Friday, November 30, 2001

PTC Planning Commission wonders if changing golf courses to recreation use is good idea


Peachtree City's Planning Commission is somewhat worried that a little housekeeping might be taken the wrong way.

As the commission has undertaken the updating of the city's land use plan, it is considering changing certain tracts from a open space use to recreational use. Currently, golf courses in the city and other recreational areas such as athletic fields are labeled open space, when technically they are used for a certain activity, voiding the principle of open space as defined by the Greenspace program initiated by Gov. Roy Barnes.

Changing the designated land use to recreation for the city-owned athletic fields and facilities isn't expected to create a problem.

But changing the use of the golf courses to recreation could create a problem, commission chairman Wes Saunders pointed out at the commission's meeting Monday night.

"Is something unintended going to pound us here?" Saunders asked.

The commission agreed to put the question to Jim Williams, the city's director of developmental services, who was unable to attend the meeting due to an illness.

As the discussion continued, however, several planning commissioners wondered if changing the golf courses' land use designation would open the door to other developments such as a bowling alley, skating rink or other less than ideal development.

The catch is that the golf courses are privately owned compared to the city's athletic fields and facilities which are operated by the city, giving officials a greater amount of control over those uses.

"I don't want to change what is an asset to Peachtree City," said planning commissioner Rich Schumacher, who added that if the courses ever had financial difficulties they could be sold to another owner who may wish to build other recreation projects there.

Schumacher said an extreme example would be if a golf course was sold to a group that anted to located a minor league baseball team in Peachtree City.

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the land use plan at its next meeting, set for Dec. 10. City staff have indicated they hope to have the plan adopted then so it may be considered by the City Council at its last meeting in December, although it is possible that the matter will be continued until January when the political makeup of council changes with new Mayor Steve Brown and new Councilman Murray Weed.


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