An annexation request that would put another 90-family subdivision on the south side of the city was tabled on Thursday night to give the Peachtree City council more time to get their questions answered.
City Manager Dr. Jim Pennington asked the council to table the annexation request since, as city staff began reviewing it, new issues have arisen and it would give them time to review the economic analysis and address some concerns from the Peachtree City Airport Authority.
With several people on hand because of the advertised public hearing, the council opted to listen to a brief presentation by the developer’s representative and agreed to allow residents who showed up to speak in favor or against the project.
City attorney Ted Meeker said the council has up to 45 days from the time the public hearing was advertised to address the annexation, but also suggested that if they delayed the vote it should take the precaution of readvertising in the legal organ.
Councilmember Vanessa Fleisch pointed out that it could take sometime to review the airport authority’s concerns and to allow the finacne department to take a closer look at the financial analysis.
“I’d like to move forward to continue this for at least two weeks to see what the airport is coming up with,” said councilman Eric Imker. “I’m also going to task the staff to be cognizant of what is going to be brought up. I’ve gotten many emails with a lot of vague generalities and I’d like staff to record what they hear to night.”
Imker said he had his own list of ever-growing questions to be addressed.
“Council has had no formal input. We’ve had one meeting to say go-ahead, but other than what we got in the agenda packet, that’s it. I’m not prepared to base my opinion on that. I want to see fact-based pros and cons.”
Pennington recommended a workshop for council before going on to the next step.
Mayor Don Haddix agreed, saying there was data he wanted to see that hadn’t been included in the report.
“I do want to see an economic development comparison if the land is developed as office/instutuional versus residential. We don’t have that.”
Once again, Southern Pines Plantation group’s representative, attorney David Kirk, stepped forward to describe the development- called The Gates- that would make up the annexation.
The tract sits adjacent to Highway 74 and Redwine Road, and part of the front along 74 would be reserved for office buildings similar in design and feel to the surrounding businesses.
The tract had been zoned for industrial use under Fayette County’s zoning ordinances. Under the industrial zone designation, the parcel would offer about 177,000 square feet of potential industrial development.
“The plan I’ve seen under this zoning has a big box retailer on this location. What we’re seeking to do is have a small portion of the property used for O/I and the rest as limited use residential to develop a 90-lot single-family subdivision.”
Kirk said the proposal would give Peachtree City something it, thus far, didn’t have - control over a significant parcel located at the city’s southern gateway.
The plat proposes a total of 9.1 acres of land to be deeded to the city as green
belt, along with 18.2 acres of wetlands, streams, floodplains and associated buffers. Approximately 9.8 acres of land would be deeded as right-of-way. The densities are consistent with many of the existing residential subdivisions within the southern portion of Braelinn Village.
SPP has said it will donate a 50-foot greenbelt around the property for the city to control any subsequent committed to extensions of the sewer system and that and the sewer mains will be located 200 feet from the nearest property line. The company will also donate a 60-foot greenbelt along Highway 74 and landscape the entrance to keep a uniform look with other landscaped buildings along the corridor.
According to developer representative David Kirk, the commission’s initial concerns regarding connection and funding of multi-use paths at several locations and for restroom concession buildings at adjacent Meade Field and funding and property for the new Peachtree City welcome sign in that area was taken into consideration and they group arrived at slightly new and hopefully improved plan.
Their intent, he said, is to provide an estimated $300,000 in contributions to the city, by way of providing an estimated $36,000 for paths.
Another $160,000 is estimated to be the cost of land donation for the greenbelt areas, right of way and land for the entrance to the development, as well as right of way for the sewer connection path.
Additionally, the company is helping to fund the sign for the new location, since it will be a gateway into the city, with a $10,000 contribution and a deal of $100 a month towards maintenance for the next 20 years.
Kirk said their estimates show a large initial positive financial impact for the city, leveling out to a modest positive annual financial impact over time, with the cumulative 10-year figure at over $700,000. But, he noted, even if the overall figure was a ‘wash’ or slightly negative, he believed there were a lot of non-quantifiable things the city should take into consideration, including the control over the nature and look of the area, which would create a “rationalization of the boundary of Peachtree City to the south.”
“This is a compatible land use and the complementary nature of the land use makes sense from a planning standpoint and represents a significant reduction in land use intensity over current entitlements.
“The Gates will provide rooftops and workers to support the nearby commercial center at Wilshire Pavilion; it will serve as a catalyst and important contributor for sewer service in this basin and avoids the private lift station currently being proposed by [adjacent community] Somerby; and underwrites the cost of providing sewer to Meade Field. The housing type and price- at in the $300,000s- is aligned with demand and will not compete with the city’s current resale market. The families of The Gates will support the nearby schools and participate in life in the community.”
Nearby Breckenridge subdivision Homeowners Association president Ron Meyers said the members of his community were completely on board with the proposed development.
“We’ve seen a lot of different proposal for this parcel of land, most of which included leveling large sections of the hillside. It would be difficult to build anything but homes without doing that. I don’t think we’d be happy with some large building with lots of parking and lights and noise. We think this is a very responsible use of the land and we fully support it.”
Not everyone was on board with the proposed annexation. Local environmentalist Dennis Chase said the city needed to take into consideration the capacity of the sewer system.
“You would probably have to give up something else in the city for sewage treatment as you might not have the capacity to treat sewer in the industrial area.”
Resident Joshua Bloom, who had appeared before the planning commission to voice his objections, said though The Gates looked, on the plat mat, like a nice community, one problem they hadn’t discussed was the fact that the proposal violates the current land use plan.
“I believe there are better uses for this property, such as a corporate headquarters.”
Bloom noted the proximity of sewer and fiber optic lines, a four lane state route, accessibility to not only the local airport but to Atlanta’s international airport and the fact that the property isn’t landlocked, giving it an opportunity to grow.
“This parcel of land is much more valuable to shop around as a new piece of land for relocating a corporate headquarters than it is to open it up for newly constructed homes. Peachtree City doesn’t need a rapid influx of new construction homes hitting the market and 90 single-family homes will consume more in services than they pay in taxes and will force municipal services even further south.”
Bloom said that if the developer wanted to build houses, he should keep it in areas already zoned residential. Then referred to the possible concerns from the local airport.
“Airports and neighborhoods don’t get along well. Nuisance complaints have caused some airports to shut down.”
The council opted to address the issue at their October 18 meeting.