Mayor Haddix: Street signs, walking signs and new business

Don Haddix's picture

With everything going on I will be writing more columns to try to keep all the issues up to date.

On the street sign article, that illustrates why so many taxpayers get frustrated at what appears to be Peachtree City government wasting a lot of money.

First, the federal government mandated signs be 9 feet tall instead of 6 feet. Then they changed the mandate on letter size and type. Then the reflective properties of the coating. All of that costs the city money but none is funded by those putting the mandates on us. It really adds nothing to Peachtree City but another bill.

Moving on to the next sign issue, walking signs, there is a recognition something must be done. We all agree if an accommodation for non-profits can be made, it should. We all agree something must be done about for-profit signs and they have to be removed from the right of ways. How to do that is unclear to some on Council.

I support a complete ban because anything less is a nightmare to enforce and it treats all businesses equally. But some are still debating.

We do not allow animated or flashing signs. Portable signs are not allowed to be parked on the right of way. With that said, can you think of anything more portable or animated than a person walking around waving a sign? Or, for that matter, more out of step with our sign ordinances in general? I cannot.

The one statement that shocked me a bit was we didn’t need to rush to an action that could hurt businesses. We have been discussing this since 2009. The results have always been the same, meaning a desire to allow non-profits while removing for-profit walking signs from the highways and roads. Business walking signs should be confined to the store locations or eliminated completely. Plus the realization walking signs are far from the only means of promotion and advertising out there.

Recently a new realization hit me as well. I call it “Rent a Walking Space.” That means if walking signs were allowed at other than the store those with prime locations, or even where the store is located, might charge rent. It has happened elsewhere so it is not a theory.

A Peachtree City resident also brought up another concern. That being do adjacent businesses want walking signs next door? That most assuredly impacts them as well.

The matter was continued until May 19 to see the results of a question on using walking signs being added to a business survey. It should be mentioned when I asked about a citizen survey as well one was not wanted.

I believe even if we do not do a complete ban on commercial signs now, the day will come where we will, due to the enforcement and other problems that will arise. And arise they will.

As a final note, the issue of political signs was brought up. Well, any given business has year round signs while any given Council office is only every four years. Neither a business nor election sign can be in the right of way. Federal law prohibits disallowing political signs, but they can be regulated on time frames and size, which they are, with a smaller allowed size. Yes, a lot more of them are allowed, but only on private or business property.

As for politicians out there waving signs, really, after two elections I can assure you that you have never seen me out there with a walking sign nor has anyone ever been asked or asked to do so for me.

Next take a look at the “Haddix/Imker disagree on prospect handling” meeting. I guess it would not be a good news day if there were not a conflict on Council reported. Or something else postponed.

A notable point that gives a clearer picture of what happened is that Council members Imker and Fleisch took the position the coordinator was the single point of contact, so I had to immediately send all prospects (businesses, industry, schools, professionals, etc.) to him. Another is Imker said he hoped I had the skill to be able to do that.

Beyond the obvious shot by Imker and the simple fact we just don’t agree on a lot of things, what are the issues here?

The 5-0 vote was to hire the coordinator, so no conflict there. The issues are their demands they will interpret what the vote means and that they can add conditions because they are, after all, in the majority. That is just not a reality here, legal or otherwise. The single point of contact was their assumption, not at all how development works in fact.

Prospects control who they will talk to and the path they wish to take, not the majority. As I said, prospects do not give a hoot what the majority thinks they voted. Yet, the issue and demand was pushed because they wanted it that way.

Like it or not, the mayor of a city is one primary contact among several, not the council majority, or just the coordinator. As well, a mayor has certain duties and powers not held by council members. That is why there is only one mayor, not five. If five, nothing would get done on a day to day basis as it would be all debate and meetings.

Yes, the city manager is a powerful man with a lot of responsibility. Not a doubt in the world of that truth. But the mayor also has a lot of responsibility and power. Contrary to what some wish, the role of mayor in Peachtree City is not just ceremonial.

Obviously I cannot handle the full development process on my own, nor do I want to. After talking with the prospect it is my job to steer them to the next step of the process. Maybe I will still be involved and maybe I won’t. It all depends on many factors.

As with the bowling alley, there were some problems at the beginning I could navigate more effectively than others due to my office. The coordinator was brought in but I was still involved. When the problems were taken care of it went fully into the hands of the coordinator and is moving forward without me. In fact, between the time this column was submitted and printed, it was a Planning Commission agenda item.

Before the coordinator was hired, and after the Development Authority of Peachtree City (DAPC) was de-funded, I had a proposal come to me stating they wanted DAPC to handle it. DAPC wanted to, but could not, because they needed funding. The majority said take it to the Fayette County Development Authority, no funding for DAPC. The prospect said they did not want to do that. So their mandate versus the prospect’s requirement ended up with the client walking away.

Do not assume everyone would want to go through the coordinator, especially if they know a coordinator has less power and authority than is needed to make their proposal successful.

That is not a slight to Joey Grisham. It is simply a recognition he could do more as the DAPC director than as the coordinator. He needs the best tools and widest scope of operation possible. Anyone doubting that should go read the state development authority law. A copy can be found at http://donhaddix.com/showthread.php?p=588#post588.

As I said, economic development is a spider web of many avenues. There is no one singular line of flow. It is not a 1, 2, 3 process in every case. With that the city manager, one council member and coordinator agreed.

So yes, I understand the process, realities, laws and have the skill to pass a project along appropriately.

Now, some will try to say I am attacking others on council. I would say it is setting the record straight and defending against attacks on my person and my office.

It makes it harder on others on council when assumptions, declarations, accusations and demands are made that are invalid. It is frustrating that rather than trying to work with my office some are more interested in taking control of it.

A brief note here is there seems to be among some a misunderstanding of the roles of various positions within the Peachtree City government. To help clear that up, if interested, please read the city charter. To make it easier for most to find I have posted a copy at http://donhaddix.com/showthread.php?p=587#post587 (Or, just go to donhaddix.com and open the Peachtree City General Forum and look for the material).

It is an election year, so obviously the issues will be heating up all year. Facts and fictions will be everywhere,and are already being seen. We need good candidates and educated voters.

For me the number one mandate of a good candidate is saying what you mean in the election and doing what you say if elected. So feel free to seek information and advice from knowledgeable sources, including me, if you so desire.

We are facing a lot of challenges from the economy, the federal government and the state, the TSPLOST being a major example. So we all need to be aware, educated and involved.

Now, more than ever, we need to stand up for what is right. It means we need people at all levels of government willing to fight for us, not just roll over under pressure or for political gain.

[Don Haddix was elected mayor of Peachtree City in 2009. Previously, he had served two years as a council member. His email is dhaddix@peachtree-city.org.]

Mike King
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Mayor Quizote

Please Don, there you go after those darn windmills again. A couple examples for consideration:

Regarding those federally mandated street signs upon which you capitulated to your elected elders, why not remind them that without the requisite funding they can place them where the sun doesn't shine. You could get the individual that wrote this most recent piece for you to write Congressman Westmoreland and State Senator Chance informing them of your decision. Since the closest federal roadway happens to be I-85, what have you to lose? Copy furnish the letter to a number of other mayors and perhaps those in Atlanta and Washington will begin to get the message that if they wish to impose an edict, they simply will have to fund it.

Next, the issue of walking signs is an embarrassment to this city because its leadership (you) simply will not admit that we currently have a sign ordinance. Either enforce the darn thing or abolish it, it's actually quite simple. Walking signs are not the issue, the issue is do we want a sign ordinance or not. Weakening it now only opens Pandora's Box to other exceptions. Remember the zoning faux pas regarding multi unit housing that came about because of someone's boneheaded remark?

BTW, leave Grisham to the tutelage of Jim Pennington for I think you've embarrassed yourself enough concerning him and economic development.

roundabout
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MIKE

There is no such thing as unfunded projects from the federal government! People use that excuse to bloviate about votes in the next election!

The State of Georgia spend enormous sums of federal money which of course is passed on to localities--just one example: unemployment compensation money for Georgia's unemployed workers. So far we have received about .75 billion dollars--which we will never repay.

Check the County and City moneys that come from the federals. Schools alone are billions above what we pay in school taxes.

I don't think that wild letters about politics to everyone else in the world would be good for PTC or Fayette County.

What we need is "quiet" restraint.

PTC Observer
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Joined: 04/23/2007
Mayor Haddix - good job

I knew you could do it Mr. Mayor, an article with complete thoughts and only a few grammatical mistakes.

Now there is this little matter of use of private property and free speech....how much are you willing to spend taking that one to court? I just bet the ACLU would love that one.

Just wondering......

Robert W. Morgan
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I, me, we. Sad and a bit embarrassing.

Mike King's open letter is a better summary of what is going on in Peachtree City. It reads better, is more sincere and to the point and certainly much shorter. My God, we have spawned another brown clown.

borntorun
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Yep....Megalomania

"A belief in one's superiority, grandiose abilities, and even omnipotence. It is characterized by a need for total power and control over others, and is marked by a lack of empathy for anything that is perceived as not feeding the self."

Sound familiar?

PTC Observer
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borntorun - ?

Obama?

borntorun
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Thinking Local PTC Observer

No doubt Obama has a touch of megalomania but I think we have someone worse than him right here in The Bubble as evidenced by the above letter.

mudcat
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True enough, our Meglomayor truly takes the cake

Reason being, meglomayor is actually doing his own thinking (such as it is) and decision making and he writes his letters without help. So, meglomaniac he may be, but at least he's genuine.

Obama, on the other hand, is just someone's puppet. Soros or that union thug that lives in the Lincoln bedroom, one of the Czars, but someone truly evil pulling his strings and formulating policy and actually writing his speeches. Whoever it is is stuck on stupid with this Tax the Rich theme. Even yesterday in a budget speech. Surely they have polled this and must know that most sensible people understand the dynamics of small business owners can use their money to grow the economy or pay taxes, but not both. They do know that we know, don't they?

PTC Observer
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borntorun - you're right

We do have so many to chose from right here in our local community don't we.

bad_ptc
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Mayor Haddix, "Prospects control", are you on drugs?

"Prospects control who they will talk to and the path they wish to take..."

Are you for real?

Ladies and gentleman, I submit to you that the above quote is a clear indication that the current mayor hasn't a clue as to the responsibilities of his office nor does he have a clear understanding as to the organizational structure/duties of the city staff.

I have no problem with the mayor attending ribbon cutting ceremonies or waving at people from the confines of a golf cart during the Fourth of July parade. Beyond those responsibilities he needs to be kept in a closet until he is needed.

P.S. There should probably be an exception for appearances at birthday parties upon request.

L.Sussberg
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RWMorgan, Mike King, Mudcat

New day, same garbage, just better written.
Click through to the posts...you'll love those.

The best part is the mandate for a good candidate...coming from someone who lied on the blogs.

As for a good candidate..what about intelligence, honesty, integrity and a good decision maker which might mean you are open minded to change your ideas and opinions to vote what's best for the city. Those issues are not mentioned at all.

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