Horgan: County not resurrecting TDK road extension to Coweta
The Fayette County Commission wants full ownership of a Peachtree City-owned 1.7-acre tract just south of Lake McIntosh to provide permanent access to the lake’s amenities in the area, according to Commissioner Robert Horgan.
Horgan confirmed that the county has looked into possibly condemning the city’s property, but he emphasized that the county is not attempting to revive the scuttled TDK Boulevard extension.
In fact, Horgan contends that the commission is proposing alternatives via a land swap that would help the city maintain its ability to keep the road extension mothballed.
The TDK extension was scuttled in 2007 due to concerns that Ga. Highway 74 South at Crosstown Road would be flooded with traffic from a potential four-lane road leading to a 3,100-home subdivision and 600,000 square foot shopping area Coweta had approved.
There have been concerns recently that should the county commission acquire the city’s tract, the city would lose its ability to halt the road extension, especially since the owner of the 1,600-acre Coweta project has asked city and county officials to resurrect the road.
Horgan said that county officials have told the Coweta landowner that they would not revive the project since that decision would be left up to Peachtree City.
Horgan further pointed out that after the TDK extension was cancelled in 2007, the county decided to spend money elsewhere that had been set aside for the extension and bridge and additional intersection improvements in the area.
The county also refunded the $200,000 that the city had put in to pay for part of the TDK extension, Horgan noted.
Instead of agreeing to a land swap proposed by the county, city officials have offered an easement to its 1.7 acre tract at the lake’s southernmost point, which would preserve the city’s ownership of the land ... and thus its ability to negate the TDK extension in future years.
Horgan said the commission wants to own the property outright because it will be spending upwards of $400,000 to build an access road to the lake’s amenities. “We should own that land,” Horgan said. “It’s too big a project and too much to go on to say we don’t own that property and have access to our dam. ... There could be some way we would be forced into not having access to the amenities at the dam or do anything, and that could cost us more money down the road.”
Horgan noted that the negotiations between the city and the county have been going on for about two years. An easement would not guarantee that the access would be permanent, Horgan said, noting that a legal opinion from the county attorney indicates that the county can’t spend public funds for a road on land it doesn’t own.
Horgan did not know immediately if water system funds qualify as public funds even though its revenues are considered utility revenues from user fees.
Construction on the lake dam is well underway, and the county may begin impounding water within six months, Horgan said, adding that now is the time the commission is trying to finalize the contracts for construction of the recreation amenities area for the lake.
The 650-acre lake is projected to have a playground, a gazebo, two walking trails, a picnic pavilion, docks and parking for boat trailers. It also will feature a gate at the entrance so the park can be closed from dusk until dawn.
Horgan said he doesn’t think the majority of the commission will drop the lake amenities just to allow the city to keep its 1.7-acre tract.
The commission met in secret (closed) session Thursday afternoon to discuss acquiring the city-owned tract, and the commission gave direction to provide other options to the city to resolve the dispute.
Peachtree City Mayor Don Haddix said the city has agreed it will provide the easement access for the county and also provide access to two privately owned land-locked tracts in the area that are located in Peachtree City.
But the city will not agree to allowing the road to be extended into Coweta County, Haddix said.
According to multiple documents reviewed by The Citizen, the city wants language in the agreement that would forbid the tract from being used to extend any road into Coweta County.
Any such road extension would require a bridge across Line Creek, and the county owns a tract of land abutting the creek that was the exact proposed landing spot for the TDK extension bridge on the Fayette County side.
The 650-acre lake will stretch just south of Ga. Highway 54 West southward toward Falcon Field Airport. It will be located along Line Creek though most of the land is in the jurisdiction of Coweta County. The land was purchased back in the 1970s and is owned by Fayette County.
Representatives for the owner of the 1,500-acre Coweta tract primed for the mega-development recently asked Peachtree City Mayor Haddix to revive the TDK extension project, Haddix said.
Haddix said he rebuffed the request because there is “zero interest in extending a bridge or a road” into Coweta County.