Council, planners discuss future of city

Tue, 05/02/2006 - 3:50pm
By: Ben Nelms

Fayetteville City Council and Planning and Zoning commissioners met April 28 to discuss wide ranging topics such as the many issues related to development and the status of public input to the city’s comprehensive Plan.

Planning and Zoning Director Eldridge Gunn said a goal of the Planning and Zoning retreat was to establish a framework for future meetings between the two bodies.

Reviewing the past year’s planning and zoning activities, Gunn said the city had annexed approximately 60 acres, the majority of which involved the Burch and Thrailkill property west of the city center, and approved eight rezoning requests. The majority of those requests, he said, were for office or commercial use.

“I think the move toward offices is going to be a trend that continues,” he said.

The group discussed other development issues such as trends in development plans that include more retail and office use. Also examined were the special exceptions, variances and revised elevation plans that had come before council members and P&Z commissioners.

Citing this as the first year that many of these and other types of data had been compiled and discussed as a joint group, Gunn reported that the city had issued 249 last year, adding that Fayetteville was the primarily issuer of building permits in Fayette County.

In 2006, the city had already issued nearly 100 permits, said City Manager Joe Morton.

Within the conversation on development, Councilman Larry Dell said a worthwhile tracking statistic would be that of accounting for amount of greenspace included in developments.

Also questioned was the percent of undeveloped land still available in Fayetteville. In terms of other development trends, Commissioner Bill Talley said recent proposals give the impression that an increased amount of in-fill development is occurring and may well continue.

In terms of architectural guidelines for development, Fayetteville is divided into four areas. Gunn asked if the group was satisfied with the “buildings of architectural influence” used as guidelines in those areas. Commissioner Allen Feldman said he thought the guidelines were useful.

“We have a reputation of being tough and that keeps property values up,” he said. “We want quality projects that will benefit our neighbors.”

Mayor Kenneth Steele agreed, adding that the city should always be open for new ideas while maintaining those high standards.

He complimented P&Z commissioners for their diligence in holding to those standards, adding that high standards have turned some developers into the city’s most vocal cheerleaders.

Commenting on the rigors and potential pitfalls of the development process, P&Z Chair Sarah Murphy said, “Developers will do what you want them to do if you require it.”

A topic of conversation relevant to the future of Fayetteville dealt with the growing number of seniors and the living accommodations some will likely require.

Dell, Feldman and Councilman Walt White were among others in the group that were adamant that development codes, ordinances and other measures be in place to adequately address the current and future needs of seniors.

“We need established guidelines the elderly and those using assisted living situations that meet future needs,” Feldman said.

Gunn used a portion of the meeting to to report on the public participation area of the city‘s 20-Year Comprehensive Plan. The report was of an interim nature, with Gunn encouraging citizens to take the online survey provided at the city’s Web site. Comprehensive plans assess a wide variety of current status and needs areas for the community. They compliment many of the planning and forecast efforts for cities and counties around Georgia.

“We need input to help us stay on track with the Comprehensive Plan,” Gunn said.

Public participation is a significant feature of the development of the state-required plan. Others input areas include stakeholders meetings. Three of the four planned meetings have already been held. Though due for completion and submission to Georgia Department of Community Affairs many months from now, Gunn stressed the desire to have residents take part in the survey.

Fayetteville residents are encouraged to take the online Comprehensive Plan survey by visiting the city’s Web site at and clicking on the Comprehensive Plan Public Opinion Survey section.

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