The Fayette Citizen-News Page
Friday, March 5, 1999
Task force eyes land use plan change for Hwy. 54-Banks

Staff Writer

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Members of a task force appointed to develop a "master plan" for property at Walt Banks Road and Ga. Highway 54 in Peachtree City have decided that the comprehensive Land Use Plan is worth another look, but there are reservations about whether property owners will be willing to delay sales of parcels until a plan can be proposed.

At its first meeting Tuesday, the group also decided to ask several members for some very preliminary ideas of what might be done on about 73 acres, while also seeking the advice of a professional planner in "new urbanism." Coordinating a subgroup for initial ideas are developer John Callaway, residential developer Bob Adams, Southern Trace resident Chuck Lehman, city development services director Jim Williams, and several others.

Jim Strickland of Historical Concepts Inc., an architect and designer of North Cove in Peachtree City, strongly advocated the idea of advice from a professional, because of the planned nature of Peachtree City and the innovative mixed neighborhoods being developed around the country.

Mayor Robert Lenox, serving as facilitator for the task force, said that the area is already zoned for "office, residential and commercial" and that with or without a master plan, "that's what we're going to get." He said the group is challenged to "find a combination of those uses that will benefit not just the neighbors, but all of Peachtree City."

Michael Velsmid, CEO of West Point Pepperell who lives near the intersection, commented that the group's task would be to develop such a "compelling showcase entry" into Peachtree City that the group would be able to convince property owners to "stop the clock" on sales while developer-buyers could find ways of implementing a master plan.

Member Eileen Shaw commented that it would be important to decide whether to "stick to the Land Use Plan for good reason, or broaden the planning for a different focus" in light of changes in the area since the LUP was adopted. The most notable alteration is that the Publix Shopping Center was built across from the 73 acres, but outside the Peachtree City limits.

City Manager Jim Basinger, Williams, and Planner David Rast will be city advisors to the task force, which will meet every Tuesday for the next four to 10 weeks, Lenox said. Task force members also include:

Julian Campbell and Willis Granger, Peachtree City Planning Commission; Annie McMenamin and Carol Fritz, City Council; Rick Schlosser, real estate broker who represents some property owners; and interested citizens with varied backgrounds including Cele Eifert, Sally Bender, Normal Moore, Dick Cassell and Jim Steinbach.

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