Planners say no to annexing on 74 S.

Tue, 11/10/2009 - 4:31pm
By: John Munford

Developers want sewer service for shopping center the size of PTC’s The Avenue; a 50-acre sewage spray field eyed

A proposal to annex 18 acres into Peachtree City’s southside to enable a sewer connection for a shopping center was nixed by the Peachtree City Planning Commission Monday night.

The unanimous vote is one of recommendation only, as the Peachtree City Council has the final say on all zoning and annexation matters.

Southern Pines Plantation has asked the city to annex an 18-acre site, with 3.86 acres rezoned for office use and the remainder donated to the city.

SPP wants the annexation so its retail-office complex, located just outside the city limits, could hook up to city sewer service. The remaining 14-plus acres would be donated to Peachtree City for a future expansion of the Meade Field recreation complex.

The site, located across from the intersection of Hwy. 74 and Redwine Road, is approved for 176,000 square feet of retail and office uses including five outparcel lots directly off Ga. Highway 74 South. That’s about the same size as The Avenue in Peachtree City.

The property was rezoned commercial from agricultural-residential by the Fayette County Commission in 2000, an action that was opposed by Peachtree City.

Interim Community Services Director David Rast noted that when the city opposed the county’s 2000 rezoning for the parcel, the city had just approved the Wilshire Pavilion as a neighborhood retail center just north of the SPP site.

Rast noted that under Fayette County’s ordinances, the site plan could be amended to add big box regional stores without a public hearing. The county handles such changes at the staff level, Rast noted.

Representatives of the Peachtree City Water and Sewer Authority noted that the sewer service planned for the site would allow sewer to be extended across the highway to other parcels currently in the city and a few parcels that could ultimately be annexed into the city.

Without providing sewer service to SPP, WASA would have to use several pump stations to provide sewer service to those developments along Hwy. 74 that are already in the city limits.

Fayette County Commissioner Eric Maxwell attended the meeting to speak about the project. Maxwell said the county is due to receive 50 acres at the rear of the site that will help protect the existing Brechin Park subdivision that abuts the property.

Maxwell, who was not on the commission when the rezoning was approved, said he had “serious concerns” about the size and use of a community septic system instead of sewer for the development.

If the site were to be sewered, the county’s 50 acres wouldn’t be needed for the community septic system’s operation, Maxwell said. Rast noted the development is planning to use a septic system along with a spray field on which sewage is disposed of.

Whether or not the annexation and sewer service are approved, SPP plans on developing the property as zoned by the county, a company official said.

Before the commission voted to deny the annexation, Commissioner Larry Sussberg noted that he was displeased with having a shopping center built right next to the city.

“I think we have to do what’s best for Peachtree City and our comprehensive land use plan,” Sussberg said.

Commissioner Theo Scott noted that Peachtree City and Fayette County’s design criteria “are miles apart” in terms of setbacks, sign regulations and the like.

“To have this as our gateway on our southern end, we don’t want that,” Scott said.

Commissioner Lynda Wojcik said she felt the city couldn’t approve this request since it denied a similar sewer request from the city of Senoia several years ago.

Commissioner Patrick Staples said he hoped the issue would help foster better communications between the city and Fayette County officials.

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