'NO' is not a plan

Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. PC was founded on a 'Plan' by Paul Duke and has been carried on by the UPCCA. A new city will enable that vision of success based on a 'Plan' to continue.

NO is not a Plan

Have you ever heard the old saying “those who fail to plan, plan to fail”?  Ask almost any successful person in life if planning is a key aspect of his or her success and the answer will be in the affirmative. This applies to any career or project you can think of – military, education, business, medicine, sports, politics, etc. Without a plan you have no idea where you want to go or what you want to accomplish. 

Over the last four or five months there has been a concerted effort by the Peachtree Corners Yes campaign to make any and all information regarding the potential new city available to the public.  Obviously since this organization is FOR the city it had a pro city slant but bottom line is it presented all the available data and described the benefits of becoming a city.  This included the feasibility study conducted by the Vinson Institute of Government at UGA, copies of the city charter, town halls, presentations at HOA meetings along with countless e-blasts, blog articles, hand bills, mailings, etc. 

The point of this massive effort was to show a way forward for Peachtree Corners.  A ‘Plan’ if you will.  Some of you may ask “why does Peachtree Corners suddenly need a plan”?  We seem to be doing just fine. That is a common theme I hear from the No crowd – “Everything is fine. Why change anything.”  Some of you may not realize this but Peachtree Corners has been part of a ‘Plan’ from its very creation. 

Paul Duke had a vision back in 1968 to create a planned community where you could work, play and live.  The area that would become Peachtree Corners was nothing but rural farmland and woods at the time.  Paul Duke’s plan took this rural area and transformed it into the economic crown jewel of Gwinnett County. 

The crown jewel that Paul Duke created and which subsequently enabled Gwinnett’s growth did not come by accident.  It came as a result of the ‘Plan’ Paul Duke had laid out for Peachtree Corners. This plan was successful all through the '70s, '80s and early '90s. But as often happens in a long journey things change and adjustments are necessary. 

As a result of Peachtree Corners success (all because of Paul Duke’s ‘Plan’) all of the areas around Paul Duke’s Peachtree Corners began developing as well but without the benefit of a ‘Plan.’ The haphazard development taking place around us was a threat to all the success that had been created so far.  To combat these threats the UPCCA was formed in 1993 to help preserve what Paul Duke’s original plan had given us. The UPCCA assumed responsibility for helping ensure our area continued to have a ‘Plan’ and to try and avoid the fate of so many other areas that become victims of their own success and are overwhelmed by nearby development that detracts instead of adds value to the area.

The UPCCA has done much to help ensure our area has remained vibrant for the last two decades.  Recent success stories include the Peachtree Parkway Improvement Plan and The Forum.  However, the UPCCA is a volunteer organization and if you have ever attended one of their meetings you will see that majority of the members are either retirees or are approaching that age.  Unfortunately the younger generations have not felt the call to join their ranks to ensure this success story continues. The bottom line with the UPCCA is that it is doubtful that the volunteer efforts that have fueled their success will be able to continue into the future.

At the same time as the UPCCA is facing an aging volunteer base our area is under increasing threat of annexation by surrounding cities that are facing budgetary difficulties and are looking nearby for high end residential and commercial areas that can help their tax base. Peachtree Corners is a prime candidate for annexation.

Peachtree Corners is at a crossroads.  Do we want to move boldly into the future as an area with an independent identity that has a ‘Plan’ or do we want to go quietly into the night and eventually be absorbed by surrounding cities? 

The creation of our city would allow us to continue a nearly 50-year tradition of having a ‘Plan’ for our community. Paul Duke started it all. The UPCCA continued it.  But the world has changed since 1968 and 1993 and to be able to chart our own course requires NEW solutions and a NEW path. Incorporating will give us the legal protections to ensure we will be able to control our own destiny moving forward.  Without a city we will not be able to continue our tradition of having a ‘Plan’ that has marked our success since 1968. Instead others will mark the way forward for us.

What is the alternative? The alternative is what the NO crowd is offering you. They are offering you the status quo.  The status quo is the ending of nearly 50 years of having a ‘Plan’ that has led to great success for our area. The status quo is accepting the decline of nearby commercial and residential areas that did not have the benefit of a ‘Plan. The status quo will lead to a voice in Lawrenceville that will continue to shrink as our population becomes a smaller and smaller relative portion of Gwinnett’s population.

The NO crowd does not offer a ‘Plan.’  They have NO plan besides trying to convince you that becoming a city is the first step towards creating a massive government entity that will tax you into oblivion. The reality is that creating a city is the next, natural step in continuing to have a community that has a ‘Plan’ that is created and managed by local residents. 

Those will fail to plan, plan to fail.  The NO side has no plan. Their path does not lead to success because they have no plan. Planning leads to success. Creating a city is the continuation of a nearly 50-year tradition of following a ‘Plan’ that has made us so successful. Choose to continue that success on November 8th by voting YES. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Alex J. Wright November 06, 2011 at 02:53 AM
Duluth Mom, Freedom of Speech.......... you mean deleting posts on the facebook page and then claiming you didn't? BTW, you are not voting on Tuesday to elect the UPCCA to run the city. This fixation on the UPCCA not spreading news about Duluth HS or Duluth MS is beyond irrelevant to this discussion. I live in the Duluth school zone and I have four kids and it doesn't matter to me one bit that the UPCCA has supposedly never commented about Duluth school events. Why? Because its not relevant.
Duluth Mom November 06, 2011 at 02:56 AM
Alex I do not run the NO CITY facebook page nor do i know who does. I did not say your post were delete because i have no idea what happened. I also don't know what happened to the post by a friend of mine, April Starr, of the yes facebook that was missing within hours. Jeannie made a bold statement that she has never deleted any posts so I guess the missing posts on both facebook pages will remain one of life's great mysteries. As I say before I the owners of both facebook pages have control over them..
Duluth Mom November 06, 2011 at 03:00 AM
Alex If you don't' have children in the Duluth schools then I can see why this is not a problem for you, I am sure that you do care about where your children attend school it just doesn't happen to be Duluth.
Alex J. Wright November 06, 2011 at 03:05 AM
Duluth Mom, Just to clarify, posts don't deleted because you unlike a page. Posts got hidden or deleted by the administrator of that page. There is no "mystery" there. The fact that my posts were alluded to in other people's posts and that other people asked where my posts went are evidence of that. As far as your friend's comments being deleted off the Yes page as she been banned from the page. If not, I would encourage her to go back on the Yes page and state whatever is on her mind. People who feel they have the superior position should NEVER be afraid of allowing debate.
Duluth Mom November 06, 2011 at 03:06 AM
Blue Streak I guess since I never gave UPCCA my private email address they may have gotten it from one of the activities my children signed up for in the past few years. Funny that I had to request to be added to the no email list and just received my first email today. Personally I have bigger things to worry about then how someone got my email address or who deleted a post on a privately run facebook page. At the end of the day next Tuesday we will all need to learn to live together and do what is right for everyone.
Blue Streak November 06, 2011 at 03:08 AM
Amen, Duluth Mom. I will be glad when this is over.
Alex J. Wright November 06, 2011 at 03:11 AM
Duluth Mom, I didn't say where my four children go to school because it is not it relevant to the discussion. I live in the Duluth zone. I want the Duluth schools to be as good as possible because it impacts my home values. That being said the school issue is irrelevant because this vote has no impact on the schools. None.
Duluth Mom November 06, 2011 at 03:30 AM
I never said the vote had anything to do with the schools. But I have said and will continue to say that UPCCA has sent me many, many emails about all the activities at the Norcross school, mostly with fundraisers to benefit only Norcross. They have totally ignored everything to do with activities in the Duluth school where residents in 21 PC neighborhoods live. Am I supposed live in a city and possibly pay city taxes on my car and home so that I can hear all about only the Norcross schools where most of the UPCCA leaders children attend? If this is not about schools that tell UPCCA to stop using their mailing list and logo on fundraising letters for Norcross High school. I already sent them an email about it but i received another about Norcross this week. If PC doesn't want to support all of us PLEASE that take my street off your map and let me annex into Duluth where they do care about my kids schools events. I will gladly pay the additional taxes to live someplace where i feel someone cares about me and my family. UPCCA has proven to me that they do not care about the residents in my area.
Blue Streak November 06, 2011 at 03:41 AM
I wonder if it is mostly run by volunteers with connections to the Norcross schools? Do you know if any Duluth-zoned people are involved in volunteering for UPCCA? Maybe that would make a difference. It is certainly a sore subject. Years ago when my kids were young I felt like the PTA ignored our subdivision, so I got onto the PTA committees and it made a differences. You seem very passionate. I bet you would be a good asset to any government or entity going forward.
Harry Dorfman November 06, 2011 at 04:10 AM
Why bother the UPCCA folks are on a power trip
Jeanne Aulbach November 06, 2011 at 01:33 PM
I can answer most of that one. One of our local realtors, Rhonda Levan, has an e-mail list that is very beneficial for all us. She receives many items about Norcross High from different soyrces. UPCCA often forwards these items on. If UPCCA was forwarded items from Duluth High, I am certain the same thing would happen. The reality is very few of us live in the Duluth cluster. My neighborhood is one of them. We also have been in a different state senate and congressional district than the rest of Peachtree Corners. The recent redistricting corrected this. UPCCA has always considered us to be a part of Peachtree Corners. We had a rezoning issue with the county back in 2006 with three disparately zoned properties behind us being converted to town homes. We were referred to UPCCA and got invaluable help. They have supported us since then as well. If you drive by many of our neghborhoods, you will see Peachtree Corners sign toppers on most of the entries to our communities. We are Peachtree Corners. And we suppoprt the city initiative.
Jeanne Aulbach November 06, 2011 at 01:36 PM
Alex is correct. We want to have a healthy and civil debate about this. That is why no on is blocked from our Facebook page. I will repeat, I have never deleted a comment from there, or hidden a comment or blocked an individual from posting. I am the ONLY one who can do so.
Jeanne Aulbach November 06, 2011 at 02:09 PM
Duluth Mom, I have only ever wanted to have a civil debate. I understand that not everyone wants to live in a city. I am one of the few YES folks who ever got a chance to discuss this in a civil fashion in person with the NO folks. It was a good discussion. I felt I had found some new friends. I realize no minds were changed, but it helped me to understand their concerns. And I think it helped them to understand mine. It looks like Berkeley Lake is going to annex commercial properties all the way to South Old Peachtree. We will no longer be able to control what happens with those properties, so i confess I am very concerned about what that means for my community. At one point, I know Berkeley Lake was interested in us. We are contiguous to them. I spoke with someone from there years ago who indicated they would like the commercial properties along PIB that were then contiguous to us before the townhomes were built. Continued
Jeanne Aulbach November 06, 2011 at 02:10 PM
I also know Berkeley Lake was recently interested in residential property annexation. I spoke with some folks in the Bush Road area who were approached by them since the city initiative began. We were not approached even though we are contiguous to Berkeley Lake. Seems our properties are not at the right price point and they have the commercial properties they want without us. We would only drop their property values within their city limits. Why do I say this? Another community on the “wrong” side of North Berkeley Lake Road asked to be annexed. Their request was rejected based on their property values. We are not contiguous to Norcross. So we cannot be annexted there. And even if Norcross was interested enough to mount a campaign to annex properties in our direction, I doubt they will be able to. If their annexation of the Mitchell Road area succeeds on Tuesday, they will be way too busy merging that area in to the city for many years to come to bother with us. So we will be left in an island that no one wants. We have a single voice at the county table. So my question to you, Duluth Mom, is what will happen to the rest of us if we are not a city. Who will look out for us? What is your plan to protect us and our property values if the city does not succeed? Is just say no really a plan to help folks like me?
Duluth Mom November 06, 2011 at 02:27 PM
UPCCA should know better. Did anyone at UPCCA ever reach out to someone in Duluth. Did you ever ask one of your neighbor what was going on? As a board member of UPCCA and Avocet board wasn't it your responsibility to make sure the residents in your own neighborhood and the other neighborhoods Duluth were as well represented as all the other neighborhoods Jeanne your neighborhood would not even exist without myself and many of my neighbors. The developers wanted to fill that land with all apartments. We didn't need a city or UPCCA to work with the developer to stop the apartments. The land behind your neighborhood was rezoned at the same time for multi-family or commercial, I honestly don't remember which one. The land you are referring to is so close to PIB that no developer would or could sell homes backing up to PIB. Did you not complete your own due diligence before you purchased your home? What did you think that empty piece of land would become on day? I think you should be thankful that your have town homes in your backyard with a good buffer in between instead of a big box store. By the way anyone could purchase the sign toppers and have them installed. You can put up all the sign toppers that you want but by your own actions you have shown that we are not important to UPCCA.
Jeanne Aulbach November 06, 2011 at 02:43 PM
Mom, how will the YES folks "make and money" off of the city? Also, how can some "run" for a position that is not elective? And why should anyone on the YES side not run for a city office if they choose? Running and being elcted are two comlpletely different things. They would have the same chance of being elected as a NO person.
Duluth Mom November 06, 2011 at 02:46 PM
Jeanne You are stating your opinion, not facts. There were already several homes on Bush Road that are inside the city limits of Berkeley Lake. Asking a few more homeowner IF they want to join the city of Berkeley Lake is not a big deal. Avocet only touches the city limits of Berkeley Lake in the back corner of your neighborhood where the homes in Avocet back up to Berkeley Commons. Berkeley Commons is the only neighborhood in the city of Berkeley Lake that doesn’t have an entrance on one of the main roads of the city. Berkeley Commons is only a part of Berkeley Lake because it shares the swim and tennis and HOA with Berkeley Walk. It doesn’t make sense for Berkeley Lake to annex you. They would have to drive outside the city limits just to get to your neighborhood that only has an entrance on South Old Peachtree. Glad to see you state that city cannot annex a neighborhood if they are not contiguous to the city. Can’t tell you how many times I have heard that we have to become a city or Norcross will annex my home in ________ (fill in the blank with all of the following neighborhoods Amberfield, Linfield, Riverfield, Wellington Lake, Peachtree Station). Past behavior is usually a good indication of future behavior. Have a good day! Nothing you or Alex say can change my mind or the minds of most of my neighborhood.
Duluth Mom November 06, 2011 at 02:56 PM
The yes side took things to a whole new level yesterday. Code enforcement made a sweep yesterday afternoon and removed many of your illegally placed signs. Last night it looked like world war two with all the yes signs on Medlock, Spalding and 141. You want to make the laws but you can't even follow the laws that are already on the books. Summary of The Law It is illegal to place signs and banners within ten feet of a public roadway in Gwinnett County. They are also illegal in a median, on utility poles, traffic signals and trees, on public property, on private property without permission, or within the right-of-way. The right-of-way is typically the unpaved area between the edge of the roadway and utility poles and can be over fifty feet wide. Illegal signs are typically made of corrugated plastic or paper and advertise something (there is no right to commercial free speech). Offenders are subject to multiple citations, court summons and fines up to $1000 PER SIGN! Hope you pay off all your fines.
Jeanne Aulbach November 06, 2011 at 03:11 PM
Mom, I did do due diligence. My agent found the property behind me was zoned R100. That abutted an O&I property and the corner was C2. We expected the area behind us to go to office. We were OK with that. We were OK with the retail strip at the corner as well. We would have been OK with less density for residential. We had hoped the price point would be closer to ours. UPCCA did become involved. I contacted our Planning Commissioners when I got the notice of the town homes development. They put us in touch with the UPCCA. The Planning Department recommended denial. We found out at the last minute that there were sufficient votes on the BOC to pass the rezoning request. So we had to go with the second nest plan, condition it to minimize the impact. The BOC did not vote on this at their public meeting. They tabled until a work meeting the following week. Chairman Bannister abstained from the vote. Commissioner Kennerly did not attend the meeting. Wonder why? Did Bowen Family Homes have some influence on this? Long story short, we were sold out by the county.
Jeanne Aulbach November 06, 2011 at 03:11 PM
As far as UPCCA, all the neighborhoods around Avocet are involved to an extent with the UPCCA, even if they are not dues paying menbers. We have worked together on many zoning issues. So yes, we do all have representation here along SOP & Lou Ivy, Sign toppers at the neighborhood entries are only placed by BOD's if there are HOA's. All the sign toppers I mentioned were placed by the BOD representing the HOA's of those communities.
Jeanne Aulbach November 06, 2011 at 03:20 PM
Mom, thanks. We will agree to disagree in a very civil fasion. I appreciate that. And on Wednesday, we will still be neighbors.
Duluth Mom November 06, 2011 at 03:40 PM
Jeanne Gwinnett County didn’t sell you out. Your neighborhood would not even be there without Gwinnett County, myself and my neighbors working together to not allow hundreds of apartment to be built on that site. We didn’t need a city to pull us together. I have lived and worked an many zoning issues in the area long before UPCCA and most of it’s board member even lived here. The small strip of property where the townhomes now stand was not included in the original site map for your neighborhood since it was so close to the corner of PIB and South Old Peachtree. The first street on the right was added to your neighborhood plan after most of the neighborhood was constructed. Homes were selling well at the time and the builder thought that property would be far enough away from PIB to be able to sell a free standing home. Gwinnett allowed the best use of the land possible. What do you want with property that is between a commercial area and a residential neighborhood? South Old Peachtree is all resident in that area with townhomes across the street. Townhomes where people own the property and live in the homes is a much better use of the land that offices. You should be grateful the Gwinnett County allowed the townhomes. I am sorry that you don’t want to look at a townhome across the buffer but don’t blame Gwinnett County on this one.
Blue Streak November 06, 2011 at 04:31 PM
I've lived in Peachtree Corners for nearly a quarter of a century. I raised my kids here and put them through public schools, then UGA. I worked full time. Peachtree Corners has always run on volunteerism. I volunteered in the classrooms, on the PTA committees, at the swim and tennis, on the homeowners, for rec-league activities, on booster club boards, at the church. It's always the same people who show up when the call for volunteers goes out, giving their free time for free to make the community thrive. Some of the names I've seen bantied about as villains in this campaign belong to faces I've seen volunteering everywhere, working for free for the community for many years. Putting their faces in the places. In my experience the people who complain the loudest are the ones who do the least. After 25 years I'm tired of volunteering. I'm ready to pay $140/year--less than home owners dues, less than swim and tennis dues, less than rec club or even school activity fees, less than that new Christmas tree I probably don't need--for a solid structure to lead the community. Let's stop the silly bickering and do what is best for our community.
Mim Harris November 06, 2011 at 05:18 PM
I have only lived in Peachtree Corners for 12 years and I think it is wonderful to see how well this area has prospered on the volunteerism of its people. Whether I am volunteering at my school, church, swim tennis or community I am impressed with the new people I meet each time. Yes, there are always familiar faces but their are always new ones as well. I do not believe that those that support cityhood are villains. I respectfully do not agree that government is the solution. I choose to volunteer because I have a passion for the idea or need. I have faith that the volunteerism and growth of our area will continue as older volunteers burn out new ones always step in to fill the void. I believe in my neighbors enough that we do not need a government to keep this area great. I agree about the bickering and I hope that after Tues we will still be the small community that relies on its people and not government. Lets vote No on Nov 8th.
Blue Streak November 06, 2011 at 06:12 PM
Mim, I don't share your faith, but I appreciate the tone in which you present your view.
John Schell November 07, 2011 at 04:07 AM
Sadly, volunteers cannot do everything. The difference between Peachtree Corners in 1990 and Peachtree Corners today is a testament to that. Vote YES on November 8 to prevent your home values from reaching parity with the rest of Gwinnett!
AL November 07, 2011 at 11:46 AM
Bottom line: I'm voting "Yes" because I think cityhood is the best way for PC to be prepared for whatever the future may bring (key word: Prepared). Pardon the mixed metaphors, but voting "No" is tantamount to rolling the dice, and being up the creek without a paddle (just hoping that the flow will continue to guide you along in the right direction without any guarantee).
Another Duluth parent November 07, 2011 at 10:42 PM
Mr. Wright, I have to strongly disagree with your comment, "...this issue has nothing to do with schools. The schools are totally unimpacted by this vote." Why would I want to be a part of a city that shows no interest in my local public school? Earlier this year, the Duluth Cluster fought a difficult battle against a GCPS Redistricting plan that was unfair and discriminatory. The Duluth mayor, Nancy Harris, wrote a letter opposing the plan and read it not only at a Duluth City Council Meeting, but she also came to the next GCPS School Board meeting to read it in person! Where was the voice of UPCCA supporting the Duluth Cluster schools? The second reason that I will vote NO is that I am concerned that "the money" (i.e., upper socio-economic households) of Peachtree Corners will be able to pass whatever they want in the future (e.g., expanding services to the myriad full-city services in the charter and increasing taxes) because the people that have been included with the extensive boundaries beyond the true Peachtree Corners (in order to meet the diversity requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965) won't have the same financial and political clout to oppose it.
Alex J. Wright November 07, 2011 at 11:06 PM
Another Duluth Parent, Thanks for your comments and your interest in this issue. A few thoughts...... 1. I'm not a member of the UPCCA but during this particular debate about schools/the patch/the UPCCA I was informed that the UPCCA simply was passing along info it received regarding the Norcross schools. From what I am told no info was passed along regarding Duluth schools because no info was ever given to it. The UPCCA did not go out seeking the info to pass along. It is the same in my neighborhood. The HOA sends out a newsletter of info people give them. I suspect moving forward if info is sent to the UPCCA about Duluth schools they certainly would share it. I am in the Duluth cluster and I support the Yes side so I certainly would want the UPCCA and the city to be strong supporters of the Duluth cluster. 2. Don't take this wrong way but none of us get more votes because we make more money. There are only so many high income people in our area. We have seen clearly at a federal level that when organized properly any group can wield political power equal to their numbers or in some cases in excess of their numbers regardless of income level. Take a look at the demographic data on the new city. It is quite diverse. The only reason people who be heard is because they are not making themselves heard.
Duluth Mom November 08, 2011 at 05:55 AM
Hope I corrected my typo's so Lori wouldn't yell at me. Sorry kept hearing car noises outside and I was hoping to catch the crooks. Most of the zoning for the area done was years ago. Only the land across from the Forum which is zoned for multi-family and a few small tracts have yet to be built on. When there is a true need people will always step up. There are many of us that continue to work weekly and some of us daily for Peachtree Corners. We do it because we love where we live. We don't need the pats on the back. Having said that I have never been more scared of the future of Peachtree Corners as I am right now with how ugly this has gotten. The damage to the NO CITY signs has been unbelievable. Cutting out the NO out the large signs and continuing to cut the smaller signs with boxcutters is beyond normal behavior. The stealing of NO CITY signs from private yards is sneaky and totally uncalled for. Many residents have replaced their signs 2 or 3 times. Tonight the thief's made their way around the area again taking away our rights to freedom of speech. If this is happening now before the vote why would I want these group to lead Peachtree Corners. Think long and hard folks. Forget all the pretty words and pretty promises. Read the CHARTER. Understand it. Look at all that has happen. Do you want more of this criminal behavior? Once the charter is approved it can't be stopped.


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