Imker objects to selling ‘soul of Peachtree City down the tubes for money’
The Peachtree City Council Thursday night voted 3-1 to rezone an 88-acre tract for 208 homes near MacDuff Parkway. The vote came with a condition that only 100 homes could be built prior to completion of the MacDuff Parkway road extension.
It will take about 17 months to fully complete the road extension, which will link the road with Ga. Highway 74 north, according to officials with John Wieland Homes.
The 88-acre site is located along the CSX railroad and was previously zoned for industrial development. Councilman Eric Imker, who voted against the rezoning, argued that the land should have remained available for industrial use. The catch is that service trucks heading to and from the site would have to use MacDuff Parkway, though Imker suggested there was a way for them to be routed around most of the residential traffic.
The negative vote came from Imker, who said the decision came down to money.
“I’m not prepared to sell the soul of Peachtree City down the tubes for money,” Imker said.
A representative for John Wieland Homes noted the company has owned the property for more than 10 years and no one has approached to purchase the site for an industrial use.
Wieland President Jeff Kingsfield said the bigger issue is getting MacDuff Parkway in to help traffic and also the need for new housing in the city in an effort to attract young families.
Councilman Mike King said denying the rezoning would simply “kick the can down the road” in terms of postponing the MacDuff extension.
“We really need to finish MacDuff Parkway,” said Councilman Terry Ernst. “I think everybody agrees with that.”
Imker said he was concerned about MacDuff becoming the victim of cut-through traffic once the extension opens.
Mayor Vanessa Fleisch, a real estate agent, abstained from the vote and did not participate in the discussion. Fleisch previously said that she will not make any money from marketing the homes for Wieland, but a co-worker has signed a deal to sell Wieland homes in the area.
The road extension, which will include a bridge over the railroad tracks, will be a very welcome sight for residents in Wilksmoor Village, who currently only have one way in and out of their homes every day: Ga. Highway 54 West.
Hwy. 54 gets so clogged in the evening commute times that traffic can back up nearly two miles to the east, all the way to Willowbend Road. The city has ordered a traffic study of the entire corridor in search of solutions to help move traffic more efficiently, and that study will take into account future commercial development on the highway along with the Wieland subdivision that was rezoned Thursday night.
Wieland officials have said some of the homes will be sold above the $350,000 mark and some will eclipse $400,000. The development will have a number of pocket parks designed to be used by residents.
The parcel is home to the “Peach Pit” construction landfill, and there will be no development on that site, Wieland officials have said.