PTC plans numerous open space rezonings

Fri, 11/13/2009 - 4:37pm
By: John Munford

Residents worried about cell towers allowed in new OS-P category

Peachtree City is about to undertake a massive rezoning effort aimed at protecting the city’s natural areas, greenbelts and passive parks by zoning them from the current open space designation to “open space-conservation.”

Meanwhile the city also plans to rezone other open space parcels as “open space-public.” Those parcels would be ones used for active recreation, schools and public buildings.

Although most of the rezonings figure to be on city-owned property, some will be on private-owned parcels. For example, one proposal presented to the Planning Commission Monday night was to rezone the St. Paul Lutheran Church and school off Ardenlee Parkway to Open Space-Public.

The property is currently zoned GR-4, the same as the Ardenlee subdivision. So if the church should move, it could sell its property for development of up to four homes an acre, said interim Community Development Director David Rast.

Under the OS-P zoning, the church could still sell its property, but a rezoning would be required for any development not allowed under the OS-P zoning, Rast said.

The catch is the rezoning to OS-P would also allow for a cellphone tower to be erected on the site. Rast said allowing that particular use was not the purpose of the rezoning, though he has been told that the school has been approached by a company about building a tower there.

Rast noted that several parcels surrounding the church and school already qualify to have a cellphone tower under their current zoning. He also said the rezoning matter has been underway for about a year, well before he heard of the cell tower proposal for St. Paul.

Resident Bonnie Beerbower, who lives near St. Paul and is adjacent to the Crabapple Lane Elementary School, said she didn’t want the rezoning to allow the church to put in a cell tower.

At last week’s City Council meeting, council agreed to study the possibility of allowing cellphone towers in some city parks at the request of T-Mobile. But Mayor Harold Logsdon said other carriers have also approached the city about potential new cell tower sites.

Several residents voiced their displeasure about putting towers on parks and recreation sites, saying they’d rather have spotty service than have to deal with cell tower aesthetic and potential health issues.

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