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Big Wieland rezoning may depend on MacDuff Pkwy.

Two rezoning proposals that would add 238 homes on 104 acres off MacDuff Parkway were vetted Monday night by the Peachtree City Planning Commission.

One plan from John Wieland Homes calls for 204 homes on an 87-acre tract currently zoned for industrial use; the other is for 34 homes on a 17-acre parcel that was once set aside for a future elementary school in the Centennial subdivision.

[For examples included in the Wieland application to the Planning Commission, click on the file attachment at the bottom of this story.]

Chief among the planners’ concerns were the school system’s projected need for that future school site, and the potential traffic impact on the already-clogged Ga. Highway 54 West area.

Planning Commissioner Aaron Daily said he has first-hand knowledge of the traffic problems because he lives in Centennial, and he urged that the MacDuff Parkway extension be built before the proposed subdivisions are developed.

“To me, it’s a safety issue with only one way in and one way out of those homes,” Daily said. “... Until there’s a second access point there I will have a hard time supporting any houses.”

The 204-home subdivision would be age-targeted for residents 55 and up with price points north of $300,000. The 34-home subdivision would not be age-targeted but would have price points upwards of $450,000, Wieland officials said.

The commission did not vote on the rezonings, but is expected to do so at a future date. That vote will be one of recommendation only, as the final say rests with the Peachtree City Council on all zoning matters.

The new development, Wieland officials said, is needed to test the waters of the local housing market to see if the company can proceed with the development of the 450 homes tied to the extension of MacDuff Parkway.

The company says revenue from the new development would go to pay for its $4 million share of the road project, which will include a bridge over the CSX railroad tracks and link MacDuff with Ga. Highway 74 at North Kedron Drive.

The other funds for the road extension will come from Brent West Village LLC, which owns property zoned for more than 600 active adult homes, also north of MacDuff Parkway and adjacent to the Wieland tract.

When those two properties were annexed several years ago, one requirement was that the MacDuff extension be completed before any certificates of occupancy are issued for either development.

The two current tracts under consideration, however, were not included in that restriction, officials said.

One of the commission’s concerns about MacDuff Parkway is that it could turn into a big cut-through for commuters looking to avoid the traffic logjam on Hwy. 54 West. Though Wieland officials noted that traffic calming devices are planned, there is some concern that they won’t stop those motivated for a quicker way home.

As for the potential school site in Centennial, it was deeded to the school system, but because a school wasn’t built within seven years, the property reverted back to Wieland’s possession.

A contingency in the zoning for the Centennial subdivision was that the school site remain open space if a school wasn’t built. Wieland officials say that to develop the school site, they are swapping it out with open space that will be put on the 87-acre tract that would be rezoned for residential use.

Mike Satterfield, facilities director for the Fayette County School System, told the commission that an elementary school site would be needed somewhere in the area to handle kids given that the three nearest schools are at or near capacity and one of the schools is more than 40 years old.

The need will be greater once Wieland develops its 450-home subdivision north of MacDuff Parkway in coming years, Satterfield said.

Of the three closest elementary schools, Crabapple Lane Elementary is near its capacity and Peachtree City Elementary is over capacity while Kedron Elementary has room for maybe 50 to 75 more students, Satterfield said.

If Wieland were amenable to it, another school site north of the current end of MacDuff Parkway could work as well, though the school system needs a site that is at least a mile away from the railroad tracks for safety purposes in case of derailment or other calamity, Satterfield said.

Though the 17-acre former school site is currently zoned for residential use, the rezoning is necessary because of the open space restriction on the parcel if the school was never built.

The planning commission can only make a recommendation on the rezoning request. Final determination will be made by the City Council.


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