Haddix: PTC needs an annexation plan
I believe the citizens deserve more information on the Future Land Use Plan than has been given in The Citizen as of April 20. This is an extremely important matter that is not going away.
Since this was my agenda item and proposal, here is my presentation as read on the dais:
Our lack of a Future Land Use Plan for property surrounding Peachtree City has been a concern to me for years. It is one component of our needed but nonexistent Comprehensive Strategic Plan for Peachtree City.
I am very aware of the rezoning and the types of construction the county has allowed on our borders. Recent events have moved the requirement for a Future Land Use Plan to the top of our needs list for me.
I am not saying we need to be out there annexing everything in sight. I still adhere to the idea we annex to fulfill a real need in a controlled manner, not to just grow.
So why then, do we need a plan for annexing property? I will elaborate.
One of the agenda items for tonight is a step one annexation request by Scott Bradshaw. That has resulted in an email from Commission Chairman Steve Brown expressing concerns. That does not mean they would object, but it raises the question of what if they ever did object to any annexation?
As a Georgia annexation arbitrator i know what it takes to file a valid objection, what the arbitrators would look at and how they would approach a judgment. One set of documents they would study are the Fayette County Future Land Use Map and the Peachtree City Future Land Use Map for annexed property, which Peachtree City does not have. That is a mistake that must be remedied.
Then there are the concerns of property owners in Peachtree City along and near Ga. highways 54 and 74 and the area in between over property development. They are concerned over what the county has wanted to do in the past and will want to do in the future. They are concerned over what developers want to build.
There is also the very real issue of Fayetteville seeking to annex over 1,000 acres to bring [Pinewood Studios] into Fayetteville. That is a major jump of their city limits west toward Peachtree City. It is a dramatic change to the nature of Fayette County and a huge impact on Peachtree City.
But, it does not end there. Another block of land, extending to include the Fayetteville West Bypass area, has approved plans by the county for about 2,000 new homes and a lot of retail development. The plan by Fayetteville, at that time, was to annex this into Fayetteville as well.
Then there is the property between the West Bypass and Peachtree City that is developing. Where will Fayetteville stop?
For those who doubt this is a real concern, before 2008 Fayetteville was actively growing its boundaries. Look at the map of Fayetteville and you will see the corridor growth along Hwy. 54 toward Peachtree City. That was stopped by the economic issues of 2008.
When Fayetteville’s sewer capacity was almost to maximum they expanded their capacity for even more growth. Having talked to the engineer who designed the extra capacity and to WASA, Fayetteville has about 4 million gallons a day of unused capacity. That is comparable to WASA’s excess capacity, but existing in a city less than half the size of Peachtree City.
There are a lot of reasons to be concerned about Fayetteville’s growth and plans. But to make it clear, I am talking about Fayetteville, not just today, but under future councils. We have seen the push on the past councils, see what this council wants to annex to date and have no idea what future councils will want. So we must be ready.
Then there is the growth in the unincorporated county. It is happening and cannot be ignored. A simple reality is counties were not intended to build into and function like cities. When the growth hits a certain level in an area, it either becomes its own city or is annexed by an adjoining city. In the extreme, the county and city merge into one government with the county having very limited power. The county does not control annexation, the cities do.
The realities and choices we are facing were not anticipated in the past, but the questions are very real today. What is the Hwy. 74 corridor going to look like in the future? Who is going to control the Hwy. 54 corridor? Will it develop to county, Fayetteville or Peachtree City standards? Where are the city limits of Fayetteville and Peachtree City going to be? Will there even be any unincorporated county in the future along Hwy. 54?
I do not have the answers, but this is a conversation that has to take place. Part of that conversation is establishing a Future Land Use Plan for properties surrounding Peachtree City. I firmly believe it will provide not only the opinions and feelings of Peachtree City residents, but those in at least the immediately surrounding unincorporated areas. Indeed some have already expressed a desire to become part of Peachtree City, not liking what the county has done and not wanting to be part of Fayetteville.
There are more questions than answers at this time. We need to get some answers.
I brought this up to the city manager in the past, to which he said he was already thinking about it. When I added it as an agenda item to move it forward, he said staff was already discussing it. So, we independently are on the same page, which says we need this.
The city manager added several details. He began with the copy of the Fayette Future Land Use Plan I had provided him. He noted our borders with Tyrone and Coweta showed no unincorporated land to annex but addressed south of Peachtree City and some other details that need consideration.
You might find it interesting to look at the county plan as well, seeing a colored map showing how far Fayetteville has already annexed toward us. Adding in past the West Bypass gives one room for pause.
We need to have a conversation and a plan. We need to decide exactly how we want Peachtree City to be in the future. We need to be aware of how we are being affected by other governments.
Using the city manager’s expression, we cannot afford to continue to be reactive. We need to be proactive. This is indeed but one more component in developing a Comprehensive Strategic Plan.
Don Haddix, mayor
Peachtree City, Ga.