Retail size caps for LUC voted down

A proposal to establish various maximum size limits for new development zoned limited use commercial was voted down by the Peachtree City Council.

Mayor Don Haddix advocated for similar restrictions for all new development on land zoned general commercial, but that measure failed March 3.

Because of that, Haddix argued that it did no good to adopt the size caps for limited use commercial zoning districts.

City planning staff had recommended against the size limits. The planning commission did also, fretting that it would take away the flexibility currently allowed by the city’s special use permit process.

Under current ordinance, any developer wanting to build any single commercial building larger than 32,000 square feet ... or any shopping center with a combined size of more than 150,000 square feet ... has to get a special permission from the City Council to do so.

Only one SUP has been granted since the process was adopted several years ago.

The special use permit for the Line Creek shopping center, proposed for the southwest corner of Ga. Highway 54 and Planterra Way, was approved Feb. 2008. It has since expired because no activity has taken place on the site for more than two years.

There are very few parcels zoned for new commercial development that would allow a new big box store, city officials have said.

The size limits for general commercial properties would have varied depending on the use of the business.

That meant the maximum sizes would have differed based on whether the development was a grocery store, restaurant, sporting goods store or toy store and so on.

Had the size limits been adopted, the city would be changing from a subjective measure that takes into account various data such as traffic studies, landscaping and more to a hard and fast “yes or no” for larger retail stores.

The size caps on limited use commercial development was voted down unanimously, though Haddix qualified his vote saying it was not because he disagreed with the proposal.

“My basis is not that I disagree with it. My basis is with it is that it’s pointless,” Haddix said.

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