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Saturday, November 18 2017 @ 12:35 PM EST

MacDuff Area: History of Mishandling

In discussing the MacDuff area  today, we need to begin with a hard look at history of the big proposals in the West Village. One after the other have been seriously mishandled.

Steve Brown, when Mayor, made handshake agreements with RAM Properties about landscaping and other issues. The stores were built, but none of the handshakes were honored. It was built purely according to the binding signed agreements between RAM and Peachtree City.


When the RAM partnership split, one owner proposed the Line Creek development as CCD.  As the proposals and vote moved forward, as a Councilman, I voted no but lost. This was a terrible proposal for Peachtree City.


But, I did manage to get some qualifiers and changes into the final agreements to lessen the damage. The biggest one was something then Mayor Logsdon, a staunch backer of this proposal, had not done or thought of before. That being Sunset Clauses, which means the developer has a certain amount of time to build or the agreements are rescinded.


If I had not gotten those clauses included, after CCD failed, that property would have continued to have a signal permit, Special Use Permit for big boxes, sale of Line Creek and other allowances citizens didn't want. It would have made the current wants of Trinity, Fleisch and Learnard a cake walk for all they have been pushing for now.


Just look how the lack of sunsets have worked out for Wilshire.


Thankfully, it all sunset, giving us a chance, now, to once again kill a very negative for Peachtree City light on 54.


Lessons not learned, we yet again have a Council pushing for a traffic light at Line Creek on 54. On top of that a crazy intersection rebuild. Another effort that will make traffic even worse.


That is not the case for the West Village annexation areas. No sunsets were included in what was passed under Logsdon in 2007. It keeps coming back on us, with the current Council making it even worse.


Logsdon was an avid backer of the annexation and homes. He saw and sees homes and retail as economic development, just like some on the current Council.


Remember, he sat on the Dais and stated his intent in office was to build something on every empty lot in Peachtree City. One time fees are very appealing to some elected everywhere. But, once spent, we are stuck with the results and all the associated costs and impacts.


Lost in all of this is the issue of what is actually, fact based, good for Peachtree City.  Not just good for special interests or getting through one year's budget.


The properties at issue were originally purchased by John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods and Levitt and Sons. They negotiated with Council, under Mayor Logsdon, the agreements that put us in the position we are in today.


In 2009 Levitt bankrupted and his property was bought by Brent Scarborough and Roy Stillwell. As successor developers, they also inherited the annexation and other agreements.


In 2012 Wieland was purchased by Wheelock Street Capital So Wieland really exists in name only, today. They are also bound and empowered by the 2007 agreements.


Currently, unless something has changed, the sale of property to Kolter Homes by Scarborough is still pending. Yet, agreements with Council are already in place.


Review of the links I provided make it very clear neither of these corporations need 100 homes to be able to finance their share of the MacDuff extension. If they did, one would have to question their financial condition. This makes you wonder if Council did any homework at all.


I also ask here why Mike King said they had to approve it or else the developer would sue them. As well, why no one corrected him. All he had to do was first ask the City Attorney to be told Council was under no obligation to give them what they wanted versus telling them what was acceptable.


Sadly, there are no business people on Council. By that I mean someone who has actually owned and had been responsible for running and financing their own company.


I cannot see any business person making such a deal with no guarantees in place. Even worse when there were requirements to build the road before building homes.


As it is now, they can take years to build and sell the homes, which is probably a reality. Then wait until they want to build more before building the road, if at all.


So, we are looking at more traffic congestion and more infrastructure and service costs with no way to ensure the road gets built in the next decade.

On the other hand, we don't even know who will own these properties a year from now. Will there be more changes leaving behind agreements to successor developers?


Remember, as well, Centennial wanted MacDuff to include traffic suppression devices, but GDOT said no. It is a bypass, the purpose of which is to get traffic moving and keep it moving as quickly as possible.


GDOT has said, more than once, this bypass could, and probably will, increase congestion, not lower it. A reality it does not take a traffic engineer to understand.


What can I say beyond these are the people