With Kohl’s out, Fischer Crossings ball fields still in limbo

The Fischer Crossings commercial development on the northeast corner of Ga. Highway 34 and Fischer Road was back before the Coweta County Commission Tuesday night. The site lies less than a mile to the west of the city limits of Peachtree City.

It was for consideration of conditional use permit requests pertaining to the daycare center and football fields proposed for the area to the north of the retail portion of the property.

But the approval by commissioners was not really an approval at all since the vote puts the matter back in the lap of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA).

Though a previous rezoning request to establish a Kohl’s department store and other retailers on the adjacent area of the northeast corner of the development was denied last month by commissioners, developer Scott Seymour on Sept. 22 said he wanted to move forward with plans to establish community football fields and a daycare center on property immediately to the north of where the Kohl’s would have been located.

The ball fields/daycare requests included the granting of a conditional use permit, but that action was put on hold in late September to give county planning staff time to check with GRTA to see if the authority in its previous approval of the development would be willing to remove the requirement of an inter-parcel roadway that would essentially link the ball fields and daycare center with the retail area immediately to the south.

But county planning staff Tuesday told commissioners that they had called GRTA on several occasions and had not been able to make sufficient contact to get the answers to their questions.

At the end of the discussion Tuesday, commissioners took staff recommendations and voted to approve the conditional use permits with a number of conditions for the ball fields, daycare center and setback requirements.

But the request on the ballfields and daycare center properties came with a new condition stating that the approval would be contingent on GRTA’s agreement to revise its stance that the roadway between the daycare center and ballfields not be required to serve as a inter-parcel access roadway linking to the commercial portion of the development to the south.

GRTA’s response could take up to 45 days, staff said.

Some of the issues pertaining to the current conditional use requests and the rezoning request for the Kohl’s area denied last month are linked to Wynn’s Pond Road that intersects Fischer Road across from the new Sam’s Club.

Wynn’s Pond Road, or at least the county-owned portion that runs for a distance to the east and just north of the commercial development, effectively separates the currently zoned commercial property on the northeast corner from Seymour’s other properties where the Kohl’s store, ball fields and daycare center were to be located.

The commission is standing by a previous agreement with the Featherston Fishing Club that owns a portion of Wynn’s Pond Road and the fishing camp property on the Coweta/Fayette line to protect the road.

Seymour in the recent rezoning move had requested that portion of Wynn’s Pond Road nearest Fischer Road be relocated to the north to provide access to Wynn’s Pond.

The rezoning and road abandonment requests last month were recommended for approval by the county’s Board of Zoning Appeals but recommended for denial by the county Planning and Zoning Department.

The recommendation for denial was based significantly on an agreement approved by commissioners in 2006 and 2007 designed to protect Wynn’s Pond Road and the adjacent historic neighborhood and the failure of the developer to obtain 100 percent agreement of the Wynn’s Pond community.

Another reason for the recommendation cited concerns that Wynn’s Pond Road, if rerouted to the north, would affect future transportation funding.

In a related matter, a discussion Tuesday night on the future of Wynn’s Pond Road included a report that the Georgia Dept. of Transportation might be agreeable to a median cut close to the Fayette County line that could be used as an alternative access point for the intersection of Wynn’s Pond Road and Ga. Highway 54.

Seymour said he would be willing to help fund the median work. Unknown at the time was whether the significantly populated Trinity Christian School located across from the Fischer Crossings development would be willing to participate.

And in yet another matter not mentioned at the meeting, Seymour’s Fischer Crossings Development Group has filed suit against the county in Coweta County Superior Court. The suit relates to the commission’s September denial of the rezoning request.

The subject properties where the Kohl’s, other retailers and a portion of the ball fields were proposed were originally intended for a septic area until Seymour bought in to the county’s sewer system, making that use of the property unnecessary.

That use changed when developer Scott Seymour bought in to the county sewer system. At that point the property reverted back to its Rural Conservation (RC) zoning.

Seymour now wants to expand the retail into a portion of that area, with project representatives citing changes in retail requirements that give developers the ability to lure businesses.

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