Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Now There are Two and the Racece goes On

Now there are two and the race goes on.

I have already said so much detail on my positions it is hard to find a fresh way to restate issues. But I will try while pointing you to donhaddix.com/elect for links to my past Letters to the Editor and more detailed information.

Scott Rowland and I shared the same agendas on getting back to the Village Concept, stopping Big Boxes, no annexation just to grow the city and more. So we divided the 71% of the voters who held those issues as important. Obviously, we differed on a few other points, but our differences were no where near those with Cyndi Plunkett.

Even in the runoff with Plunkett we share some common points, such as Safety and Recreation being important to Peachtree City. Our big difference is in the funding and management of Recreation.

I pushed to get new management models into the Tennis Center, Fred, Kedron, etc, which to the extent they have been successfully implemented has saved the tax payers over a million dollars a year without reducing services. In fact, in some areas services have actually increased. Cyndi Plunkett believes that these facilities should remain under more direct political control even if it costs the extra money.

We both supported SPLOST.

On the Budget I have laid out in detail what I would do if the SPLOST was or was not approved while the economy continued to decline. Cyndi Plunkett couched all her statements in terms of the SPLOST passing with an economic turn around soon.

Again, briefly, I will call for at a Town Hall Meeting where all the Budget issues will be laid out to show how much money we are collecting, how much is being spent, how much is in the Reserves, our Bond rating impact and what we lost in SPLOST. At this point I can say the loss is around $2.25 million a year under the current SPLOST that will expire in March.

While having the spread sheets there, the information will also be stated in basic terms to allow for bottom line understanding of where we are. Then there will be input and Q&A from the citizens attending followed by a survey to see what you want to do, since it is your property taxpayer money and your services at stake.

I have no idea what Cyndi Plunkett proposes since the SPLOST failed and the economy is still sliding. I do know she said a Town Hall is a nice idea but it would not be representative of the whole city. Plunkett said she would consider such input, but never said she would initiate a Town Hall or a survey while saying she would vote what she felt appropriate.

Let me just add here the 25% response she rejected as being non representative is good enough to get one elected to office, so it should be good enough to pay attention to.

We differ greatly on the meaning of Village Concept, since she includes Big Boxes, which are regional stores, not community stores. Plunkett believes they are good and contribute to Peachtree City while I disagree and have posted materials supporting my position.

We have also differed on lifting the Multi-Family Moratorium on the 88 Wieland acres in Wilksmoor to enable developing a proposal for rezoning Industrial to high density Residential. She voted for it and I opposed on the grounds we do not need more homes and we really do not want such high density, especially in the heavily congested Wilksmoor Village.

On the Doug McMurrain CCD 54W Shopping Center, McMurrain said he needed the roads sold to him to be able to build a larger development with Big Boxes. Plunkett voted for it and I not only opposed it, but cited State Law and Case Law that said it was illegal to enable a developer. Contrary to what was said if the roads were left in place it would have greatly reduced the square footage that could have been build and it would have been impossible to build a Big Box.

As well, McMurrain said he needed the Special Use Permit to build Big Boxes and a larger than allowed shopping center. Plunkett voted for and I opposed it. Contrary to what was said there was no legal reason demanding he receive the Permit.

Then McMurrain said he needed another traffic light or he could not build the development. Plunkett voted for and I opposed. Contrary to what has been said Peachtree City did submit the request after CCD had tried twice and been rejected both times. Nor was there any part of the Special Use Permit agreement that required Peachtree City submit the permit request, only that we could not oppose CCD if they submitted a request, which, as stated, they did twice.

Communications are important. No one on Council can make a claim to being more open or responsive to the citizens than I have been. Those of you who emailed me know I respond. My website forum has allowed anyone to ask me a question or make a statement for the last two years. If elected on December 1st on December 2nd Staff will be getting an email saying to get a forum/bulletin board and televised meetings plan ready to present to Council, an effort I tried in 2008 but lost 3-2.

Per the Peachtree City Charter the Mayor is the Supervisor of the City. When a complaint about Staff is received it is the Mayor's job to investigate the claim. Even simple things like placing a stop sign in the middle of the frontage of a home instead of to the side. Or more complex issues such as citizen mowing an adjoining lot for eight years and wanting to know why the owners were not being forced to mow it.

I have handled both these example issues and more, in fact, as Councilman. Why? Because they could not get a response elsewhere and turned to me.

Quality of life in Peachtree City is not only about the big things. It is also about the little things that affect a single home.

Doug Sturbuam and I have worked to resolved league issues on our sports fields. I have looked for ways to protect and promote Recreation, so when someone tells you I do not care about Recreation, as a former adult Boy Scout leader and creator of a very successful 4-H program, all I can say is that it isn't true.

This election is not about making developers and other special interests happy. It is about the citizens in their everyday life. There are crystal clear differences between Cyndi Plunkett and me.

Please vote. Do not assume an outcome or you may be surprised. Make the strongest statement possible about what you want for the future of Peachtree City.

This is also an opportunity to send a message to two County Commissioners who do not live in Peachtree City that what they support is not what the majority of Peachtree City, or the County, in fact, supports. They should have already realized that Peachtree City voters are also voters in County elections while they are not voters in Peachtree City elections. Yet, they contributed to Plunkett and held a fund raiser for her.

Please vote. The future direction of Peachtree City is the referendum before the voters.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Past and Next 50 Years

Most, if not all, know the problems with the State freezing assessed values for homes, as regards property tax, and then cutting off the Homestead Exemption while keeping the State tax in place to collect the funds that had been used for the exemption, which in reality is a form of double taxation on property. As well the State basically restricts city budget financing to Sales Tax, Property Tax and Fees. Even further the Feds and State have put mandates in place upon cities then left them in place when they cut funding plus other issues that benefit them at our expense locally.

Then there is the issues of Council majorities having said Peachtree City is a recession proof bubble and we can just build more retail to increase our income. Both said as a defense for not taking much needed actions sooner and both totally wrong.

It is all very frustrating and down right unbelievable at times.

But even with all of that, we need to never loose sight of the fact we live in a truly great city, being number 8 in both places to live and retire. We are a unique master planned community that is the model and envy of many all over the world.

I believe what we have and the desire to defend it is driving the majority of citizens to step up to the plate and say enough is enough, we want our city back. That stepping up is something we should all be proud of and see as an avenue that will take us back to the concepts that made Peachtree City great. It also says people moved here because they see Peachtree City as more than just another city.

This is Peachtree City's 50th anniversary. We are at build out and celebrating our past, which was full of rapid growth of new buildings on pristine land guided by our Comprehensive Plan and Village Concept. A past that had more successes than failures.

At the same time we are looking to our future, where we will not have growth that is rapid or heavily new, but redevelopment. A time to take what we have and make it better, a time to take what failed and make it a succeed and a time to reinvigorate our Villages to again be communities where shopping centers, recreation, parks and homes are a community, not separate and distinct areas, and all vital and thriving as Villages should be.

We have what it takes to succeed, meaning our citizens. I would never have run for office if I thought our Planned Community and its people where not worth fighting for or its citizens had no interest in fighting for what they have.

Sure, we have struggles in front of us. But we can overcome all of it with citizen centered Councils, Staffs, committees, authorities, commissions and well informed citizens.

In 2007 Cal Beverly said, “Haddix will bring some “regular citizen” perspective to the council, and will stand up for the regular homeowner.” I ran as a “regular citizen” and have conducted myself as such in office. I hope to be honored with being elected Mayor and see a “Regular Citizen Council” on the Dais beginning next year.

2010 begins the next 50 years. The next Council will set the tone for many years to come. Let us get it started right.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Whose Village Concept?

The 2009 election cycle is again moving forward. The qualifying period
is next week, so we will shortly know all running for all offices.

As regards my run for Mayor, State law mandates when I qualify my Post 1
Seat is automatically vacated. So, until a replacement is elected by the
voters there will only be four on Council, the majority of three plus
Doug Sturbaum. So, on those contentious votes it will be 3-1 instead of

Somehow the idea has gotten out to some we are just in the process of
annexing the Scarbrough property. That is false, it was annexed in 2007.
The Step 1 we recently voted on reduced the size of the annexation by
10' off the Tyrone side. If we had denied it the extra land would have
remained part of the property and it would still already be annexed.

The issue of unity is popping up again. We heard it in 2005 from the
current majority. What that turned out to mean was defined on the Dais
during a Council Meeting when the majority criticized the minority.
Plainly stated was we needed to forget our campaign promises, what was
said during the election, and get behind, support and promote the
majority position.

That is not unity, it is capitulation. On issues like building Big Boxes
and retail space you either support building them or you don't. I don't
support building Big Boxes at all or enabling more retail space to be
built when we have a glut now.

In my last Letter to the Editor I stated Scott Rowland had yet to take
any positions, thus was an unknown. That has not changed but I will add
he has a full time job so he simply does not have the time to meet the
demands of the office of Mayor. Mayors Lenox and Brown tried to fill
both hats at the same time and ended up either taking a leave of absence
or quiting their jobs. Logsdon has said the time demand was much greater
than he anticipated and Plunkett says she will leave her job because of
this reality. I am retired and an empty nester, which Plunkett is not.

I also stated Cyndi Plunkett would have to try to explain her voting
record. In a Fayette Neighbor July 9th news article it says, QUOTE: "Ms.
Plunkett said she would like to see several focus groups working
together to ensure that Peachtree City continues as a planned community,
something they are often criticized for." UNQUOTE

Such groups are appointed by the Mayor. As we have seen these groups
normally have a majority that agrees with the Mayor and are held up as
representing the will of all of Peachtree City. Do you want such groups
speaking for all of Peachtree City as regards taxes, Village Concept and
developments? Or, do you want to be consulted directly and then have
your Mayor make a decision he or she will stand behind as their own?

Further, there has been a lot of criticism of Plunkett for deviating
from the Peachtree City Plan and Vision. I believe her words confirm
that reality by her saying, QUOTE: "It's real nice to be able to say
'No, that doesn't work here because it doesn't fit our vision,' but it's
probably time to look at the vision and see where we want to be, and how
do we keep the things we have," said Ms. Plunkett. "The Village Plan
concept --- that's great --- but how do we continue it and make sure its
viable? UNQUOTE

Where has that been said to her? In the proposals to build Big Boxes in
an over sized shopping center and her attempts at negotiating a Callula
Hills plan she finds acceptable, as two examples.

Clearly Cyndi Plunkett is doing more than looking at the Village Concept
and Comprehensive and Land Use Plans, she is rewriting them.

If anyone doubts that look at her history on Council. Plunkett took
office in 2006 and CCD started talking about the 54 W commercial
development. A Task Force, which included the developer, was formed for
the development and Council added the Special Use Permit to the Big Box
ordinance to enable Big Box construction that otherwise was not allowed.
In 2007 CCD applied for a light and asked for the Line Creek streets to
be abandoned to further enable a Big Box development. The abandonment
was approved in 2008 by a 3-2 vote (Plunkett, Boone and Logsdon for,
Sturbaum and myself opposed). Then the Special Use Permit was approved
on the same 3-2 split. Next the light application was approved in 2009,
once again 3-2. Now add in the lifting of the Multi-Family Moratorium
and extra height to the Hilton on the same vote split again.

It is obvious the Village Concept as seen by the majority of citizens of
Peachtree City is not Plunkett's Village Concept. It sure does not fit
the accepted definition of Village Concept.

As well I have posted on donhaddix.com the research findings from
cities, states and universities across the nation that show Big Boxes
and Super Super Shopping Centers, meaning over 150,000 sq', have greater
total infrastructure and service cost than income to a city. They
increase crime and traffic as well. Stores less than 32,000 sq' are the
money makers for a city with the smaller ones generating the most.
Shopping centers less than 150,000 sq' generate more as well. Many
cities are banning these Big Boxes and Shopping Centers and tearing down
what they have and redeveloping them. Plunkett rejects these studies.

Plunkett has proudly stated she has negotiated better developments on
issues appearing before Council for things like Big Boxes, extra size,
extra height and so forth. The problem is those issues appear before
Council because they cannot be built unless given permission by Council.
If unwanted you just vote no, you do not give the developer even more in
trade for something that should have always been a standard development

In that area I have pushed for changes in the ordinances to require
developments meet certain standards that should be the norm for
Peachtree City. I have succeeded in getting the Transition Yard
Ordinance in place, which increases the demands for berms, set backs,
and screening landscaping, in example, between homes and offices,
commercial and industrial. In work are increases in those areas between
street and developments, including buildings being deeper into the sites.

While in the area of green, I also have in work ordinances to require
developers be ready to build before breaking ground, keep sites clean if
there are delays in construction and restore them to green if the
development is abandoned after ground is broken.

Clearly, Cyndi Plunkett supports Big Box and Big Shopping Center

On budget issues in another article Plunkett called Fire and Police
amenities. Then she lumped them in with Recreation and said we need to
protect our amenities, with Recreation topping her list. For me Fire and
Police are essential services and Recreation is an amenity. Essential
services do not get cut, amenities can if absolutely needed to be, just
like a pool is nice at home but food, shelter and clothing come first.

Does that mean I want to reduce or am against Recreation as has been
claimed to a number of people? Absolutely not! As I have demonstrated I
have worked to run it more efficiently and cost effectively by pushing
to move to a better management structure at the Fred, Tennis Center and
Kedron Complex. Those savings total almost a million dollars a year.

As well I back the field sports. The Little League All Stars pin is on
my GMA lanyard and I have had my sunburn from watching games.

I have found and pushed for changes in Hotel/Motel Tax usage that would
allow about $250,000 more into the General Fund plus more flexibility
with the rest.

Plunkett also voted for rolling the dice on a third attempt to repair
the Police Station. I voted against it. That cost millions to return it
to size that was already known to be too small. Now it will cost a few
million more to enlarge it if it does not fail again.

Between those costs and alternative uses for or selling the existing
site we would have been well on our way to a new station that would have
been large enough to house Code Enforcement as well, which would have
taken some space pressures off of City Hall.

We are no longer a young and rapidly growing community. We are at build
out with increasing infrastructure and service costs due to age and
increasing crime, fire and EMS calls. The days of the big impact and
other development fees rolling in with low maintenance costs are over,
as our Finance Department has repeatedly stated. We have to realign our
priorities to meet and satisfy changing needs and realities.

So who decides budget issues is critical, especially with the potential
loss of over $3 million a year in SPLOST money.

If the SPLOST is defeated, as Mayor I will ask the citizens what they
want to do. Would it be a 1.5 mil increase in property tax next year if
we don't get the .255 this year or 1.25 if we do get it to only do path
and street maintenance? Or would it be stopping golf cart path and road
maintenance until the economy turns around?

What would Plunkett do?

In addition I took the Development Authority off the shelf, retasked it
and got it moving forward. Now it is pursuing recruitment and
improvements for Peachtree City that they can do by law, but City Hall
cannot. They are working hard on recruiting good employers, schools and
filling empty stores.

These are rough times and this election will set the future direction of
Peachtree City. Peachtree City needs a Mayor and Council that listens to
the citizens, is open and honest in return and dedicated to efficient
budget management while protecting the Comprehensive Plan, Land Use Plan
and Village Concept. I believe in the last two years I have proven I
meet this criterion. Cyndi Plunkett cannot make the same claim.

Please feel free to contact me for meetings, questions and more.

Don Haddix

Candidate for Mayor


Monday, July 6, 2009

July Election Update

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July with family and friends. My great neighbor Nancy drove her golf cart on my behalf in the parade with her grand kids throwing out the candy. I would like to thank and say how much I appreciated all those watching the parade that yelled, gave thumbs up and otherwise showed their support for me.

Last week Cyndi Plunkett declared for Mayor and Steve Boone and Les Dyer declared for Council Posts. This slate has been known to some since at least April. Its purpose is to maintain the current majority thinking on Council.

Les Dyer is a friend of Boone's and acquaintance of Plunkett and Logsdon. They talk at Council Meetings and Dyer complimented Logsdon as Mayor in PTC 101. As noted in the online announcement on The Citizen, his wife works for Home Source. What was not noted was Home Source is a division of Pathways and she works in the new homes division and could very well be an on site sales rep for Callula Hills.

Obviously and understandably Plunkett, my opponent for Mayor, does not want to be elected to a minority voting position. Obviously and understandably I don't want to be elected to an ongoing minority position as well.

Therefore I say these things to be consistent with my many times stated position that this election is not only about who is elected Mayor, but what thinking and positions hold the majority on Council. This is not about persons or personalities. This is about positions and realities.

Now clear cut choices are available to the voters. If you want continuity of the majority of the last four years, you have candidates to vote for. If you want to change back to the Village Concept and Comprehensive Plan and like Smart Growth over any growth, which the minority has fought for the last two years, you have candidates who have declared that goal running for Mayor and all the Council positions.

Regarding the Mayoral election, since the election is four months away, I will only make brief comments at this time. Just enough to give voters things to think about and questions to ask.

For Scott Rowland I have nothing to comment on at this time because he has taken no positions on anything.

For Cyndi Plunkett I will be contrasting our positions and voting records on such as voting to lift the MultiFamily Moratorium for John Wieland Homes, rezoning to allow a near 60' tall hotel, the Special Use Permit being in the General Commercial Ordinance, abandoning the Line Creek roads to enable a Big Box development, approving a Big Box and Big Shopping Center and approving the 54 W traffic light application. She supported and I opposed on these votes.

While we are near build out there is still several hundred acres that are not built and more in need of redevelopment and improvement, not to mention the ability to annex more land to allow even more building. So, this is not now nor ever will be a dead issue in the future for any Council or the citizens of Peachtree City. In fact we have a Step One Annexation on the agenda now.

I agree with Plunkett we need more police and fire, so a moot issue between us. I agree on the need for experience carry over on Council. But I would add the omitted fact Doug Sturbaum has experience and will be on Council at least two more years and has been my fellow Councilman on the two side of the 3-2 votes. So, the difference is in what each of us carry over, meaning more of the same with Plunkett and back to the Village Concept with me. I agree Rec is important to Peachtree City, but the difference is in how we pay for it and how much burden is to be put on all tax payers.

Team work is important. But, as GMA (Georgia Municipal Association) says, full team work and cooperation is the ideal goal, but it should never be at the expense of one's conscience or promises to their constituents. That means on issues such as the 54 W proposal, no team work was possible since it would have required the minority to abandon its conscience and promises. So, when the majority told the minority, publicly, we needed to forget the campaign promises, were part of Council now and needed to get behind the majority, that was not going to happen.

As Plunkett said when she voted against the Moratorium on commercial development I proposed to allow time to get our ordinances updated to protected Peachtree City, she didn't want to send the wrong message to the developers. My position was she was sending the wrong message to the citizens of Peachtree City. That was followed by the first 3-2 loss to the majority. That resulted in Walgreens snapping up property and getting plan approvals three years prior to taking control and negotiations with developers to add 'improvements' to proposals in return for concessions that could have been avoided by simply having had changed the ordinances first.

Ask questions and demand answers. Candidates that give answers such as they will talk about it later or will consider each proposal independently are telling you they will vote to approve what they know is not wanted. That dice roll has been done before and we have paid dearly for it.

This election truly will determine the path Peachtree City takes for the future.

Don Haddix
Mayoral Candidate

Monday, April 27, 2009

April Update

It has been awhile since I placed anything in the paper. Seemed like a
good time to bring some issues up to date.

Outsourcing landscaping shaved about $940,000.00 off the budget with no
reduction in services. That translates to about .52 mil in property tax.

Changes I have been pushing for, not without resistance, in The Fred,
Tennis Center and Kedron Center Management should realize savings in the
hundreds of thousands of dollars.

While not popular with candidates, I cannot guarantee there will not be
a .25 to .375 tax increase. You have seen no tax increase pledges turn
quickly into tax increases after elections.

Some savings are postponed expenditures, not eliminated costs.

I oppose a proposed across the board pay cut. That is just too damaging
to the lives or our workers and the economy of Peachtree City.

Taxes, fees and such are how cities receive income. So, the key to our
bottom line is getting more good paying jobs here to fill homes that
fill retail spaces which sell to residents, along with streamlined
budgets, not massive pay cuts and tax increases.

One time income from one time fees on development and other sources are
good when the development is needed and fits Peachtree City. Otherwise
they add more empty space which increases long term infrastructure and
service costs more than they generate income and damage the Peachtree
City Vision, Village Concept and quality of life.

The Cullala Hills development, in example, has great one time fees. But,
putting homes next to Industry and the Airport, with access through the
Industrial Park, is not in keeping with the Peachtree City Vision,
Village Concept or the Land Use and Comprehensive Plans. Nor is it
wanted by the Airport, is discouraged by the FAA and not supported by
the citizens of Peachtree City.

There is no news on the 54 W Light Application. That may take months.

Currently, retail chains are rarely signing leases on new spaces. The
Auto Zone at the new Wilshire shopping center is an exception because it
is a business that thrives in economic bad times.

We can see the fruits of continually building retail space by journeying
to Newnan.

Fayette has the second highest retail square footage in the Metro area,
just behind Coweta. Peachtree City has an over 9% vacancy rate based on
square footage, which skews the real impact of when you look around and
see so many empty store fronts.

Same on the residential front. Why annex, rezone and build when we have
hundreds for sale and hundreds more off the market because they will not
sell or cannot be sold at the current depressed prices?

Jobs first is the key. Don't further discourage people from buying here
by seeing so many empty stores, large lists of homes for sale and
building what detracts from our Vision. Protect home values and
saleability as much as we can.

We recently voted to deny a sign variance for World Airways. When some
seemed to be looking for compromise I made the motion to deny.

While on signs, our Sign Ordinance does not cover increasingly seen
walking signs. Those need to be added next to animated signs in our list
of prohibited signs.

On the mailbox and newspaper issue. One proposal was to mandate
containers be added by mailboxes. I proposed requiring residents to
remove such materials within a fixed length of time or Code Enforcement
can cite them.

As for the Hip Pocket septic tanks discussion, the purpose was to offer
facts, alternatives and solutions. While no problem discussing the
issue, the cost and responsibility resides with the home owners, in my
opinion, as it always has.

On trash and recycling, I strongly opposed mandating recycling and a
single provider for a lot of reasons. I proposed requiring providers to
offer recycling with trash pick up at the same pricing, which at least
three providers now voluntarily do, and adding protections from trash
trucks spillage and leaking on the streets.

With the passage of the requirement to offer recycling your bill does
not increase, you choose to get a recycling container and recycle or
not, there are increased liability requirements to protect your and City
property against damage and there are mandated clean ups for any
spillage and leakage from trucks.

As for the $1.00 charge, litter is an increasing problem. The costs of
clean up have been increasing, one Tru-Green employee is being paid to
do nothing but pick up litter all week and litter and recycling are
related issues. The disappearing landfills are an expense to all of use
as providers have to haul farther and farther to get rid of trash.

I am hoping making at least some of the costs and impacts of litter
visible on every bill will aid in stopping this expensive and easily
curable problem. Stop littering and a lot of expenses will go away. It
costs us all.

When Rockaway Road is redirected, we will loose that big recycling
center as well.

There is a lot to think about on many fronts. Realities are changing and
we need to change with them. We need to preserve and protect our
uniqueness by finding new ways to keep what makes us special and great a
part of our homes and city. We do not need to become Riverdale, the
Northside or everywhere else.

They went the route of Malls, Big Boxes, Big Shopping Centers, high
rises, high density and allowing whatever made the immediate buck. Those
are proving failures. We do not want to now go there ourselves.

People now want to work where they live, not commute. Growth stats
decline from 2000 to date show that. About 38% of Fayette residents now
work within Fayette County. People from Fayette County using Marta has
fallen from around 2,000 to a little more than 700. There are others
that do not commute due to being retired, etc.

Who is elected to the next Council, Mayor and Posts, will have a huge
impact on our future. Build it and They Will Come or Smart Growth
thinking? Deference to developers or the citizens? Village Concept or
something else? More Big Boxes and Big Shopping Centers or restore our
Village Shopping Centers?

We are truly at a fork in the road on many fronts. Time to choose which
fork we will take.

Don Haddix
Mayoral Candidate

Monday, March 30, 2009

Peachtree City at Fork in the Road

Without question Peachtree City is at a unique time in its history. We stand at build out, recession, some experts now saying depression, and a Council that has two different views of what the Comprehensive Plan and Vision say and mean. To this we must add very different visions of what Peachtree City needs for the future.

The votes on abandoning parts of the Line Creek roadways, the Special Use Permit to build Big Boxes and a Super Size Retail Development and the recent light application at Line Creek on 54, all 3-2 votes, are prime examples, from this development alone, of those differences. These votes were all to enable an over sized Big Box development that Peachtree City has made clear it did not want or need.

Now we have the issue of the Hyde annexation and rezoning request. Will that end in yet another 3-2 to approve? I hope not.

This needs to be put off until there is a clear understanding of need for Peachtree City, which will be years away, or maybe never.

We also have the issue of the rezoning of property in the Industrial Park to residential to build large two story and expensive downsizing homes, which they are not, next to industry and about 90 feet from the Falcon Field runway buffer zone. A major mistake if allowed.

Clearly, we are at a fork in the road where each path constitutes a very different future for Peachtree City. One path has Peachtree City keeping its Village Concept and Vision. The other is the old 'Build it and they will Come' thinking that dominated such as Cobb and Gwinett for decades, resulting in what many moved here to escape.

This election will set the path and mile marker for out future journey as a city.

Do things change over time? Absolutely. In example, we cannot plan as if we are a commuter driven community any longer. The stats and other data confirm that reality has been disappearing for the last decade.

What is happening to the economy also is a demonstration that things change.

Does it mean we cannot come out of this unique time better than what we were? Absolutely not. We have so much untapped potential to make Peachtree City even more attractive as a place to live than it has ever been before.

The key element we must change is our focus. It must be on good jobs that pay enough for people to live here. We need to stay focused on what attracted so many of us to come here over time; being low crime, sense of neighborhood, good schools and the Path System. Our goal must be to keep and grow our Vision in a new way, using a new economic engine, with growth by redeveloping what we have to be better than what it replaces, not annexing in new property to build on, while leaving the old to become blight.

Future annexation must be only for compelling need or something too good to pass up. Not annexation for growth's sake.

So... this election is when the voters of Peachtree City will choose the future of Peachtree City via whom you elect.

If you agree with me, then I ask for your vote in my bid to be Mayor. I also would ask that you consider helping defray the costs of running for Mayor, since historically it has proven to be an expensive venture for most.

I will be buying signs, handouts and maybe campaign buttons. I will not be spending money on mailers and telephone campaign calls, which I dislike getting myself.

Special Interest groups have historically poured thousands of dollars into their candidates for Mayor. I am only asking for 5, 10, $20, or whatever one feels comfortable with donating.

Who will be running against me I do not know. All I know is there is a group looking to fund someone.

If so inclined, you can send such contributions to:

Elect Don Haddix Mayor
7 Dover Trail
Peachtree City, GA. 30269

Your help and vote will be greatly appreciated.

Please remember that all Council Post Seats are critical to where the next Council will take Peachtree City. So please consider everyone carefully and then vote on November 3rd. It is your City and you will be choosing its future.

If you have questions on any topic, please contact me via the information listed below.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Don Haddix
Mayoral Candidate

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

November Update

With so many issues in the public eye it seemed to be a good time for another update.

Trash and recycling issues are important in the world today. So, when a mandatory Peachtree City recycling program was presented in a Workshop, some of us on Council began from an opposing position, but were open to new facts that could change our minds. I was vocal over problems I had with this concept.

At the Council Meeting, when additional information was presented from the audience and Council Members Doug Sturbaum and Cyndi Plunkett, I proposed making it mandatory all providers be required to offer recycling and trash as a single base service. Three other Council Members agreed.

That is the best answer for Peachtree City. It gets the cans out there, satisfying an argument that mandating containers encourages recycling, while preserving free market pressures to provide good, solid service or risk losing customers. It stops the inevitable complaint calls that would end up flooding City Hall, having to manage an opt out program, the need for Trash Police, forcing people on limited incomes, who were sharing services, etc, from taking on additional expenses, and more problems and issues that come with government mandated programs.

Education is the key to recycling, not legal mandate. You cannot force people to do what they do not wish to do. You have to persuade them. Please feel free to email Al Youngel at Keep PTC Beautiful at kptcb@peachtree-city.org or contact at::

Keep Peachtree City Beautiful
209 McIntosh Trail
Peachtree City, GA  30269

Telephone 770-632-3195
FAX 770-631-2533

Further, the next day I added a stipulation that all trucks must have drip/leak collection pans. That will eliminate the bulk of the mess issues.

The claim a single provider would stop oil and hydraulic fluid leaks by allowing solid identification of the offender never did work for me. You cannot prove the hauler was responsible unless you see the leak happen, which would apply to any hauler, single provider or not.

As for the issue of multiple trucks being eliminated from the roads., first of all, every service requires a truck, so trash and recycling equals two trucks, not one. So trucks on the road will increase for some, even under a single provider. For those who have multiple providers driving through, getting together with your neighborhood and agreeing on a single provider solves that issue and preserves market service quality pressures. Further, group negotiations with providers can give reduced price. Again, pressure that if one does not give a quantity discount another will.

Market pressure works. The next morning I was contacted by a provider who said that after the meeting they went to their executives and now they will change their program for Peachtree City to provide recycling with trash at the same cost.

A final note is that the single provider system would have had an almost immediate increase in pricing. It was stated, in the plan, that if greater than a 2% opt out occurred pricing would need to go up. Far more than 2% would opt out due to all the homes that already combine service with neighbors or have other arrangements.

Moving on to the Wieland rezoning request. We have hundreds of homes currently for sale and probably more than the number for sale that either could not sell or could not sell for enough money that are now empty, rented or have owners trapped in them until they can sell. Add to this home values are down and declining. so adding more inventory would simply drive values down more. Also, the requested density is higher than anything else in Peachtree City and I believe higher than has ever been requested before.

Even if we needed homes I would not vote for this plan and density. Even further, Wieland has withdrawn from the Carolinas, has cut operations about 60% and has no intention of doing anything on the 89 Acres for a good number of years to come.

This begs the question of why is Wieland pushing for this rezoning and plan approval at this time? To just get past the issue, which would not be the case since after some number of years pass they would return to adjust the plans to new market and cost conditions. Is it because he believes the next few Councils, at least, will be less willing to grant it than this one? Looking at the last election that is a reasonable reality. Or because he wants to sell the property to gain liquidity? Having such a rezoning, or one to retail, would make the property more marketable. But selling in this economy? Questionable. Or some other reason?

So, I oppose the rezoning request. There is no justification for this Council to handcuff a future Council, regarding this property, and the property can remain zoned as is until it is known exactly what the best use is, by need, for this property. If determined to get it out of industrial zoning, I might consider Office/Institution or Estate Residential, meaning 3 acre minimum size per home. Educational, technology, medical and similar usages are good for Peachtree City and residents, of Centennial and elsewhere, I have spoken with, are not opposed to such usage, but are opposed to what Wieland is proposing.

On another subject, we have been working on ordinance changes. Doug and I began the push in January and I have been lead on much of the changes. Currently I have pushed many changes for GC (General Commercial, as in retail areas) and LUC (Limited Use Commercial, as in retail areas but with extras allowed). But on the issue of capping the height in general retail areas, some on Planning and Mayor Logsdon are in opposition to the cap. Logsdon has said we lack space for more office space and capping at 35' hinders getting what we need.

But the fact is an office building in Wisdom Point is virtually empty and has been since construction. Last I heard over 100,000 sq' of office space would be available in West Park the beginning of next year, there is more construction in West Park and there are empty buildings in the Industrial Park. Not to mention about 125 acres of pristine land in Wilksmoor.

As for the path across the CSX on 54, we will have approval in about 6 months. But then we will probably see the grant money pulled. So we are looking into completing the path ourselves, which means spending Peachtree City money.

On the Wilshire area new retail construction, I am happy to see discussion between GDOT, Peachtree City Staff and others resulting in agreements that will give us back 20' of buffers. But I still remain concerned that more safeguards being built into agreements and approvals with developers to give more protection to Peachtree City has not been a standard operation procedure.

Finally, an update on the Line Creek traffic light. It is still under consideration, but, remains in violation of GDOT standards and thus requires an exemption. But an exemption requires minimal left turn traffic at the light, which it will never have.

Odds are good it will be denied. But that, I expect, will have CCD coming back and wanting to do a connection just to Planterra Way, not the full route to Huddleston, as in the 2001 LCI (Livable Centers Initiative). From what I can tell from what I have heard, that would also be insufficient to deal with the additional traffic load.

That area of 54 is rated D/F, meaning it is failing to meet minimum needs for traffic. As GDOT has noted, adding that light will make the situation even worse, not better. GDOT has recommended closing the median and adding connections to both the McDuff light, via the Shoppes, and Planterra Way. But even those numbers do not allow for the traffic impact of the The Shoppes when completed. Nor is a connection to McDuff doable unless the deed restriction on the land between The Shoppes and CCD is lifted by Pathways.

As for ACC, all is very much up in the air at this time. We are waiting for more information from ACC.

At the same time other potential employers are being pursued or communicated with by the Peachtree and Fayette County development authorities. Anyone who has any knowledge or leads to potential new companies for Peachtree City are encouraged to contact DAPC directly, or I am willing to pass information along to them for you as well.

These are tough times and Peachtree City is not immune. But we are in far better shape than many other communities and can weather this storm if we approach things wisely.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

NCR Expansion

On October 28th I attended the announcement of the NCR Expansion, at the State Capital, along with Council Members Doug Sturbaum, Cyndi Plunkett, Mayor Logsdon, Senator Ronnie Chance and Representative Matt Ramsey.

This expansion adds 560 jobs to the Peachtree City NCR facility, beginning in 2009, after a $12 million investment to accommodate a Center of Excellence Customer Care Center and training facility to train about 127 employees for employment throughout the nation per month.

We warmly welcome this expansion and NCR's trust and view that we are the community which will best service their needs in these areas for North America. NCR is a long time corporate citizen who we hope will continue to see Peachtree City as more than a place to set up shop but, as well, a place to live, shop, raise families and retire when the time comes.

Success like this comes via the work of multiple layers of development authorities, from State to local levels, working together. It illustrates why Doug Sturbaum and I have made a Peachtree City development authority a priority in our agendas and why I took on the role of DAPC liaison to take that authority off the shelf and aid it in becoming a viable body to fulfill a needed role for Peachtree City.

DAPC is proving itself daily, not only in its own workings, but in working with the Fayette County Development Authority and other agencies and organizations throughout Georgia.

It also comes from taking pride in the uniqueness of Peachtree City, where the corporate world can live in a Village environment, which we see as the best of both worlds.

Peachtree City is at a nexus between the past and the future. This is a step on the road, in a vision some of us see, for the making the next 50 years as successful as the last 50 years. We will continue to pursue this vision.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

August Update for PTC

As a general overview for key issues going on in PTC government:
  • Finalizing our budget. Cuts and delays in some spending allow us to not do a millage increase for 2009 while a slight property tax valuation increase will increase taxes about 36 cents per $100,000 of home value. In example, a $250,000 home will pay 88 cents more.
  • The Publix and Steinmart shopping centers on 54 are in the process of being annexed into PTC.
  • The county property islands created by the last Wilksmoor annexation are in the process of being annexed in. This is required to bring PTC into compliance with state regulations barring such islands.
  • The Wieland request for lifting the Multi-Family Housing Moratorium on his 89 Acres in Wilksmoor for planning purposes only passed 3-2 with Sturbaum and Haddix opposing.. The reason for lifting as being needful for planning ACC is false, since they are not the same zoning and nothing ACC is being allowed on the 89 by Wieland. The reason of just being able to plan but not meaning being rezoned is one Doug Sturbaum and I do not accept. You don't plan for what you do not intend to build. Nor do you lift the Moratorium unless you intend to allow them to build.
  • ACC is moving forward. We have a good deal of confidence we will receive the college.
  • Doug Sturbaum and I continue to push for ordinance revisions to enact the PTC Comprehensive Plan as law. There have been a number of successes to date but we fully understand some major issues will have to wait until we gain at least one more vote on Council, as in removing the Special Use Permit from the Big Box ordinance that was added in 2006 to allow building Big Boxes, which PTC do not want.
  • A referendum was passed to allow Dar Thompson to pursue getting permission from the voters to build a Sports Complex, which would include two ice rinks. Council neither supports or opposes this referendum. It is an issue solely between Dar Thompson and the voters.
  • Issues of double taxation are moving more to the forefront between PTC and Fayette County. While we respect the County's right to decide it budgets it must be recognized PTC can no longer be viewed as a funding source for County wide programs.
  • Growing cooperation between the PTC Police Department and the Sheriff's Department are a real plus not only for PTC but the whole County.
  • Golf Cart Path issues are an important issue and are being addressed.
  • Drugs and crime. We want to stop these issues before they grow. It will be an ongoing effort.
  • I continue to work DAPC to seek new business to fill our vacant retail spaces and to attract educational, research and technical institutions to PTC.
There is a lot to be done. It will take time and change of will and purpose by some in government to succeed.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

54 West CCD - Round 3

It appears after the Council Meeting, as described in my last post on this issue, another permit request was submitted... and again denied.

The rejection this time said:
  • The spacing is approximately 800'.
  • Minimum required spacing is 1,000'.
  • The plans needs to be reevaluated and include alternatives such as:
    • Right in/right out only access to 54.
    • Connections to the McDuff and Planterra Way lights.
    • Closing the median strip on 54.
    • Combinations of the above.
  • The above options would provide safer traffic circulation within the development and reduce impact on 54.
  • The revised study and plan must be approved by Peachtree City.
  • A plan approved by Peachtree City must then be submitted to and approved by the GDOT along with a driveway permit application.
Here are issues with these options:
  • Right in/Right only only:
    • Would require a U-Turn for west bound traffic to access the site.
    • Makes exiting the site more difficult and dangerous in heavy traffic.
    • Drivers wanting to go to Walmart, etc., would have to cross traffic to the get to the turn lane in a very short driving distance. There will be accidents.
    • How many Big Boxes would rent in at a site with no light? Or stay over time?
  • Connecting to the Planterra Way issues:
    • Would only go to Planterra Way, not Huddleston.
    • Would promote cut through traffic in Planterra.
    • Right in/right on only on Planterra Way has already been deemed too dangerous.
  • Connecting to McDuff:
    •  Forces west bound entry and east bound exit traffic to be on 54 longer.
    • Offers no traffic relief, as the Secondary Road to Huddleston would, thus promoting future cut through traffic on Planterra Way.
There are also the issue that the Special Use Permit was conditioned upon getting the light and the road abandonment upon getting the Special Use Permit.

As said before, this is far from over.