Tell F’ville Council if you don’t like high density development
This is a heads up that the Fayette City Council will be holding a hearing on the 376 units on 38 acres this Thursday night at 7 p.m. If you oppose high density development in Fayette County, best be there. And thanks to all the people who responded to my last letter. I have printed the emails and taken them over to the city of Fayetteville.
As a quick review: This project first went through the City Planning and Zoning Department. There were several hearings and at each one of those hearings citizens made their concerns known.
At each following meeting, the developer would propose how “they” were addressing those concerns, i.e., traffic and number of apartments. They were willing to reduce the number of apartments by 14 units and offer a “free” apartment to the police for an officer to stay in, and they brought in a traffic consultant who presented a plan to add an extra left turn lane at the intersection on Ga. Highway 54.
The final vote by Planning and Zoning was against the project due to it surpassing the allowable units per acre even if rezoned from MO (medical Offices) to PCD (Planned Community District).
The next step in the process was to go before the City Council, which usually follows the recommendations of the Planning and Zoning Commission, but in this case they seem to be stalling since council members have been lobbied heavily by the developer and his experts along with the Downtown Development Authority, whose goal is to bring more foot traffic to the Square.
The red flag went up when the City Council motioned to table the vote instead of voting yes or no, which meant they were stalling for more time to make a decision and giving the developer more time to counteract and probably hoping our furor would die down.
It was at this point I wrote the letter to the editor and sent out emails. We can’t let our guard down. In fact, there is always the chance the developer may choose stalling until the new council comes in January of 2014 when Walt White (who is opposed) and Larry Dell (who is opposed) will be replaced.
I would like to add that I received emails from some folks out on Hwy. 314 that are also concerned about proposed developments in their area. They feel they are in the dark. This brings up another important issue.
The city of Fayetteville should require letters be sent to all adjoining property owners about proposed projects and include the hearing dates. That is considered standard procedure in most districts. Otherwise someone has to go down to City Hall and ask to speak with the Planning and Zoning Department to get any information. Obviously, if you have no clue something is in the works, then you have no reason to go to City Hall.
The Grady Avenue proposal is a prime example. I am one of two adjoining property owners to this huge project and I never received any phone call, email or letter about it. The only way I found out was when I was walking my dog and saw the sign along the road in the woods. The print was so small I had to cross the road and read the sign up close.
Even then it didn’t say anything about what was going on, only that there was a zoning change request. My sister just happened to be visiting, who is a land surveyor, and her curiosity was piqued since I thought this city was against high density.
Luckily another civic-minded neighbor had also been to City Hall and made copies of the map. Mr. Lester canvassed Grady Avenue to make sure everyone was aware of what was being proposed. Soon word spread to other close neighborhoods like Apple Orchard and Quail Hollow.
Fayetteville City Council should also take heed of Coweta County Board of Commissioners denying rezoning for a “class A” apartment complex of 224 units on 24 acres Aug. 22, 2013. This particular request for rezoning asked for the 24 acres to be changed from M-Industrial to R-22, Multi-Family Residential District.
This developer also came in claiming the “apartment complexes would be high quality and “something we can be proud of in the end.” He also claimed Coweta needs “high-end, multi-family housing” and that their typical tenants would be between 35 and 45, and are renters by choice, not necessity.
The sewer issue seemed to be the major sticking point, with the developer claiming each unit would use 160 gallons per day. A commissioner questioned that number, citing it as too low, adding 220 gallons per unit was more likely.
Commissioner Brooks thought the development far exceeded the existing allocation of water and sewer per acre and therefore made the motion to deny the request. The vote was 4-1 and rezoning was denied.
I don’t believe the sewer allocation issue was ever even brought up at the Fayetteville Planning Commission hearings or the City Council meetings. The only mention of it came from a Grady Avenue resident who is a licensed plumber.
He stated the existing water line, already clogged with roots, would never be able to handle an increase in volume of that magnitude. This statement was made at one of the early Planning and Zoning hearings but not heard by the City Council.
On the upbeat, if you haven’t seen the signs down Grady, take a drive. A note to others wanting to put up signs in their neighborhoods: Be aware that only two signs per yard are allowed and you need the property owner’s permission. None can go on city or county property (between the sidewalk and the street). Whoever put up the yellow and black signs, the city has removed them.
Maybe if we all started wearing “No High Density Development in Fayette County” T-shirts or put decals on our cars, our county commissioners and city council members would get the message loud and clear – and so would the developer’s scouts.
Believe me, they are swarming around due to Pinewood Studios going in and most find our prices invitingly low.