Hwy. 74 S. rezoning = PTC’s largest retail

Tue, 03/13/2007 - 4:57pm
By: John Munford

Residents of the Wilshire Estates subdivision expressed concerns Monday night that a proposed shopping center on Ga. Highway 74 South would drastically increase cut-through traffic through their neighborhood on Holly Grove Road and also increase crime in the area.

Those comments came during a city Planning Commission meeting, which postponed a decision on the commercial rezoning request for the Peachtree City Village shopping center to be located on a 49-acre parcel across the highway from the existing Wilshire Pavilion shopping center.

Combined with Wilshire Pavilion, the new shopping center, if developed as proposed, would create the largest retail area in Peachtree City.

The land for the new shopping center is zoned for general industrial use but developer Columbia Properties is asking for a limited use commercial zoning, which would nullify the size requirements of the city’s big box ordinance, which limits single stores to a maximum size of 32,000 square feet and any single development to 150,000 square feet.

The proposal from Columbia Properties includes a home improvement store — rumored to be Lowe’s — at 138,000 square feet. The entire development, including a smaller “big box” soft goods store and a number of smaller storefront buildings, would total 216,000 square feet, not including five outparcel lots along Hwy. 74.

Columbia Properties attorney Rick Lindsey argued that although the limited use commercial zoning would allow the big box home improvement store, the city can use more controls with the limited commercial zoning than normally available for property zoned general commercial.

The city’s land use plan calls for the parcel to be developed with single family homes at medium density.

Planning Commissioner Marty Mullin shared one frustration voiced by several residents: that data from the developer’s traffic projections was unavailable for the commission to consider.

Planning Commissioner Patrick Staples said he was worried the plan wasn’t ready for approval, noting the absence of a plan to protect pedestrians.

“This isn’t quite Peachtree City yet,” Staples said.

Mullin said the commission might sign off on a commercial rezoning for the property, “but not at the size and scope it is right now.”

Andy Campbell of Columbia Properties agreed to postpone the item for two weeks to give the company extra time to meet with Wilshire residents to inform them of the plans. But he said the company still wants the matter to be considered by the City Council April 19 as planned.

But Mullin said he doesn’t want to have the rezoning on the planning commission’s agenda until the outstanding issues have been addressed.

The development plan includes a proposed land swap that would give Columbia Properties the city’s existing 4.3 acre recycling center site in exchange for 5.8 acres adjacent to the Meade Field sports complex. That land swap has not yet been considered by the Peachtree City Council.

Laurie Farmer, president of the Wilshire Estates homeowners association, said the group was worried about motorists using Holly Grove Road through their subdivision as a shortcut. She suggested limiting eastbound traffic off Rockaway Road to turning right or left so they couldn’t go straight onto Holly Grove Road.

Better yet, Rockaway Road should be realigned with Redwine Road instead of Holly Grove Road, Farmer said.

Farmer said there are a number of outstanding questions about the shopping center, including what the proposed traffic mitigation plan is.

Farmer said she was also concerned about a gas station proposed for the shopping center, and she worried that if diesel gas was sold that the area would become a truckstop. That leads to concerns about prostitution and child exploitation, which occurs at truckstops, Farmer said.

Wilshire resident Jesse Price said he was concerned about how increased traffic would affect children in the neighborhood. They often use the streets to reach the neighborhood pool, residents said.

Wilshire resident Carolyn Cannon noted that at a four-way stop on Holly Grove at Aster Ridge Trail, “sometimes cars don’t even stop” the way traffic is now. Plus, Holly Grove isn’t a very wide road, creating safety concerns, Cannon indicated.

“I fear there’s going to be people who will compromise the safety of our children,” Cannon said, adding that speeding vehicles are already a problem on Holly Grove Road.

Another Wilshire resident noted that the neighborhood’s streets are used for golf cart traffic, and the new development would increase traffic on the path system. There are no cart paths in the subdivision, several residents noted.

Wilshire resident Brian Dingivan said the city’s land use plan forbids such regional shopping centers. He added that the shopping center would also affect public safety resources.

“We don’t have the fire and police that we need right now,” Dingivan added.

Peachtree City resident Vern Darley, who doesn’t live near Wilshire Estates, said that the property developing as a shopping center might be preferable to what could go on the site now under the current industrial zoning. He suggested that under the current zoning, unsightly warehouse units could be erected on the site.

Thomas Stephens, whose mother owns the property, said that’s one reason the property hadn’t been marketed to industrial properties.

The fields at Meade figure prominently in the design of the shopping center, as an open-air plaza and two outdoor seating areas overlook the baseball and softball fields located closest to Hwy. 74.

“We want to do a development that fits,” Campbell said.

Lindsey said because of the property’s grade the home improvement store will be lower than the highway, making it easier to screen with landscaping along the highway and other smaller stores. The landscaping element will be significant, Lindsey said.

Lindsey noted that with Falcon Field nearby, the Peachtree City Airport Authority has officially opposed the location of any homes on the tract of the proposed shopping center.

Lindsey said the plan has changed since it was first reviewed in a workshop format by the commission. Since then, the number of parking spaces was reduced by about 300 to about 850 spaces, and a new road with a landscaped median was added behind the outparcel area along Hwy. 74 to make traveling in the shopping center easier.

The outparcels will be behind a 40-foot landscape buffer that will have 20 percent larger trees than the city calls for in terms of caliper inches, Lindsey said.

Lindsey said preliminary numbers from Columbia’s traffic engineer showed that just 10 percent of the traffic for the shopping center would come from Holly Grove Road, with 60 percent coming from Hwy. 74 and 30 percent from Rockaway Road.

The development has four different entrances off Rockaway Road and two entrances off Hwy. 74, including one at the current traffic signal and another further north directly across from an existing entrance to Wilshire Pavilion, Lindsey said.

Columbia Properties also owns Wilshire Pavilion, so it will not develop the new shopping center to harm its current property, Lindsey said.

Several residents said they worried the new shopping center will lead to more vacant storefronts at Wilshire Pavilion.

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Submitted by Hmm on Tue, 03/20/2007 - 9:20pm.

Maybe we should get ready for the PTC 500

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Tue, 03/13/2007 - 9:25pm.

The site plan I'm looking at shows the main Lowe's store at 138,930 sq ft with an attached "Garden Center" at an additional 31,668 sq ft for a grand total of 170,589 sq ft. Oh, did I mention that the entire 49.8 acres will be paved?

If Macaroni Grill just told their landlord to go pound sand over a 10 year lease, just who's going to be renting 7 Out-parcels that the new shopping center comes with?

Looks like we'll get our Hooters after all.

I guess locally owned and operated business like Mike & C's are happy.

Does this place come with a Mic. D's too?

ManofGreatLogic's picture
Submitted by ManofGreatLogic on Tue, 03/13/2007 - 5:14pm.

Just find out what the citizens want, and then do the opposite.

That seems to be the way things work.

Submitted by skyspy on Tue, 03/13/2007 - 6:45pm.

Let's try some reverse psychology?

Dear worthless councilfools(ooopps, not getting off to a good start)

Let's try again: Dear councilfools: We the people of Peachtree City have some demands for you.

1) We want to be known as the city that has won the war against trees, birds, and most of all, tree frogs

2) We want adult book stores on every corner,(preferabley next to an empty shell of a building that used to hold a chain restaurant) if it's not too much to ask.

3) We want to finacially support every low turn-out loser "atheletic" event imaginable. There is a girls badminton tournament looking for someone to support them for 80 large......that should be profitable for this half-hack town....shouldn't it????

4) We want strip malls everywhere.....so far only riverdale has beat us.....we can beat them this year with your help

5) We want riverdale crime here too .....not just the white-collar crimes that you people are resposible for.......we want "real" crime....we want to execute(oooppppsss) I mean we want to defend our lives from someone breaking into our homes. (see what you can do, I know it's a stretch)

6) We love the railroad, now if you could just get the MARTA train to run a line of track over the middle of lake Peachtree, I think we would ALL be HAPPY!!!!!

7) Lastly we need a strip club. The new obliteration(ooopppppps, sooorrry)I mean development on 74 would be the perfect place for this, what with all of the truck drivers traveling by.

I would like to reassure our council-idiots that if any of us see them in need, robbery, house fire, flat tire....accident(except a DUI, we'll call the cops for you then) etc.....we will be sure to look the other way........... You can expect nothing from us(the tax payers), because that is what we have received from you!!!

Submitted by skyspy on Thu, 03/15/2007 - 7:28am.

We want our city welcome signs to reflect our new slogan:

Peachtree City Winning the War Against Trees: Great Place to Come Home Too....No Pesky Birds to Wake You Up in the Morning.

Kind of catchy isn't it?

This is exactly the kind of place people will pay high dollar to live in. We have all of the hall marks of a classy place....instead of listening to birds, you get to listen to your neighbor flush the toilet, because the homes are stacked ontop of each other. No cops to bug you because none of them want to work here....even if we did pay a decent wage. Logically because there are no cops we will have the added benefit of increase in crime. Yep this is shaping up to be a very, very classy place.

Submitted by skyspy on Tue, 03/13/2007 - 8:59pm.

Where are you?? This is exactly what you want,.....you love obliteration(oooppppssss, sorry, my bad,) I mean "development".

Yeah that's it, you love all of this,......why no comment????

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Tue, 03/13/2007 - 6:26pm.

What would the residents of the area be saying if a very heavy industrial complex was going in here? We (The City) wouldn't have any input at all, or at the very best, very little.

Not sure how I feel about it, but I could easily see it working well. As far as traffic on city steets, folks just need to slow down. I go down Holly Grove a good bit now to get to the Publix, and that street, like many in the city, winds through neighborhoods.

CCB's picture
Submitted by CCB on Wed, 03/14/2007 - 10:43am.

That site doesn't work for industrial. You can't expand because of the wetland behind it and the roads on the other sides.

Don't you think if the site was attractive to the zoned uses that someone would have built on the land by now?

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Wed, 03/14/2007 - 1:32pm.

I would much rather see 74 used for things like this, than many of the other uses. I also think the big box should be tanked. Although, that may tank the entire thing. If so, so be it.

Submitted by jessie_208 on Wed, 03/14/2007 - 1:20pm.

Additionally, residential isn't a good option because it is directly in the flight path of Falcon Field. Limited use commercial is the best use of the land.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Wed, 03/14/2007 - 2:22pm.

Wilshire is already under the flight path. It's not supposed to be but apparently pilots aren't the best at following directions.

Additionally, the airport authority has already said that the flight pattern for the airport will have to shift over PTC and less into Coweta once the new TDK mega neighborhood gets started.

National airport in DC is surrounded by $1,000,000 condos.

Dulles airport is surrounded by houses and handles one or two more flights than Falcon field.

I guess it's better for a plane to hit a Lowe's with several hundred people then a house.

Is that why they put the youth sports fields there?

Maybe you know jessie_208, why do we need an airport that looses $660,000 a year?

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