra is trivial compared to existing traffic and the traffic that will be created as development continues just across the line in Coweta County. The traffic that a large store would create is not a whole lot more would be created by a bunch of uncoordinated little stores. (Those assertions are based on observation, review of Fayette and Coweta County transportation plans, some training in traffic management, and common sense.)
The most significant traffic problem in Planterra seems to be northbound, anyway. The expressed fear that children will die if there is a cut-through from Line Creek Drive to Planterra is an example of the logical fallacy, the “red herring.” It’s a poor technique that’s often used in place of facts.
It’s time for the City Council to suck it up, too, and to think of what is best for the city as a whole, rather than cave to the anecdotal (and perhaps apocryphal) complaints of a strident minority.
We’ve done triage: the problems have been categorized based on their severity (that’s all triage is, by the way). Now it’s time to start treating the patient before he expires.
I urge the City Council to make it clear that the proposed development, including the “large” store that requires a variance, the stoplight and the cut-through would be welcome and would receive the Council’s support when it clears the Planning Commission.
Paul Lentz, rather angry curmudgeon
Peachtree City, Ga.