F’ville eyes possibilities for annexing 1,099 acres

Graphic supplied by City of Fayetteville. Top is looking west, north is to the right, east at bottom.

Talks driven by movie-TV production studios coming north of Piedmont Fayette Hospital

It is all in the preliminary stages, but get ready for a flurry of activity in the areas west and northwest of Fayetteville in the coming months.

Potential annexations, sewer service and developing an updated master plan for the area were all topics at the Fayetteville City Council retreat held Feb. 22.

The reason for the discussion is the recent announcement that British-based Pinewood Studios Group wants to establish its first U.S. film and television studio facility in north central Fayette County.

On the topic of potential annexations, City Manager Joe Morton said the city has recently been approached by the owners of the Rivers, Horton and Williams properties just west of Fayetteville about annexing into the city.

So what properties could be potential annexation areas for the city? They can be divided into two basic groups with options in each. The first group would potentially include the 288-acre Rivers property known as Pinewood’s Project Stargate and situated along Sandy Creek Road, the Horton property adjacent to the north side of the hospital and the Williams property to the east of Sandy Creek Road and adjacent to Crystal Lake.

The Horton property consists of 97 acres immediately south of Project Stargate and another 42 acres just across the Veterans Parkway and adjacent to the north side of Piedmont Fayette Hospital. The south side of the Horton property also borders portions of Sandy Creek Road south of Veterans Parkway. The Horton property would be needed to extend sewer to the Project Stargate property.

The Williams property consists of 153 acres and is situated immediately to the west of Crystal Lake on Ga. Highway 54 and east of Sandy Creek Road. The property extends northward toward the bypass.

The second group of potential annexation sites were featured on the map for discussion purposes. Though not required for the installation of the main sewer lines, there are a number of other parcels that could potentially tie into sewer if it becomes available.

The Rivers family owns a 45-acre tract adjacent to the north side of Project Stargate, a 126-acre tract immediately to the east of Stargate along Sandy Creek Road and a 136-acre tract to the southwest, a portion of which is adjacent to the Horton property.

City staff noted that the 30-acre Rivers Elementary School at Sandy Creek Road and Veterans Parkway is currently being considered for sale by the Fayette County Board of Education. The site is being considered as a campus for the Savannah College of Arts and Design.

Additional properties that may or may not want to be considered for annexation include the 122-acre Lester property along Hwy. 54 between Veterans Parkway and Tyrone Road and a 60-acre site northeast of the Lester tract owned by the Fayette County School System for a future high school.

Yet another large tract, the Trammell property at more than 350 acres, is located north of the Lester tract and the school system property. It was noted at the retreat that the property owner has not expressed an interest in annexation.

While currently under review to obtain a General Business (GB) zoning in unincorporated Fayette County, annexing into Fayetteville could fall under a zoning category such as Planned Community Development (PCD) for Phase 1 of the studio project and under the R-70 residential zoning for remaining property that would mimic the current county zoning for residential property.

Morton said the property owners could work with the city in parallel with the current effort to have the county rezone the Project Stargate area as GB. Morton said the annexation and rezoning activities could be achieved in 60-90 days.

Pertaining to the updated master plan for the potential development of the area, the joint effort between the city, county, Fayette County Development Authority, large land owners and Peachtree City-based Historical Concepts will begin a series of meetings in the coming days to work out plans for the area that encompasses approximately 2,000 acres to the east, north and west of Piedmont Fayette Hospital.

The updated plan will follow a previous concept plan developed in recent years where the large area was potentially targeted for several hamlets and neighborhoods and would cluster commercial and residential development and leave large areas of land as open space.

There were several options relating to the potential installation of sewer on the various properties. All options and configurations are preliminary and were included in the discussion to provide council members with a way to begin envisioning potential courses the city might take dependent on which property owners might request annexation and how sewer might be provided to those properties if the annexation requests included sewer service.

The options ranged from $350,000 to $1.7 million and will be discussed in greater detail in the coming months once development plans for the area are announced.

In terms of funding options for the installation of sewer, those costs could come from refinancing existing city debt, from requiring the developer to cover the costs or to utilize a proportionate share schedule.

Fayetteville currently has a sewage treatment capacity of 5 millions gallons a day, but utilizes less than half of that capacity.

zincc
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Really?

I'm thinking that many of you are forgetting the title of the article. It is about annexing land, not what or who is responsible for the "Road to Nowhere" or the West Fayette By-Pass. Let's be real here, those of us living here at or very near the "Road to Nowhere" or the West Fayette By-Pass would be very happy to not have the road!! Simple as that. It has caused nothing but trouble for us and obviously will cause even more in the future. Don't get me wrong, our economny is in the tanks and we will benefit greatly from the studio being built (as a county on the whole). But most of you will not be impacted like those of us living here. So, let's get back to the annexation - why does the city want this land? Well, of course it means more money in their coffers and less money in the overall county coffers. Why all of a sudden are we considered "worthy" for the city? We aren't "worthy" now? Come on, people. Get real and talk the truth!

americanpatriots
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Sore loser Lee Hearn

Lee Hearn, sore-loser former commissioner, spoke at this week’s meeting and asked several utterly stupid questions, made accusations against the current commissioners, and then bolted for the door without waiting for a response just like he did at a previous meeting.

Those in attendance were visibly annoyed with his insulting demeanor and many commented after the meeting that they wish he would just go away.

I overhead one individual who said “the November vote tally suggests that even his family and neighbors in Brooks didn’t vote for him.”

AARG! Hearn said he would be coming back.

Didn’t he and his pals Maxwell, Smith, Frady, and Horgan get the message that we had had enough of their “good ole boy closed door secret politics” when we soundly kicked them out of office?

Frady did not seek another term because he knew he couldn’t possibly win.

Jim Richter
PTC

Husband and Fat...
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Jim, don't get your panties in a wad

Put on your man pants today or grow thicker skin. Who really cares what the former commissioner says anyway. Obviously, he scares you or you wouldn't give it another thought.

No Hearn fan here, but you need to keep your Tea Party clean. Wow, we all feel included with various prayers. We all feel good about the Steve Brown "good ole boy committees" being formed without transparency. I guess the old jail committee was a real emegency or the Hallelujah commissioner would have said something. Oh yea, the people placed by Brown were all friends of his.

Haven't heard one of your boys even acknowledge that any of the recent good fortune was actually started before they took office and they are just running with it. But giving credit to the old guard wouldn't advance the agenda now would it?

Jim, most of the streets in FC go both ways, you just don't see that.

stranger than f...
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The Road to Nowhere Led Somewhere

Now that the Pinewood Studio group has expressed interest in the property on the "Road to Nowhere," it exposes the Lilliputians in the Tea Party and the county commission who so voraciously opposed the West Fayetteville by-pass as small-minded, power-hungry politicians who lack any vision for the county. The deafening silence of these "nattering nabobs of negativism" demonstrates that this insular group will not admit their errors, and commissioner Brown (the most vocal opponent of the roadway) is suddenly a great proponent of the economic boost it brings to the county.

Your choices are the proponents of: "The road to nowhere" vs. "Build it and they will come." Judge for yourself who should lead our county. Just don't expect our current crop of county commissioners or the tea baggers ever to admit how woefully wrong their opposition to the West Fayetteville by-pass turned out to be. That would require integrity. LOL

AtHomeGym
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STF & "Road to Nowhere"

So you actually believe that if the WFB did not exist that Pinewood Studios would not have considered building there?
Just what are the actions taken by our current Board of Commissioners you disagree with--and why? They deserve specific citizen feedback. And to insinuate that they have an absence of integrity is undeserved sounds like someone who would take/make a cellphone call in the Library!

stranger than f...
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Integrity Absent from the Board of Commissioners - reply to AHG

Supported by the tea baggers, our current commissioners ran for office on a platform that specifically castigated every former commissioner who supported the West Fayetteville by-pass. They derided proponents of the WFB mercilessly and dubbed it the “road to nowhere.” They cited support for the WFB as a moral failure of the sitting and former commissioners.

Now that Pinewood Studio group and SCAD are showing interest in the area served by the WFB, our commissioners are having a change of heart. They want to demonstrate how welcoming our county is to new development by the infrastructural improvements they deeply opposed only a few short months ago.

They lack integrity because they will not confess their hopeless short-sightedness to the WFB, and they will undoubtedly attend all the ribbon cuttings acting as if they were instrumental in attracting these new businesses. They can regain some integrity by admitting that their predecessors apparently were not the fools that they constantly portrayed them as. They can give credit where it is due instead of taking a single ounce of credit themselves. For this group of commissioners, I fear that is “a bridge too far.”

AtHomeGym
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STF & Integrity

You do realize, don't you, that 3/5 ths of the Board didn't "deeply opposed" anything several months ago, as they WERE NOT COMMISSIONERS THEN! Sounds like you thought the former Board was just dandy and did lots of smart things--were you a Lee Hearn supporter? I will stand by our current Board until I determine they have done something colossaly stupid--then I will openly criticize. But not over miniscule boo-boos of minor consequence as micro-management usually fails in the final analysis. Try being positive and you may discover it feels pretty good! Finally, for Pete's sake, let's knock off the "who gets the credit" jazz--that's surely part of today's problems--everybody is worried about stroking someone's ego---not important--be glad it's gonna happen and MOVE ON!

stranger than f...
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Get Real about the commissioners AHG

Perhaps you slept through the last county commissioner campaign. Fueled by tea party venom for the three ousted commissioners, the newbies conducted the most negative campaign for a local election Fayette County has seen in the last 25 years. Their vitriol for the former commissioners was palpable and all three ran on their unyielding defiance of the WFB. Follow this link:

http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/08-21-2012/ognio-swamps-incumbent-hea....

Your call for comity is a bit late, don’t you think. I have no affinity for the previous commissioners, but I view the current group as Steve Brown sycophants who are beholden to the tea baggers (a lethal combination for us residents). In their few short months in office, they’ve already broken the law and generated ethics complaints. Now they have developed amnesia about their opposition to the WFB. Get real!

AtHomeGym
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STF, Campaign & Election

No, I didn't sleep through the campaign, did you sleep through the Election? You want to say all those who voted got it wrong? Think you'll lose that one. Maybe you should consider a run when a vacancy comes up--get right in there and clean house and right the ship!

stranger than f...
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reply to AHG

You have asked me specific questions about my perceptions concerning the integrity of the current commissioners. I have answered you thoroughly and clearly exposed their former vehement opposition to the WFB that is deafeningly silent today.

Your answer = We won, so there. Touché. Mr. Obama won as well. I guess your point is that you can always trust the voters to do the right thing. Sleep well with that thought.

AtHomeGym
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STF & Interpretation

I did NOT say "We won, so there"---that's just your twisted interpetation. If you recall, that's the line from POTUS to some members of Congress. Well, I'm outta here-got some preparation to do for Duke/Miami roundball game!

mudcat
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The bypass wasn't a factor for the studio

Unless I am misreading the map, all the studio has to do is build a road or a driveway off Sandy Creek Road - and Sandy Creek was there long before the WFB - wasn't it?

New Commission not a factor either.
And I doubt anyone can possibly believe that since this fell out of the sky during the new commission under a new chairman - during their first month in office that the old commissioners had nothing to do with it? The big 3 spent a lot of time freezing out Brown and McCarty from things and rightfully so if there was some secrecy involved in the negotiations with the studio. So, who gets the credit? Brown and company? Or can we expect to see Lee Hearn and (gasp!) Jack Smith up there sharing the big shears at the ribbon cutting? Ginger Gibbs and Matt Forshee did the real work, but some of the old guard helped make it happen.

I have seen several openings and ribbon cuttings where the current mayor or chair invited their predecessor or even a civilian (like Doug Warner) to share in the credit for something big. It is the classy thing to do - just like being respectful by wearing a tie.

Come to think of it, maybe Brown won't even be invited to the ribbon cutting. If the annexation goes through, this becomes a city project. Then we have the new mayor (in a coat and tie) deciding whether or not to invite Ken Steele. We know for a fact Ken was involved in the secret land plan, wasn't he? This could get real interesting.

Husband and Fat...
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Stranger

I see your point and doubt any of the current commissioners will ever admit that the former commissioners did anything positive.

If they were truthful, they would have to admit that the job is not as easy as they thought. Prior to being elected 2-3 of them would stand before the commission and tell them they were not being transparent. They would issue letters to the editor stating the same. Now, 2 months into their term, they have appointed committees without posting the openings, and have altered their powers to allow for direct contact with county employees. Though they state that the committee was needed right away and that they will only ask employees to obtain simple requests, it opens the doors to other problems down the road. If the former commissioners did this, they would have been screaming that the sky was falling.

Though, I do think 4 of the 5 are doing a good job thus far, most intelligent people realize that the good news happening started well before the three amigos took office. They just happened to have this fall in their lap and are more than happy to run with it. After all, we have to do something with this road.

In hindsight, the economy and the way the county took some of the land was the true downfall of the old regime. Had we had a chairman that was not a pompass snob and handled some issues a little better, I don't think we would have had such a massive overhaul on the commission.

If they wanted inclusivity, they would have done something besides the prayer.

stranger than f...
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Good Points Husand

Good points Husband and Father. We'll see if any one of the five has the intestinal fortitude to acknowledge their successors' wisdom. Highly unlikely for these tea bagger-backed midgets.

The commissioners really are in a quandary. If they admit that the infrastructure improvements of the WFB assisted this development, they must give credit to the very commissioners they mercilessly vilified in order to gain their office. If they say that the improvements were irrelevant to attracting the new industry, they will be seen as the short-sighted fools that they are. I will guess that they will take all the credit for enticing the new industry and avoid any mention of their former criticisms. They are nothing if not predictable.

mudcat
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Build it and they will come? You kidding of course

One look at the so-called "plan" for that area that Todd Strickland did under the radar for the landowners or maybe the county will reveal that residential subdivisions was all that was envisioned. Bad timing , of course made that dream inoperative. The studio thing was not driven by the road, it was driven by a huge piece of undeveloped land and for once a business-friendly attitude from local government - and probably the state tax credits.

By the time that studio is built, you will see many former opponents taking credit for building that road. And guess who the head cheerleader will be.

S. Lindsey
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Mudcat...correct

$40+ Million sure would have gone a long way to fix those infrastructural issues we have..

But like you said they will be stand up there as they break ground saying see we told you so..

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