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.


No comments: