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PTC planners delay vote on Hwy. 54W big box retail

A proposal for a 164,000-square-foot shopping center on Ga. Highway 54 West at Line Creek Drive was presented to the Peachtree City Planning Commission Monday night. No vote was taken.

The plan for what is being called “McIntosh Village 2.0” includes a large “big box” tenant of up to 65,000 square feet and three junior anchors around 20,000 to 30,000 square feet each.

For a visual comparison, the Braelinn Kroger grocery store comes in at just under 70,000 square feet, so the largest store proposed for this development will come in a bit under that.

Because the shopping center exceeds the city’s size limit of 150,000 square feet, and the largest store exceeds 35,000 square feet, Trinity Development will need a special use permit from the City Council.

Trinity Development is also pursuing a traffic light on Ga. Highway 54, and also a connection through the Line Creek Nature Area property to the Shoppes at the Village Piazza retail center at MacDuff Parkway, where a traffic light already exists.

Several planning commissioners said that connection was very important for the viability of the struggling Village Piazza center.

Jim Lowe, representing Trinity, asked the commission to vote on the matter Monday night, saying that he hated to lose another month in losing potential tenants, since companies won’t talk with them until some level of city approval is authorized for the project.

But the commission was steadfast in saying they’d rather wait one more month, particularly since all the various conditions were not in writing, and neither was the proposed special use permit.

Generally, the Trinity Development proposal was well-received by the commission, but the commission’s vote is one of recommendation only. The final say rests with the City Council due to the necessity of the Special Use Permit.

Council approval is also needed for an agreement to sell or swap all of Line Creek Drive and Line Creek Court, two streets that dead-end on Trinity’s property only. That proposal generated controversy when the previous developer of the property asked for and got approval from the 2007-2008 council for the sale of the two roads.

The project is located on a parcel that backs up to the Cardiff Park subdivision. As such, Trinity Development has committed to a 75-foot buffer and also a landscaped berm that will have plantings to screen Cardiff Park residents from the shopping center.

One Cardiff Park resident, Tim Lydell, said he supported the proposal from Trinity Development. Lydell has been involved with a citizen’s group that has interfaced with both Trinity and a previous developer on the project.

Lydell said he felt that although the project wasn’t perfect, he felt the developer could be convinced to make the final necessary changes.

“We find them to be extremely cooperative,” Lydell said.

Caren Russell, who lives nearby in the Planterra Ridge subdivision, said she thought the shopping center will look much like The Avenue.

The proposal includes a special pedestrian walkway linking the smaller shops along Ga. Highway 54 with the big and junior box stores that will be set further from the highway. Also the plan includes a heavily-landscaped entrance off Hwy. 54 with a roundabout and a potential water feature.

Golf cart parking spaces will be provided along the sidewalks that are in front of the larger retail buildings, according to the plan.

As for the connection to the nearby shopping center to the west, Trinity Development has been in discussions with the Southern Conservation Trust, which owns the Line Creek Nature Area, to add features such as a playground, restrooms or other amenities in exchange for allowing the road connection through the northern portion of the Line Creek Nature Area parcel.

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