F’ville eyes possibilities for annexing 1,099 acres
Talks driven by movie-TV production studios coming north of Piedmont Fayette Hospital
It is all in the preliminary stages, but get ready for a flurry of activity in the areas west and northwest of Fayetteville in the coming months.
Potential annexations, sewer service and developing an updated master plan for the area were all topics at the Fayetteville City Council retreat held Feb. 22.
The reason for the discussion is the recent announcement that British-based Pinewood Studios Group wants to establish its first U.S. film and television studio facility in north central Fayette County.
On the topic of potential annexations, City Manager Joe Morton said the city has recently been approached by the owners of the Rivers, Horton and Williams properties just west of Fayetteville about annexing into the city.
So what properties could be potential annexation areas for the city? They can be divided into two basic groups with options in each. The first group would potentially include the 288-acre Rivers property known as Pinewood’s Project Stargate and situated along Sandy Creek Road, the Horton property adjacent to the north side of the hospital and the Williams property to the east of Sandy Creek Road and adjacent to Crystal Lake.
The Horton property consists of 97 acres immediately south of Project Stargate and another 42 acres just across the Veterans Parkway and adjacent to the north side of Piedmont Fayette Hospital. The south side of the Horton property also borders portions of Sandy Creek Road south of Veterans Parkway. The Horton property would be needed to extend sewer to the Project Stargate property.
The Williams property consists of 153 acres and is situated immediately to the west of Crystal Lake on Ga. Highway 54 and east of Sandy Creek Road. The property extends northward toward the bypass.
The second group of potential annexation sites were featured on the map for discussion purposes. Though not required for the installation of the main sewer lines, there are a number of other parcels that could potentially tie into sewer if it becomes available.
The Rivers family owns a 45-acre tract adjacent to the north side of Project Stargate, a 126-acre tract immediately to the east of Stargate along Sandy Creek Road and a 136-acre tract to the southwest, a portion of which is adjacent to the Horton property.
City staff noted that the 30-acre Rivers Elementary School at Sandy Creek Road and Veterans Parkway is currently being considered for sale by the Fayette County Board of Education. The site is being considered as a campus for the Savannah College of Arts and Design.
Additional properties that may or may not want to be considered for annexation include the 122-acre Lester property along Hwy. 54 between Veterans Parkway and Tyrone Road and a 60-acre site northeast of the Lester tract owned by the Fayette County School System for a future high school.
Yet another large tract, the Trammell property at more than 350 acres, is located north of the Lester tract and the school system property. It was noted at the retreat that the property owner has not expressed an interest in annexation.
While currently under review to obtain a General Business (GB) zoning in unincorporated Fayette County, annexing into Fayetteville could fall under a zoning category such as Planned Community Development (PCD) for Phase 1 of the studio project and under the R-70 residential zoning for remaining property that would mimic the current county zoning for residential property.
Morton said the property owners could work with the city in parallel with the current effort to have the county rezone the Project Stargate area as GB. Morton said the annexation and rezoning activities could be achieved in 60-90 days.
Pertaining to the updated master plan for the potential development of the area, the joint effort between the city, county, Fayette County Development Authority, large land owners and Peachtree City-based Historical Concepts will begin a series of meetings in the coming days to work out plans for the area that encompasses approximately 2,000 acres to the east, north and west of Piedmont Fayette Hospital.
The updated plan will follow a previous concept plan developed in recent years where the large area was potentially targeted for several hamlets and neighborhoods and would cluster commercial and residential development and leave large areas of land as open space.
There were several options relating to the potential installation of sewer on the various properties. All options and configurations are preliminary and were included in the discussion to provide council members with a way to begin envisioning potential courses the city might take dependent on which property owners might request annexation and how sewer might be provided to those properties if the annexation requests included sewer service.
The options ranged from $350,000 to $1.7 million and will be discussed in greater detail in the coming months once development plans for the area are announced.
In terms of funding options for the installation of sewer, those costs could come from refinancing existing city debt, from requiring the developer to cover the costs or to utilize a proportionate share schedule.
Fayetteville currently has a sewage treatment capacity of 5 millions gallons a day, but utilizes less than half of that capacity.