Planners split on LaFayette changes

Tue, 04/01/2008 - 3:41pm
By: Ben Nelms

The proposal to amend the Planned Community Development (PCD) ordinance for the proposed Villages of Lafayette retail development on Ga. Highway 54 at North Lafayette Avenue was accompanied by a divergence of opinions March 25 at the regular session of Fayetteville Planning and Zoning Commission.

That difference of perspective resulted in a 3-2 vote in favor of recommending the project for approval when it goes before the City Council.

Commissioners Allan Feldman and Mike Menchinger were outvoted by Bill Talley, Derryll Anderson and Chet Enigenburg.

Central to the split vote was the square footage of the anchor building proposed by East Point-based Heritage Creek Development.

“This is so far from the original concept that I don’t believe I can support it,” Feldman said of the proposed 45,100-square-foot anchor building.

Talley and Chair Sarah Murphy agreed, noting the proposal’s departure from the 33,000-square-foot anchor called for in the 2000 PCD agreement. For his part, Talley said the original document was one that could be modified over time.

The original agreement provided for as many as 13 buildings on the site with a total of 175,000 square feet. The proposal by Heritage Creek calls for 162,850 square feet for seven buildings plus the 1.1-acre outparcel.

At issue were four proposed changes to the PCD agreement. The first change was for the increased square footage to the anchor building, expected by Heritage Creek to be the site of LA Fitness.

The anchor under the original plan was slated for a grocery store, though that use has been eliminated due to the current number of grocery stores in close proximity.

The second change would be for four one-story buildings not to exceed 5,600 square feet each. Those retail buildings would be located near Hwy. 54.

The third proposed change in the agreement would locate two three-story buildings on the east side of the site adjacent to the square and Hampton Inn. Those buildings would house retail stores on the first floor and two-story luxury apartments and/or offices ranging up to 2,400 square feet on the upper floors.

The fourth change would allow the 1.1-acre outparcel for a bank or restaurant on the southwest corner of the property at Hwy. 54 and North Lafayette Avenue.

Heritage Creek owner Wayne Kendall said he met with the community at a recent meeting and had received positive response for the project.

Feldman questioned the meeting’s outcome, saying he also attended and that the majority of attendees were not residents.

Talley said he also attended the meeting and did not share the same feeling on community participation. Several residents and former developers present at the meeting spoke favorably of the meeting and the proposed project.

Addressing the main sticking point, a 45,000-square-foot anchor, Talley said the size of the proposed building is the big issue with the proposal to amend the PCD document.

Questions from the members also arose over whether LA Fitness might move out of the location at some point in the future. If so, said Talley, the PCd document could be amended again.

“It wasn’t really set in concrete when the (original) plan was developed. It can be changed or left like it is,” Talley said.

After further discussion the commission voted 3-2 on a motion recommending approval of language that would allow the four changes to the document.

The proposal will be heard next by the City Council.

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