This afternoon at 5 p.m. the Peachtree Corners city council will hold a hastily called "Special Called Meeting." Despite the fact that today is a holiday and schools, banks and government offices (including Peachtree Corners City Hall) are closed, the council will meet to authorize the expenditure of millions of taxpayer dollars to purchase the land across S.R. 141 from the Forum to prevent apartments from being built there. Unfortunately, there has been little public discussion of the subject. Many residents are unaware of the plan and none know how much money is at stake.
The following letter was sent to each council member earlier this morning.
Dear Council members,
Late yesterday (a Sunday afternoon) it was announced that there would be a Special Called Meeting of the city council this afternoon (a holiday when schools, banks and government offices are closed) at 5 p.m. It's no secret that the purpose of the meeting is for you all to take a public vote on buying the property affectionately known as "the Roberts property."
The rationale I have heard all centers on preventing the land from being developed into apartments. Please understand that I don’t relish the idea of apartments there any more than anybody else does. Given the proximity of my home to this property, any development is likely to have a negative impact on my property value and increase the traffic I deal with daily. But this isn’t about me. It's about you, and it's about keeping your word to the citizens of Peachtree Corners.
During your campaigns for council last year, all of you answered questionnaires from the Ballot Committee. The questionnaires covered a variety of subjects, including your opinions on transparency in city government operations, the need and use of city debt and the ultimate fate of "the Roberts property." If you’d like to review your answers, they can be found on the Ballot Committee’s website at www.peachtreecornersfacts.com.
At various times during the campaign, all of you expressed a belief in the need for transparency in the operation of Peachtree Corners government. There have been no city council meetings, town hall meetings, city referendums or any other communication between the council and the citizenry about the proposed purchase of this property. Can you explain how this reality comports with your aforementioned belief in transparency?
Asked about the need for long term debt, most of you were quite opposed to the idea. Councilman Sadd said, "…there is no need for it based on our City (sic) government objectives." After explaining the need for some short term start-up financing, Councilwoman Aulbach stated that, "Once these are paid off, we should not need to issue debt again unless the citizens approve a service or use that requires (it)…" Councilman Gratwick also explained the need for short term start up financing, then said, "There should not be a need for long term financing…" In his original response, the word ‘not’ was underlined and in a bold font.
As for the fate of the Roberts property, all of you recognized that it was already zoned for apartments. Several of you acknowledged the concept of property rights while expressing a desire that it ultimately be developed in a mixed –use manner. Councilwoman Aulbach said that, "The best use is one that provides a profit for the developer…" If only we had known that profit would come at the expense of the taxpayer!! But perhaps it was best put by Councilman Wright, who said, "…I do believe that…the city should not be in the business of trying to purchase the land."
These are your words folks. Will you stand by them? Or will you make excuses for them in the name of political expediency?