Large retail center okayed for Lower F’ville and Hwy. 154

Thu, 11/19/2009 - 4:06pm
By: Ben Nelms

What began in a Nov. 12 public hearing as a request by Michael and Judy Cunningham to rezone 38.11 acres located along Lower Fayetteville Road and Ga. Highway 154 from Rural Conservation (RC) to C-7 (Commercial Major Shopping Center) and C-8 (Heavy Commercial District) ended Nov. 17 with a 4-0 vote to approve a lesser C-6 zoning that maintained all but a few of the original plan components.

The site is the location of Country Gardens Nursery. The rezoning was requested to pave the way for a 170,000 square-foot commercial development that would include a large grocery store, numerous out-parcels along both roadways, a public storage business, more than 600 parking spaces and the continuation of the nursery business. The request included rezoning 17.33 acres to C-7 and 20.78 acres to C-8. Other outparcels would front Hwy. 154.

The county planning department recommended denial of the rezoning request, with representative Angela White at the Nov. 12 public hearing offering five reasons. White said the proposed zoning permitted land uses at a scale and intensity that exceeded the small neighborhood commercial character envisioned for the area and cited the high traffic volumes and loud noises that accompany “big box” developments that are more suitable for major traffic corridors.

White also said the request was not in keeping with the county’s Comprehensive Plan and that its more intensive zoning would create an isolated zoning district. And citing the increase in traffic that would be generated, White said such traffic volume would not reflect the transition desired from a Community Crossroads interchange into the adjacent residential areas.

Project representative Dennis Drewyer said he was disappointed at the recommendation for denial, insisting that the project was viable and would meet the needs of that growing area of Coweta County.

Once opened to the public for comments, a half-dozen neighbors took their turn at the podium, each insisting that commissioners should deny the rezoning request. Most of those speaking lived in the nearby Candlewood subdivision.

Allen Pope and others said they were not opposed to growth in the area, but did object to the magnitude of the proposed development. They cited numerous concerns such as increased traffic, the elimination of their quiet, safe neighborhood, the potential loss of home values, odors from dumpsters, an overabundance of existing retail and a lower quality of life.

Having been put on hold at the Nov. 12 meeting, commissioners briefly discussed the issues Nov. 17. Commissioner Tim Lassetter led a brief discussion on having the property rezoned C-6 as opposed to C-7 and C-8.

Commenting on the idea, county administrator Theron Gay in citing the differences in zoning categories said C-6 zoning would not permit the public storage business, would limit the size of buildings to 35,000 square feet, would prohibit operations such as lumber yards and heavy equipment rentals and would require different buffer areas. Beyond those few differences the projected development remained largely intact.

His comments were soon followed by a motion and unanimous vote to rezone the property C-6.

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Submitted by ptcpr5 on Fri, 11/20/2009 - 3:59pm.

I here the "Big Box" store is going to be a Star Ship super store! I can't wait till it's open.

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Thu, 11/19/2009 - 4:32pm.

Kinda rhymes with Cyndi-Harry-Boone-ville down the road a bit, doesn't it?

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