PTC says OK to sidewalks in 3 new subdivisions

One of Peachtree City's few sidewalks, this one a state-mandated stretch alongside Ga. Highway 74 south of its intersection with Hwy. 54. On this sidewalk, only people are allowed, no golf carts. Photo/Bonnie Hester.

Three new subdivisions requesting to build sidewalks will get a go-ahead from Peachtree City, but only if a homeowner’s association is responsible for their maintenance.

While many of the city’s subdivisions are served only by cart paths, more than a handful already have sidewalks, including the North Cove subdivision which has a homeowner’s association in charge of maintaining the sidewalks, according to City Manager Jim Pennington.

The benefit of allowing sidewalks is it provides a safe place for pedestrians to stay out of the road, Pennington said. Councilwoman Kim Learnard said while she at first thought sidewalks were a departure from the city’s signature golf cart paths, she realized that when she goes to a friend’s subdivision to walk, they use the sidewalks instead of the path system.

Mayor Vanessa Fleisch suggested the city look into requiring homeowners associations for all new subdivisions so such maintenance items can be handled by those groups instead of the city.

Pennington noted that water lines and other utilities usually run under the sidewalks because they are in the right of way, which means the sidewalks are torn up when repairs to those underground utilities are necessary.

On the positive side, however, sidewalks are considered a big benefit to older adults, who appreciate not having to walk on the road when they go out to exercise, Pennington added. Plus, sidewalks are seen to add value to the homes that will be built in those subdivisions, Pennington said.

Councilman Terry Ernst said one concern he had was the potential for the sidewalks to be improperly used as cart paths, much like problems that are occurring on the unwanted sidewalks along Ga. Highway 54 that were built several years ago when the road was widened.

The city has no rules preventing sidewalks from being installed, and council was in no hurry Thursday night to implement such a rule. It was made clear, however, that the city wants to avoid maintenance responsibility for any new sidewalks.