Wariness, with one commissioner opposing
It was a week ago that Peachtree City business owner Dar Thompson in a letter to the editor and on The Citizen’s Facebook Live program referenced the potential for the annexation of the former McIntosh Village and Fischer Crossing properties in east Coweta County into the city. Commenting on what thoughts Coweta County might have on a potential annexation of either property into Peachtree City, Coweta County commissioners and County Administrator Michael Fouts weighed in on the issue.
Above, the Coweta County Commission. Pictured, from left, are commissioners Rodney Brooks and Tim Lassetter, Chairman Al Smith, and commissioners Paul Poole and Bob Blackburn. Photo/Ben Nelms.
Fouts said he could speak only in general terms and that each commissioner would want to know what would be proposed, in the event such a proposal was to be forthcoming.
“At this point they don’t know what it is,” Fouts said, noting some of the variables that Coweta commissioners would be required to consider.
Foremost in any potential consideration, and especially concerning the former McIntosh village property totaling 1,552 acres, situated adjacent to Peachtree City, would be transportation.
“We would look at the transportation impact. That would be the biggest concern for Coweta,” said Fouts. “It would be a regional transportation issue, (involving) two counties and a city.”
Transportation would not be the only issue requiring the attention of Coweta County. Other considerations would include the impact on public safety, along with arrangements for issues such as service delivery strategies and the distribution of local option sales tax and SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) revenues, Fouts said.
Commissioner Paul Poole (southeast Coweta County) said it is difficult to stop an annexation, adding that he would not be in favor of the annexation of the former McIntosh Village area, now owned by the Mormon Church.
“We have our own land use program and comprehensive plan, and cities build to a higher density,” Poole said. “And our recent meeting on keeping a rural character had no citizens in favor of it.”
Commenting on the history of the development of the 1,552 acres adjacent to Peachtree City, Poole said, “We put 17 stipulations on that (McIntosh Village) property 10 years ago. (Peachtree City) fought us on the TDK extension. They said they didn’t want the development and the growth. It’s ironic now that they are wanting to annex.”
From Peachtree City’s current perspective, City Manager Jon Rorie said he had spoken informally with Fouts about the potential for future annexation of the McIntosh Village and Fischer Crossing areas, sites north of the McIntosh Village properties.
“That doesn’t mean the discussion is elevated to the level of a public policy issue,” Rorie said, noting that such discussions, and others, often occur between management staff of cities and counties. “To date, we’ve had no applications from any developer wanting us to consider annexation.”
Commissioner Rodney Brooks (northeast Coweta) said the county follows the intent of state law, where the commission would want to see similar zoning to what is already in place in a given area. Specifically, said Brooks, Coweta’s position would depend on the proposed use of the property.
“We would have to look at the whole package,” Brooks said.
In terms of transportation impact, the eventual development of the large, former McIntosh Village property, and regardless if annexed or not, will add to the traffic flow. Some in Fayette have, for years, maintained that developing the 1,550-plus acres in east Coweta would add to Peachtree City and Fayette County’s traffic woes, with or without a bridge built over Line Creek.
Foregoing the impact of installing a bridge that would provide an alternative entry and exit into east central Coweta, where today only one exists with Ga. Highway 54, the charge to the Coweta County Commission would include looking at the traffic flow from that area to other locations in Coweta and to Interstate 85.
When it comes to accessing I-85, a quick look at the maps shows the obvious, and demonstrates Fouts’ point when noting the contention of some living along Hwy. 54 South near the continuously-growing areas in east Coweta around Sharpsburg and Senoia – “There is only one stop light between here and I-85.”
To that point, the only traffic signal between the McIntosh Village area and I-85 is at the intersection of Fischer Road and Ga. Highway 34. North of Hwy. 34, motorists traveling north to I-85 take Fischer Road, Minix Road or Shaw Road to access the interstate at Collinsworth Road.
That route stands in contrast to what motorists experience when traveling from the intersection of highways 54 and 74 in Peachtree City headed north to I-85, where it is necessary to pass through nearly a dozen traffic signals.
It should be noted that, unlike Fayette, Coweta includes nine municipalities, two of which are situated in two counties. Those include Palmetto and Chattahoochee Hills.