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City Council Announces Plans to Buy 'Roberts' Property

Peachtree Corners leaders said they would seek to enter into a contract to purchase 20+ undeveloped acres across from The Forum.

There was only one item on the agenda for Monday night's City Council meeting - but it was a big one.

The City of Peachtree Corners will pursue the purchase the 20+ undeveloped acres across from The Forum on S.R. 141.

Becoming land owners was not the intention when the city was formed said Mayor Mike Mason in his opening remarks. But to avoid having the property developed into 250+ apartments, it ended up to be the city's only option.

"We didn't know until October 2012 that Charlie Roberts (the current property owner at the time) had plans to sell it," said Mason. The new owner was Lennar, a Miami, Fla.-based apartment developer. "It was a big surprise to us," he added.

Mason said the city looked for other options but time was running out as the new land owner intended to break ground later this year on an apartment complex.

"When we took the oath of office we promised to protect the quality of life of Peachtree Corners," said Mason. "The city is already at a 50/50 mix of single family homes to apartments." The additional apartments would "not benefit the community in the long run," he said.

After adjourning to executive session the Mayor and Council returned and by unanimous vote approved empowering the Mayor, City Manager and City Attorney to enter a contract to to purchase the property.

"I think it's a great idea, and it's good for the community," said Peachtree Corners resident Tom Hering after the meeting. "And it's good to resolve the issue (of the Roberts property being developed into apartments) that has been hanging over our heads for years."

But at least one of the 50 or so residents who attended the meeting didn't agree. "I think it's a terrible idea to buy the land," said Brent Johnson, who had run for the Post 5 seat last year.

Editor's note: Please read the Q&A posted on Patch which provides a good bit of information on the land purchase, how it will be financed, what will be done with the property and more. Click HERE to be directed to the Q&A.

Judy Putnam (Editor) February 19, 2013 at 01:05 PM
You are most welcome Brian and thank you for reading Patch!
Doug Heckman February 19, 2013 at 01:23 PM
Glen - every single one of the people you mentioned are Republicans. The Democrats I know would not have decided to buy this property. It cdrtainly is not about political party - get your predjudices straight!
don simpson February 19, 2013 at 01:42 PM
My first reaction was no. But if it could be turned into a town center like Swanee's it would be an attractive addition to the area.
John Sexton February 19, 2013 at 01:43 PM
Next will be legal fees from the lawsuit by Lennar the City will have to absorb. I worked with them in the past and they have good attorneys. Maybe the City Council will personally cover the bills.
Ben February 19, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Roberts played the people of P'tree Crns like a fiddle, especially in this down market..and yes most of the people on our council are Republicians, but now, its hard to tell the difference...
Rob C. February 19, 2013 at 02:10 PM
This is why I voted against cityhood. What a terrible mistake. This is just the start to higher and higher taxes.
kevin adams February 19, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Trying to control is inherent to inheriting power. Something our founding fathers warned us about.
Brooke Siskin February 19, 2013 at 03:11 PM
The fight over this piece of land has been going on for years. I have lived in this area for 18 years, and this strip of land has been mentioned being turned into apartments many times. This is not about a quality of life or 50/50 tipping point? The real issue will be the traffic nightmare and the fact that the taxpayer will be somehow and someway be paying for this down the road! (No pun intended)
Iestyn Lewis February 19, 2013 at 06:21 PM
Wonderful! This taxpayer looks forward to paying taxes for local, positive growth. A town center a la Suwanee would be great.
Ground Chuck February 19, 2013 at 07:31 PM
Outstanding decision on the part of the Commission. Those opposed are either extremely short-sighted or just plain ignorant (go pick up a Sociology class and learn something). Peachtree Corners should move toward either a City Center with city headquarters or a fabulous park with plenty of green space. Way to go Mayor!
Ground Chuck February 19, 2013 at 07:32 PM
How so Brooke?
Ground Chuck February 19, 2013 at 07:35 PM
You Democrats should run out and register to run again. You all keep us entertained while wasting your time and money running for an office you have ZERO chance of winning.
Brian February 19, 2013 at 07:39 PM
Yes, our glorified HOA and trash collecting middleman needs a massive marble city headquarters with a gold dome.
Ground Chuck February 19, 2013 at 07:41 PM
Sure, guys. Perhaps they should just go ahead and make the apartments Section 8 Housing? That would fit right in with The Forum, right?
Ground Chuck February 19, 2013 at 07:46 PM
Q. How will the City pay for this acquisition? A. A 10 year bond. Q. Will my millage rate go up? A. No. Q. How can we afford it without increasing the millage rate? A. The Carl Vinson Feasibility Study did not include all sources of funding for the City, such as business license fees, insurance franchise fees, and commercial trash fees. These fees, which originally went to the County and now properly go to the City, will enable us to finance the purchase without increasing homeowner property taxes.
Duluth2 February 19, 2013 at 08:24 PM
What does political party have to do with this discussion?
Tom H February 19, 2013 at 08:47 PM
I was at the meeting when Mike Mason asked one great question. “Does anybody here want those 250 apartments built on that property” and not one hand or voice said yes. I commend our whole council for supporting this plan.
Deborah Parks February 19, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Arguably, this is a perfect location for condos, apartments or townhomes. With the Forum and other shopping/dining so nearby, the overall area would resemble the live/work/play mixed use developments that are currently so popular.
K.C. Jones February 20, 2013 at 03:53 AM
Chuck, the Carl Vinson study was used to push the "City Lite". The point is that this "government" is spending money it does not have. All money spent by the City comes from us. This property has been zoned for apartments since 2001, but it suddenly became necessary to call a special meeting with almost no notice and then meet in private to decide to buy it. GET REAL!! The bottom line is this will cost me money.
Ground Chuck February 20, 2013 at 04:56 AM
K.C., we'll just have to agree to disagree. You will not see a tax increase that will be attributable to this land purchase. Also, I have lived in this area since 1994, and originally lived on Peachtree Corners Circle on the other side of Holcomb Bridge Road. Today? You couldn't pay me to live in that area. What is the primary type of residence on Peachtree Corners Circle? Apartments.
David B. Manley February 20, 2013 at 05:36 AM
A statesmanlike decision by the mayor and council that will benefit Peachtree Corners and that follows the intent of the city charter.
Deborah Parks February 20, 2013 at 03:42 PM
This from Mike Mason as printed in the AJC, August 23, 2011: "We're not afraid of diversity, never have been," said Mike Mason, president of United Peachtree Corners Civic Association and a cheerleader for incorporation. "There is a sense of community in Peachtree Corners. We want to keep that." 'They don't have to move' Wow. "THEY" don't have to move? Really? However, as the City Council has made clear, we don't want any more of "THEM."
Deborah Parks February 20, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Pose the question, "Would you support the city purchasing this land to avoid apartments" and the response would clearly be different.
Vox Rationis February 20, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Deborah - you need to re-read that article, and, honestly, you should apologize. "They don't have to move" was NOT a quote from the Mayor. It was a quote from Larry Branscomb, and he was NOT making a racial comment. Larry was talking about the overall Peachtree Corners population. He was making the point that people can settle in our community and stay for the long-term. You really should not misquote people in such a harmful and unfair way.
Judy Putnam (Editor) February 20, 2013 at 06:30 PM
Good point Vox Rationis. Please people be fair in your comments. We're all responsible to get our facts straight. And remember you are writing about your neighbors.
Deborah Parks February 20, 2013 at 08:49 PM
What I quoted was cut directly from the AJC article. If we are welcoming to diversity, what exactly about the apartments is a threat to our "quality of life?"
don simpson February 20, 2013 at 09:21 PM
I don't have any problems with apartments. But is the last large tract of undeveloped land on a major street in the town. It is directly across from the forum. It is perfect for town city type development. One that should include some apartments, without question. This is implicit in a mixed use development.
don simpson February 20, 2013 at 09:23 PM
Of course I meant a town center type of development.
Vox Rationis February 20, 2013 at 09:49 PM
No, Deborah, that is not correct. You suggested Mike made a statement that he did not make, by incorrectly quoting from the article. The single quotes around the clause 'They don't have to move' indicate that it is a heading in the article. The double quotes around what Mike actually said indicate what he said. 'They don't have to move' is the heading for the next section of the article, which is about what Larry had to say. Just like 'Roots of community' and 'One service, few powers' and 'Unmatched coverage' are headers in the article. You can make your point without misquoting somebody. In fact, people might listen to you more if they don't think you are "cheating" to make a point.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew February 21, 2013 at 03:50 AM
Of course one could argue that the fees that will now dedicated to bond service here would have been used elsewhere, reducing taxes spent in those other areas...

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