UPDATED — PTC annexation: 3 ran as opponents of expansion

UPDATED and expanded for print edition Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 — A 77-acre parcel that was zoned more than a decade ago by Fayette County for commercial, office and residential use on the city’s southern border — a rezoning opposed at that time by the Peachtree City Council because it violated the county’s land use plan — is now up for annexation by a different City Council, three of whom campaigned in 2009 as annexation opponents.

This time around, both city staff and a split city Planning Commission say the council should say yes and bring the parcel into the city. The annexation and rezoning request is on the council’s Thursday night agenda, with the meeting open to the public at City Hall starting at 7 p.m.

The proposal calls for two lots to be used for offices and 90 lots for residences on the 77 acres. The developer pledges to deed to the city a pond, greenbelt and buffers totaling 27 acres and road rights of way totaling nearly 10 acres.

The land has remained undeveloped in the county since its rezoning in 2000.

The property, now being dubbed as “The Gates” subdivision, is located directly off Ga. Highway 74 and Redwine Road. It is directly across the highway from a 13-acre tract of land that was annexed into the city in 2006 for office use, and to the south it abuts the Brechin Park subdivision in unincorporated Fayette County.

The closest residential development is also on the opposite side of Hwy. 74 The proposed development is also immediately adjacent to the city’s Meade Field recreation complex, which is to the north.

According to city staff, the parcel as currently zoned by the county for a mixed use of retail and office is nearly equivalent in size to The Avenue shopping center, which is located at the intersection of Ga. highways 54 and 74.

The two planning commissioners who voted against the annexation said they worried about the potential negative effect on the resale of existing homes in the same price range. Developer Southern Pines Plantation is proposing home sales around $350,000 with an average home size around 2,800 sq. ft.

There was also a concern expressed about having the site for a potential future corporate headquarters as the city is running out of such sites that are undeveloped.

The lot size of about one-third-acre each is smaller than the adjacent Brechin Park in unincorporated Fayette, but would still “provide consistency in land use,” according to a memo to council written by City Planner David Rast.

Three of the five sitting council members opposed such annexations when they ran for office in 2009. In answering detailed questions from The Citizen, council members Eric Imker, Kim Learnard and Vanessa Fleisch at that time came out unequivocally against further annexations after the West Village was brought into the city during a controversial annexation and rezoning of hundreds of acres.

“Annexing more land to build additional housing is obviously going to hurt existing unsold homes,” then-candidate Imker wrote in a letter to The Citizen July 21, 2009.

“After the approximately 1,400 [West Village] homes are built, I do not see any reason to expand the city limits through annexation. Adding more homes would cost the city a great deal in infrastructure and services that would always be a part of our budget. Continually planning for expanding fire, police, and cart paths while annexing in more land will wreak havoc on the budgeting process,” then-candidate Fleisch wrote to The Citizen on Oct. 27, 2009.

“Even an annexation that at first glance appears to be a cost benefit due to building permits and impact fees can end up costing a city millions of dollars over time,” then-candidate Learnard wrote to The Citizen on Oct. 27, 2009.

All three, however, raised no objections to the proposal in July when they granted the applicant’s request for consideration.

The developer has published estimates of a five-year net revenue increase to the city of $401,392 in taxes and fees if the annexation is approved as requested.

A city analysis of costs versus revenues was not available by press time.

The plan includes a 50-foot greenbelt surrounding the property and one condition from city staff is to insure that no sewer main or manhole is within 200 feet of an adjoining property line; that distance is required to make sure the city has control over whether the sewer is extended beyond the property.

Another condition of the proposed annexation requires at least three canopy trees on each parcel. SPP has committed to grading each lot individually in order to have the best chance of preserving trees on each parcel.

— Additional reporting by John Munford

Robert W. Morgan
Robert W. Morgan's picture
Joined: 10/26/2005
You know what they about people who buy ink by the barrel

You don't cross them or get into a fight with them. Here, exactly 24 hours before this annexation and rezoning comes up for a vote, The Citizen weighs in with the compelling case that 3 councilpeople made campaign statements against annexation (albeit one at the other side of town), So, John and Cal have recorded the sixth vote for tonite's meeting and it is a firm NO!

Ok, got it. I expect 3 or 4 other NO's as well. Just lay off the stuff about how 90 houses built over 5 or 6 years are going to hurt the 40 or 50 homes currently on the market that might sell in the next year - all of which are resales occupied by someone who might not be here for the 2013 election. That argument is silly and irrelevant and not really a supportable reason for turning down this project. Strain on city services, resources, something like that is a reasonable and defensible reason. Of course you can all vote no to the annexation without comment and without attacking each other - that would be a nice change.

Pretty exciting week for losers - last night it was Obama,

Tonite, the poor developer who never had a chance from the beginning. oh yea and the city loses too when we get that storage facility or a Racetrack store on the edge of our city.

Friday, the Cardinals (I hope)

Saturday, Clemson.

johenry's picture
Joined: 08/22/2006

Good for Cal Beverly!

Ms. Fleisch has turned out to be a real disappointment. She's a real estate agent and you can't help but wonder if she's going to make some money off of those homes.

One thing is for sure and that's you can't trust what these people say to get elected. Fleisch, Learnard and Imker have flip-flopped big time!! They're going to pay for this come re-election time.

Larry Sussberg
Larry Sussberg's picture
Joined: 02/12/2009
PTC Council do Proper Annexation Research!

Research, Research, Research!

Before we try to lynch our council members with an anti-annexation campaign let city council RESEARCH the facts.

Start with the real economic impact over a 1 to 5 then 6 to 10 year period. Then look at what has been previously proposed for those 77 acres and what impact that would have had.

Wasn't there a proposal to build another shopping center there and before that LOW TEMP manufacturing plant?

A shopping center 100 yards from the PTC Publix center could pull sales and tax revenue away from the city and if LOW TEMP built there that would have been a disaster.
An injection molding manufacturing plant outside the industrial park next to homes. Photocircuits waiting to happen again?

PTC COUNCIL...Do the research, look at the big picture then make a SMART decision for the entire community.

It's ok to change your minds if its based upon facts and proven good for the overall community.

And, whatever you decide, present your facts and pass out a handout so it's in writing, in case its NOT in "print".

Husband and Fat...
Husband and Father of 2's picture
Joined: 07/23/2012
Tell Me

Who has the most political clout in the county? Who can engineer elections, sway votes, tweek decisions?

a. Herb Frady
b. Steve Brown
c. Don Haddix
d. Local News Editor