Hello, Peachtree City Bypass

Tue, 05/08/2007 - 4:22pm
By: John Munford

Many proponents of the West Village annexation approved by split votes of the Peachtree City Council last week had one major item on their mind: the extension of MacDuff Parkway.

While the extension will link with Ga. Highway 74 North to create another way to and from the West Village area, some residents worry the road will be used as a cut-through for Coweta County traffic to avoid the often-clogged intersection of Ga. highways 54 and 74.

Because MacDuff Parkway is classified as a “collector” road in the city’s transportation plan, no traffic calming devices such as speed humps can be used to slow traffic per city ordinance, said City Engineer David Borkowski.

MacDuff Parkway is designed to move traffic, Borkowski said, noting that there will be no residential driveways directly off the MacDuff extension. Also, the city has turned down a request to allow parallel parking on the parkway.

Part of the idea is so someone living in, say, the Wynnmeade subdivision will be able to avoid the intersection of hwys. 54 and 74, Borkowski said.

“We do want people to use it instead of 54 and 74,” Borkowski said. “... I hate to be the guy that’s going to be run out of town, but that’s what the road is for.”

Borkowski said the MacDuff extension would be similar in nature to Holly Grove Road in south Peachtree City, with no homes having access on either side of the road and buffers on both sides of the road.

Borkowski acknowledged that vehicles from other areas such as those coming from Coweta County may also use MacDuff as a cut-through to avoid the 54/74 intersection.

The MacDuff extension will be two lanes wide divided by a center landscaped median. It will link the current section of MacDuff, which begins at Hwy. 54 West, with Hwy. 74 North at the intersection of Kedron Drive North, which already has a traffic signal.

One other potential positive side-effect of the annexations is that Peachtree City might gain another elementary and middle school. The Fayette County Board of Education is asking for a 50-acre site in the area to have a combined elementary and middle school campus. Currently the board has a 17-acre site in the Centennial neighborhood that was donated by John Wieland Homes to build an elementary school but the larger site is preferable, the board indicated in a letter to the city dated Monday, April 30.

The City Council approved the West Village annexations Thursday night in a late-night meeting that stretched well past 11 p.m. John Wieland Homes will build 475 single-family homes on its 379-acre parcel that’s currently north of its Centennial subdivision that’s within the city limits. Levitt and Sons will build 650 homes on its 403 acres limited to “active adults” 55 and over, a reduction of 49 homes from the total they sought to annex at the beginning of the meeting.

The Wieland annexation was approved 4-1 with Councilwoman Judi-ann Rutherford voting no. The Levitt annexation was approved 3-2 with Rutherford joining Councilman Stuart Kourajian on the “no” side. Kourajian said he preferred Levitt’s homes to be reduced to 500 instead of the 650 amount ultimately approved.

Councilman Cyndi Plunkett cast the deciding vote on the Levitt annexation, joining Mayor Harold Logsdon and Councilman Steve Boone in favor of the project. That vote came after council gave Levitt some extra time to determine if it could shrink the number of homes it sought.

Logsdon said Tuesday morning that he thinks the city got a “very good plan” from both Wieland and Levitt, and after visiting similar developments from both companies in Canton, Ga. and Franklin, Tenn., he feels comfortable about the direction the annexed property will be developed in.

“The big thing to me is that it completes the city,” Logsdon said, noting that with the exception of some land just outside the southern limits of Peachtree City off Redwine Road, he doesn’t see any other potential areas for the city to annex.

Logsdon said he thinks the city will be able to stay within its current plan of having a build-out population of 40,000 people.

The city got a lot more open space out of the annexed properties that wouldn’t have occurred had they remained in the county’s jurisdiction, Logsdon said. Levitt’s plan includes 108 acres of open space on land that is technically developable property, and Wieland’s plan includes 41 acres of open space on land that could have been developed.

Logsdon also noted that because the extension of MacDuff Parkway must be completed before the city will issue any certificates of occupancy for either development, Wieland and Levitt will be heavily investing in infrastructure for the area. City Manager Bernie McMullen has estimated the cost of constructing the extension, including the bridge that will span the CSX railroad tracks, will be about $10 million, Logsdon said.

Former Mayor Bob Lenox said if the city had annexed the land 10 years ago it would have gotten more amenities and fewer homes than the city will end up with, but at the same time he feels the West Village annexation will still be good for the city.

Lenox said he thinks the annexation helps put the city in-line with its current infrastructure and “we don’t need to annex anything else.”

“My only regret is we didn’t get this done 10 years ago,” Lenox said.

Former Peachtree City Mayor Steve Brown, who initiated the annexation talks with John Wieland Homes while he was still in office, said in a letter to the editor in today’s edition of The Citizen that the city should have included the 88-acre site Wieland currently owns inside the city limits and east of the annexed parcel as part of the overall development plan.

“By turning a blind eye and not tying all the parcels together in the planning process, the council abdicated its responsibility for the sake of expedience,” Brown wrote.

Wieland had wanted to build 335 townhomes on the 88-acre site but the City Council voted that request down earlier this year, a fact Brown failed to mention in his letter.

Brown also said that the City Council didn’t bother to address the concerns of the Peachtree City Civic Association, which included working closely with the board of education and addressing the future of the “Peach Pit” landfill that’s on the 88-acre site Wieland owns which was not part of the annexation plan because it’s already in the city limits.

The Peach Pit was called into question last week by local environmentalist Dennis Chase who worried about the recent discovery of a liquid-filled barrel on the property. Chase said the entire site, referred to by previous property owners as a landfill for construction debris, should be cleaned up.

Borkowski said he has been attempting to contact the Georgia Environmental Protection Division about the site but as of Tuesday morning he had only been able to leave messages and he hadn’t yet spoken to a live person at EPD.

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Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Thu, 05/10/2007 - 8:25am.

You've got a bunch of council people who couldn't remember how to run a meeting trying to figure out how to do an annexation. The whole thing is a bad joke.

Steve Rapson, Bob Lenox and Steve Brown all came out and said there were a lot better plans out there in the past. So what in the heck happened? Why are Logsdon and the merry band of councilmen doing everything half way?

Steve Brown made a good point in his letter asking why didn't Logsdon, etc. take into consideration what the PTCCA was saying?

Deaf, dumb and blind? Payoff? What is it?

Vote Republican

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Tue, 05/08/2007 - 6:35pm.

You got all the info correct and you interviewed people other than Brown, which is good.

The annexation is great for the city. Don't worry David, the engineer, everyone with a brain knows that McDuff was destined to be a shortcut from the get-go. And thanks for pointing out that McDuff is a collector road - further proving that the annexation is in the spirit, size, design and density of the rest of PTC.

The missing pieces will be melded seamlessly into the overall plan later. The important thing is getting this done now and getting the road and bridge built.

Ms. Plunkett performed as she promised when she ran for office. So did all the others except for Stuart's minor lapse. Thank you all for doing your job.

Submitted by PTCD on Wed, 05/09/2007 - 6:09am.

Am I the only one that gets tired of reading Morgan's one sided comments?

Submitted by flip212 on Tue, 05/08/2007 - 8:24pm.

Cyndi made a mess out of the voting process and was a major embarrassment to the office in which she holds. Abstaining from voting on the first proposal, only to find out that her abstaining meant a vote in favor. What a joke...if you're going to play in the big leagues...learn the rules lady. What a disgrace. How about doing us a favor...resign from office and take "Boone -doggle" with you.

The bottom line is she collapsed under the pressure of her neighbors in Centennial. These ‘concerned citizens” are more concerned with saving 5 minutes in drive time than they are for the future of PTC.

Cyndi and her other useless member, Mr. Steve “I’m not concerned with numbers” (those at this meeting debacle know what I’m referring to) Boone need to sharpen up their resumes.

Cyndi and Steve need to go!

Submitted by Yo on Wed, 05/09/2007 - 7:39am.

I've been using my hybrid hummer the last couple of years to cut through to south kedron anyways... now I must share the road with BMW's and Benz's!!!...Why would I want two new schools, tons of saved wetland parks and a beautiful modern neighborhood over my "secret" dirt road... AND being in unincorporated Fayette county, there are NEVER any pigs to bother me... DAMN YOU PTC!!! DAMN YOU!!

Mixer's picture
Submitted by Mixer on Wed, 05/09/2007 - 8:33am.

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