To imply that Peachtree Corners is like a baby to Jeanne Aulbach, current at-large City Council member for Post 4, isn’t an exaggeration. Because she was so engrossed in the city’s launch, she saw being a part of the City Council as a natural next step. “Once we became a city, it’s kind of like birthing a baby. We’ve given birth to a baby. Now let’s make sure we raise it right,” she says.
Aulbach feels that she and her fellow council members have been working hard over the past five years to make sure that the “raising” is indeed done right. She notes a few of their accomplishments and projects.
- Writing the original Comprehensive Plan in just nine months
- Adapting codes and regulations from Gwinnett County to fit the needs of Peachtree Corners
- Making the bold move to borrow $11.5 million as a brand-new city (and then creating Town Center)
- Establishing a public trail system
- Creating Echo Lakeside, the millennial housing community, in Technology Park Atlanta
- Starting an Arts Council
- Establishing the Green Committee and the Human Resource Committee, both of which were initiatives by Aulbach
As far as the future of Peachtree Corners, she admits there is still much to be done. “One of the reasons we’re not moving forward faster is because we are maintaining our zero-millage rate. So, we’re planning projects as we can afford them,” she notes.
Aulbach acknowledges that District 1 is a concern saying, “We’ve adopted zoning codes that would promote redevelopment. But one of the issues we have with that area is the apartments are old. And we’ve gone in with Code Enforcement and forced people in there to make improvements… But the problem with the apartments is they’re like 95 percent occupied and they’re cash cows. So, to try and get somebody to just give up their apartments is very hard.”
However, Aulbach doesn’t consider the area to be a lost cause by any means. “It is changing down there, but we really need a more thriving commercial community down there too…It looks like we’re focused up here, but we really have our eye on the whole city. We’re very aware of the needs down there,” she says.
Aulbach points to the city’s efforts to improve Mechanicsville (in Gwinnett County) as an example. When a paving and concrete company that had been a nuisance to its neighbors proposed putting its headquarters there, Aulbach and the city recognized the opportunity to begin cleaning up the area. “By putting that in, they’re going to have to maintain that property to a good standard. And we’ve also got Code Enforcement down there now, and that was my initiative,” she says. She notes East Atlanta as an example of the powerful turnaround an area such as Mechanicsville can have with the right help and the right people. “There is some value there. There are homes there that could be very nice …You just have to have the vision to see. It just needs to be maintained. It’s a great place for entry level. So, if we can get things cleaned up, get it neat and tidy, get people in there who are gonna take care of that area, it could be a very nice place.”
She’s also confident that the economic growth District 1 and the entire city crave will continue to come. She says, “I read real estate reports, you know, when the apartments sell, and they always describe our market as very hot. We’re so close to the perimeter. We’re close to Dunwoody…We have great office spaces that are open and available that are less expensive than, you know, in our neighboring communities. So, businesses are moving in now.”
The future of Peachtree Corners looks bright to her, “I’m so excited. We’ve got so much going on, so much more to do…It’s a joy. My day job pays for this job,” Aulbach says of the “job” she hopes to continue to have after the elections.