Fayette to revive TDK extension?
County may seek to condemn parcel despite easement offered by city
Peachtree City stands to lose its only control over the most controversial road project in city history, which was halted in 2007 over concerns that it would flood Ga. Highway 74 south with traffic from Coweta County.
The Citizen has learned that the Fayette County Commission is considering the extreme tactic of condemning a city-owned tract that directly abuts county-owned land containing the previously identified road path for the extension of TDK Boulevard into Coweta County.
The city and county have been in a protracted negotiation over an easement that would allow the county to build a road on the 1.7-acre city parcel, ostensibly to provide access to the amenities of Lake McIntosh. The parcel is south of the lake dam, and also is necessary to access Line Creek for environmental monitoring, county officials have contended.
The TDK extension would benefit a proposed 3,100-home Coweta County development that includes some 600,000 square feet of office and commercial space. The 1,500-acre project already has been rezoned for such a use by the Coweta County Commission, but the project has remained dormant since the road extension project was abandoned in 2007.
Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown claims that county officials have met with “representatives from real estate interests” in both Peachtree City and Coweta County but the meetings and information discussed were not disclosed to him.
Brown has presented a counter offer agreement to the city that, he says, would allow the county access to the lake dam and amenity areas while also giving assurances the “unwanted TDK extension project will not be revived through county possession of what is now city property.”
The county initially sought an easement for the city parcel so it could build a road for access to lake amenities and provide access to Line Creek for environmental monitoring, according to documents obtained by The Citizen under the Georgia Open Records Act.
The city has proposed an easement containing language that Fayette County would lose its access should it ever use the parcel to permit access to any location in Coweta County without the city’s permission. The county subsequently declined to enter into an agreement for such an easement.
The city tract borders county-owned property that previously was to have been the site of part of the TDK extension. Thus if the county acquires the city parcel outright in a condemnation proceeding, the county would have full reign over whether the TDK extension ever comes to fruition.
When the project was scuttled by the city in 2007, city officials worried that traffic from an approved mega-development in Coweta County would flood the intersection of Hwy. 74 South and TDK Boulevard/Crosstown Road. The traffic was to be significant enough that state transportation officials tried to force the city to build a new bridge over the CSX railroad that would have enough room to expand to four lanes in the future.
With the road extension, the proposed Coweta mega-development would have direct access to Ga. Highway 74 at the traffic light for TDK Boulevard/Crosstown Road.
And that is why Peachtree City officials have proposed an easement that includes a stipulation that it would be revoked should the county seek to provide any access to the site to any parcel in Coweta County without the city’s permission.
The tiny city-owned parcel in question abuts a county-owned tract that is right along Line Creek and is south of the dam that is being built for the Lake McIntosh reservoir, which is a project being built by the county for its water system.
In October of last year, county officials proposed a land swap with the city that would give the county an easement to access the city parcel, with language and restrictions so the property could never be accessed by property or vehicles coming from Coweta County. The catch is that the county planned to build a public road which would have provided access to two tracts owned by Pathway Communities, which has an interest in seeking the TDK extension happen.
That same public road would be used to access the county’s lakefront amenities on Lake McIntosh, according to an email from Don Comer, the attorney representing Fayette County in the property negotiations.
Since the road extension was shot down four years ago, the 1,500 acres has changed hands and is now owned by the Mormon Church. What hasn’t changed is the zoning for the property.
Brown, in an email exchange with fellow Commissioner Robert Horgan, suggested that the Mormon Church has requested that the TDK extension be built.
In that same email, Brown said the approved zoning for the Coweta project could threaten the retail economy of Peachtree City and drive down sales tax revenues.
If the county commission decides to pursue a condemnation of the city’s property, it will apparently be a bit of a surprise to the city. In an email obtained through the open records act, City Attorney Ted Meeker notes that in the last meeting between the city and the county, there was a decision to modify an easement proposal as an alternative to a land swap that had been proposed by the county.
Since that meeting, the only action on the matter was a phone call from County Attorney Scott Bennett a couple of weeks ago, according to Meeker’s email.
In a letter to Peachtree City Mayor Don Haddix, Commissioner Brown apologized “for the lack of genuine negotiation since the city last sent an amended draft of an intergovernmental agreement last year.”