Coweta OKs buffer change in area annexed by Senoia

Coweta County commissioners gave unanimous approval Tuesday to a request from Senoia to remove a portion of a previous agreement involving a required 50-foot buffer on a 268-acre tract annexed on the city’s west side in 2008. A portion of the property will be the home of the 63-acre Leroy Johnson Park that will become an active recreation facility.

Located on the north side of Ga. Highway 16 on the city’s west side, the 268-acre tract was annexed into the city in 2008 as the Fieldstone Estates subdivision. Annexed under the R-40 Conservation Subdivision category, the zoning required 40 percent open space and a 50-foot buffer around the perimeter of the property.

More recently in 2011, the city purchased 62.8 acres from the Fieldstone Estates developer for use as a park with the understanding that the developer would be able to maintain the 241 lots approved in the annexation and count the 62.8 acres purchased by the city as part of the open space requirement, said Senoia City Administrator Richard Ferry. Much of the remaining open space included wetlands, creek buffer, stormwater retention and space for amenities, Ferry said.

Earlier this year the city approved the preliminary plat for the subdivision. The city on Tuesday asked commissioners to remove the 50-foot vegetative buffer in the area of the property near the railroad tracks so the subdivision work can move forward.

Commissioners agreed, voting unanimously to remove the buffer requirement.

By agreement, the nearly 63 acres purchased by the city for an active recreation park was deeded to the county and will become a county facility.

The joint venture between the city and county in the spring will lead to the creation of the new Leroy Johnson Park. The agreement calls for initial construction to begin within three years.

“To meet the goals of active recreation in the city and surrounding unincorporated areas of the county the master plan recommends the development of a ‘future community park’ to meet active recreation needs,” the agreement said.

The agreement noted the existing Leroy Johnson Park on Howard Road that was established in 1978 as a baseball and softball facility is in need of improvements and that both the cost of expansion and the limitations of expanding the existing facility would far outweigh the benefits of those improvements at the new site.