Planners: car wash at PTC's entrance should be elsewhere

Plan needs variance to Hwy. 54 setback, likely a tough sell to City Council

A proposal to build an environmentally-friendly car wash at the corner of

MacDuff Parkway and Ga. Highway 54 in Peachtree City wasn’t well-received at the Dec. 15 Planning Commission meeting.

Beyond the incongruence of putting a car wash at a prominent location, several adjacent professional tenants opposed the plan.

The developer will need a variance to move forward, however, and historically the City Council has been extremely stingy in awarding approval to “bend” any of the city’s various development regulations.

The planning commission discussed the matter during a workshop session, so no vote was taken.

Dr. John Henahan, who has an optometrist practice right next door to the proposed car wash, worried that a host of vacuums would make a tremendous amount of noise while he and his staff examine patients.

“That noise will go straight through to my exam rooms all day long,” Henahan said.

Henahan also questioned how the car wash would affect parking, as there is currently barely enough parking spaces for his staff, patients and customers of other adjacent businesses.

He also predicted noise problems from loud music cranked up by car wash patrons as they vacuum their vehicles.

“Unless you have the world’s most sort of gestapo-like attendants constantly telling people to turn down the radio, I anticipate loud music also coming into my office,” Henahan said.

Dr. Reid Roberts, a dentist who works on the other side of Henahan’s from the proposed car wash, said if the car wash proposal comes to fruition, there could be unintended consequences among the current businesses in the area.

“I won’t be there when my lease is up,” Roberts said. “... If you want to trade a car wash for a dentist, I will go somewhere else in Peachtree City. It’s just unfortunate that this could come to pass.”

Larry Sussberg, owner of Huntington Learning Center, said he worried about the massive amount of traffic the car wash could generate when his business involves children being dropped off and picked up by their parents.

“There will be a potential for a serious accident involving a child,” Sussberg said.

Sussberg, a former member of the planning commission, also noted the increasing amount of traffic on MacDuff Parkway and the need to consider aesthetics in the area also.

“This is the gateway to the city,” he said. “Does the city want a car wash at the gateway to the city? ... To me, this is too big for the space that it’s in.”

The car wash developer has proffered two proposals, both of which would need a variance. The first proposal has a small portion of the drive and parking area within the 30-foot landscape buffer along Ga. Highway 54 West; the second plan extends further into the buffer but orients the building to comply with the requirements of the design guidelines adopted for the Hwy. 54 West corridor, according to a staff memo on the topic.

Several commissioners suggested the developer find a more suitable site for the project than the corner of Hwy 54 and MacDuff Parkway.

Commissioner Joe Frazar said he has been through a similar car wash before and he thinks the operation was “well handled and well policed.”

“But I don’t think that’s the right place for it,” Frazar said. “... I think there are other places more appropriate in our city.”

Commissioner David Conner agreed.

“The location is not quite right,” Conner said. “And if your direct neighbor is against it, you probably are not going to get a variance.”

Commissioner Horace Batiste said his greatest concern was for keeping smooth traffic flow in the area.

A spokesman for the car wash developer said the car wash was intended mostly for use by customers who are already in the area, thus it won’t draw a tremendous amount of traffic beyond what is already there.

The car wash includes an automated system that allows vehicles to go through a tunnel for three minutes to clear the car’s exterior, and the facility would recycle between 80 and 90 percent of the water used, a spokesperson said.

ftp
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Car Wash??

Yeah, 54 and MacDuff needs more traffic there. That intersection is at the top of my list why I just bought a house in Newnan. It takes me 30-40 minutes to get to work some days, it's a 3 mile commute.

Spyglass
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If you bought a house in Newnan..

and you have a 3 mile commute to work, you would not go near this intersection. Or am I just confused?

ftp
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COMMUTE

I live (for a few more weeks) off Macduff..........work off 74

Insayn
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Two questions for those

Two questions for those opposing the city, any city, having set guidelines or variance or wanting some control over what goes where:

1. You live in PTC. Your neighbor decides to buy horses and cattle and keep them in his or her back yard.

Would you just say "oh well its their property"? would you want something done? Or Would you just move? (Remember, horses and cattle eat alot, excrement is plentiful and it all rolls down hill)

2. Do you support or oppose a ban on gas golf carts?

mudcat
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In both cases I would want something done

But I would want it done ahead of time. Animals or not? Both me and my neighbor should be aware of the rules before either of us moves in or buys animals. Gas golf carts? Same thing.

You don't wait until we have 10,000 homes and almost 10,000 golf carts and start making rules because 2 or 3 people complain. Do this stuff ahead of time or don't do it at all. Politicians trying to fix tings that aren't broken is really annoying.

On the other hand, a variance for a special situation is a one-time relaxing of those rules for specific hardship conditions - not because someone likes or dislikes a car wash or bowling alley. And of course the city should enforce the laws already on the books.

GAltant
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Carwash

For those who attended the meeting a few issues were raised

1-this car wash is designed to handle up to 70 cars per hour. That's alot of cars and alot of carwash!

2-the proposed entrance is on the small service road behind the car wash which also serves the other stores in the center.

3-there is already limited parking for the shopping area and this carwash eliminates parking for the center - possibly 10 or 12 spots.

4-there are 16 vaccum stations designed into the plan, 6 of them against the eye doctor's cinder box wall where exam rooms are located.

5-to make this car wash fit with or without a variance, the developer is trying to figure out a way to place it on some strange angle to make it work.

Bottom line - it's 10 pound of horseshit being stuffed into a 5lb bag!
Just like the 10 pounds of Walgreen being stuffed into a 5lb lot!

Let this carwash go to Fischer Crossing - it belongs there!

Robert W. Morgan
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Wealth-envy alert!

If this places washes 70 cars per hour and is open the same hours and charges the same as the place on Crosstown with the surly cashier, it would gross $500,000 per week. That's too much. After all, at some point you earn enough and should have to give some back - according to Prezbo.

Maybe we can just take 50% back from this venture and use that money to subsidize the shortfall in our sewer operation. I know! Since they are recycling most of their water, we can impose an imputed surcharge on the sewer charges they should have used had they not recycled. How about that? Good liberal idea?

Better yet, let's just say no to the variance since there is no real hardship - which is the only reason for granting a variance and use the site for something that actualy fits.

Mike King
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Car Wash

Damnit GAlant, this may be the Mayor's only opportunity to produce Car Wash II for Peachtree City's booming movie industry.

Could they cast Bonkers for Richard Prior's role? Well, maybe if he can dance.

owensmom
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What about the traffic jams that already clog up Macduff??

This car wash runs 70 cars through the machines an hour. Where are all of these cars going to go? There is already very little room for cars to go in and out of this parking lot as it is. Are all of the shoppers and patients for these businesses supposed to park across the street at the empty shopping center and walk across the street just so a car wash can take up all of the space currently there? The tenants have made it clear that they will leave if this goes through. Good luck to the owner of this development to fill all of those empty shops in this economy. I guess a car wash is a much more desirable business to have for him than a full, bustling shopping center...

Mikeyc
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"Entrance" to Peachtree City

In 15 years when every square inch of grass from the Peachtree City line to the Fayetteville courthouse is developed, I doubt very much that anyone will notice whatever business is on the border when they pass into our fair city. Besides, there's no golf course up there to build a $400,000 bridge for to mark the line.
Since the fears all seem to point to a continuous stream of cars (customers) with the incessant noise and risk to all the child pedestrians, it sounds like a very lucrative venture!

PTC Observer
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Put it next to Walgreens

where the RiteAid use to be. It should give that corner all the character of South L.A.

lookout2011
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Thunderous herds of vehicles disturbing...

eye doctors! Car Washes are one mean business.
Maybe the eye people are in the wrong business?

Wish I had thought of putting one there!

I think if Saint Peter came in here and wanted to set up a screening station, he would have to fight for years to get it zoned properly!

Then when he did, there would be hundreds on here saying, NO! Isn't he a Catholic, or a Jew?

Cyclist
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So tell us lookout2011...

What happened to Courthouserules?

Spyglass
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Quit feeding the troll..

That's my motto.

lookout2011
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cycle

I asked the same question about "dollaradayandfound" and "dumbing down," but got no answer?

Why is everyone concerned about someone new? Should I leave?

Mike King
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Lookout

Don't leave. Just place your previous avatar in the square and it will match your posts the same as before.

The Wedge
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No, but it is disingenuous

to post under one name for a period and then to switch names and act like a brand new blogger. Many of those that have been on here for awhile want to know why the names keep changing, but the tripe stays the same?

AtHomeGym
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Hey Wedge

It's just because some folks are prone to deal in subterfuge & confusion in an attempt to keep the 'enemy' off balance. Didn't you come across any of those in the RTB? Hey, you have a Merry Christmas-I'm headed to Montana tomorrow to spend time with Son & his family.

The Wedge
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AHG

Merry Christmas as well. I have seen plenty of subterfuge.

Chris P. Bacon
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It's worth remembering

It's worth remembering that the management here sometimes pushes the bannination button rather swiftly.

Case in point: Cal Beverly was ready to ban that troublemaker Kevin King for referring to Fred Garvin as a male prostitute. (Most people of a certain age recall Dan Ackroyd on Saturday Night Live's character "Fred Garvin - Male Prostitute".

Fred Garvin
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Krispy

I have no idea what you are talking about.

Where is my ol' pal Kevin anyway? We sure do miss him around these parts.

Chris P. Bacon
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Of course you don't, Fredo
Fred Garvin wrote:

I have no idea what you are talking about.

Where is my ol' pal Kevin anyway? We sure do miss him around these parts.

Of course you don't, Fredo!

Here's the LINK to the Saturday Night Live sketch.

PTC Observer
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Childishly

funny.......but what would one expect?

AtHomeGym
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Fred & Kevin

He's still in town and couple of weeks ago, met with Mike King & Hutch for coffee & chat.

PTC Observer
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Kevin King.....

ummm.

Yes, what happened to him?

Any ideas?

Mike King
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PTC O

Kevin is doing fine as is his family. I'm sure he reads this thread from time to time, and knowing that I'm wishing him a very Merry Christmas!

Fred Garvin
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Mike King

Be sure and tell that old warthog hello for me next time you see him.
Why doesn't he post here anymore?

PTC Observer
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Like the Cat

Bacon

tferguson01
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PTC and Fayette County Just Hates Business

Why do you all think they are building that new shopping center over the Coweta County line? PTC has no good car washes in the city and this would benefit all but the hob snobs say no way jose.

ptccpa
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PTC and Fayette County Just Hates Business

How true a statement. Coweta County is thriving and PTC is dying. The anti growth folks are getting what they want . In 5 years you may have to leave PTC to buy clothes because there is no retail left. A good barometer would be to ask yourself where you went shopping for Christmas. ???

NUK_1
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I'm sure everyone shopped "Fayette First!" LOL

You can't have politicians and some losers in your county talking trash about retail development constantly or a Mayor like Don Haddix ranting and raving about how no one in PTC will shop at Sam's Club(hmm.same was said about Wal-Mart/Home Depot too) and then expect residents to heed your call to arms with your sudden propaganda to shop "Fayette First! because your sales tax dollars help!"

Everyone wants to preserve all the great aspects of FC/PTC but don't want to pay a ton in taxes to do so, don't want any development that they don't personally like, and don't want any cuts in service. This is IMPOSSIBLE. It's also a huge failure of elected leaders who long ago abdicated leadership in return for getting some votes from the same ignorant people who have no understanding of basic math, much less economics. This is a case where the politicians have to step up and tell people the bad news instead of trying to conduct stupid surveys that are completely meaningless and a travesty of representative democracy.

Spyglass
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I know of at least two self service car washes in town..

And one full serve...which, ain't all that great, for sure. I'll give you that.

How many would you recommend our fair city needs?

wdd5885
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It's about the law...

It's not about what the city needs (or doesn't). If the business fits within the city's codes and ordinances, then by law the owner has the right to purchase the land and commence legal business.

The concerns of the adjacent business owners should be noted, however, if they don't like it, they can relocate. There was no guarantee of what type of business would eventually locate there. A good analogy is a homeowner who purchases a home next to vacant property, and is upset when the vacant property is developed. If it's a legal development, their only recourse is to move.

The hypocrisy that comes from city hall is extremely detrimental to this community. No big box (32,000 sq ft) retail, but a 36,000 sq ft bowling alley will be just fine, thank you. Oh, we don't think a car wash is the right business for that property, even though it's zoned commercial.

Zoning decisions have been made for that property, and legally, the city should adhere to them.

David Downing

Spyglass
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Well then...

Why even have a Council to vote on things...this venture obviously needs a variance of some kind to fit on the property.

I don't always agree on things that PTC does, but in this case, I would prefer they err on the side of caution.

NUK_1
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Spyglass: Agreed

I think David D's thoughts are more in general concerning development in PTC than this particular situation where a variance is required under both proposals that have been made. That IS different than a Wal-Green's and other development scenarios that have arisen over time. Here, the City can play hardball(if it wants to). Whether they should or not is certainly a debate to have, but this is a situation where the City has more control. How they use it is what will matter.

It used to be back in the good 'ol days where PTC and especially Devel Dir Jim Williams managed to squeeze enough concessions out of developers to make it a win for the City while also not making it unattractive and a losing proposition for the developers. That all has been lost for several years now and it's become a lot more of "100% win or die" for both sides. That attitude benefits no one but has been strongly pushed by a very vocal anti-everything crowd.

wdd5885
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Nuk's Right...

It seems many times when a business comes in, the planners, council, and citizens come up with some silly excuses to deny or discourage said business. I was at a council meeting some years ago when Katy's liquor store owners came to the meeting to apply for their license. Some of the Lexington park homeowners voiced their concerns and asked council to deny the license. Council had no legal basis to do so and granted Katy's the license. None of the concerns voiced that evening ever came to fruition. What about the tatoo shop? Thankfully the reports of PTC's demise due to a tatoo shop have not come true. I think that could (would?) be the case here. I don't believe a nice car wash will create the problems being talked about.

I agree they have a slim chance of getting a variance, but if it's a legit business, and they follow the laws and ordinances, they have the right to locate and do business where they want to.

David Downing

Mike King
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Car Wash Variance

Odds are, David, that our esteemed city management will deny this variance, and assuming the business is legit, Fischer's Crossing will have a new tenant.

We all know the one on Crosstown needs some competition.

NUK_1
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You are assuming PTC voters are educated

When it comes to development and the law, the biggest noisemakers are completely clueless. They in turn send the same hypocritical message to the elected who cater to that ignorance by huffing and puffing before doing what they have to do, which is grudgingly approving projects like Wal-Green's or Home Depot/Wal-Mart or Target that they had NO grounds to reject anyway. The politicians still have to make a ton of noise about how much they hate it and blah blah blah first. This sends a really bad message to the business community when you have totally ignorant and uninformed loudmouth voters coupled with Councils that would rather gripe and dump more fuel on the fire than show some leadership.

PTC has a large industrial park that has a lot of vacancies due to Council sending an anti-business message for quite a while now. Whether the best route to try and fill these vacancies with job and tax-producing businesses is through an Econ Devel staff person, more(or any) DPAC funding, or relying on the County can be debated, but the overall message of "you're not wanted here unless you're a perfect fit" is a totally outdated and failing ideal in PTC.

There are no more big impact fees to fill the city coffers that masked the financial pitfalls PTC was falling into(on this issue Steve Brown has always been right). Build-out is pretty much upon PTC. Increased taxation and fees are a reality and so will be further cuts in service strategies.

The old model of PTC is not financially sustainable any longer and it's time to embrace and manage change or keep watching the same small group of bozos whine every council meeting about how things are so bad, how Council should vote NO on everything, and propose no solutions at all. Catering to these clowns just so you can win an election has accomplished zero, except leave a bigger mess for future Councils to deal with.

mudcat
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That's a pretty good summary of where we are, NUK_1

It is obvious that the habitual council meeting attendees are not informed about much of anything and certainly no true leadership has emerged on the last 4 or 5 city councils. The impact fee alarm was raised many, many times since the Lexox years - usually by staff, but sometimes by one or more council members. Not one thing has been done except the giant steps backward by not expanding the sewer system for huge fees and defunding the only entity that was responsible for growth, DAPC - and of course the development company folding up because of the economy and that is a problem because they funded most of the marketing and promotion for about 30 years and the city got convinced that it was somebody else's responsibility.

Where we are now, NUK_1 is at the very bottom - no funding, no expertise, no plan and a bad economy. If this were the real world, the city would begin to seriously cut expenses instead of all this useless debate about golf carts and walking signs.