Peachtree City Planning Comm. recommends denial of Calistoa

7
2366
Graphic of Calistoa provided by Peachtree City Planning Department.
Graphic of Calistoa provided by Peachtree City Planning Department.

A rezoning request for 28 acres, the proposed site of the Calistoa mixed-use development adjacent to Lake Macintosh, was recommended for denial on April 22 by the Peachtree City Planning Commission. The request will go to the City Council on May 16.

Peachtree City developer Pace Lynch teamed with North Carolina-based Crescent Communities to propose the rezoning of 28 acres of a 37-acre parcel for the establishment of 43 single-family homes, 9,500 sq. ft. of commercial space, 27 townhomes and 350 high-end apartments. The acreage is situated adjacent to Lake McIntosh and the Planterra golf course.

Jason Pace said the current trend for office parks in suburban areas has transitioned away from what it once was. Commenting on the current trend and specific to Peachtree City, Pace said a company wanting a 40,000 sq. ft. office building wants to locate at the Calistoa site, provided the development is mixed-use.

Pace noted that the development conforms with the city’s desire to have a 75 percent residential, 25 percent commercial split for property tax revenue purposes, rather than the 80/20 split now present in the city.

Calistoa represents a $119.75 million project, Pace said, adding that it would generate $1.22 million in property taxes to Fayette County and $306,956 in property taxes for Peachtree City. Beyond that, the project would generate $2.01 million in city impact fees.

If used as a corporate headquarters or a logistics and storage center, the property would generate only a fraction of those amounts, said Pace.

The idea behind Calistoa is to build a community, said Crescent Communities Director of Development Joe Martinez.

“(Calistoa) is a technology park rather than an industrial park,” Martinez said, adding that the project comes with high-end residential offerings that will attract workers, empty-nesters and young people.

Several in the audience spoke against the proposal, with most referencing increased traffic congestion concerns or stating a preference to keep the property zoned for industrial use. A nearby business owner in the adjacent Naeco Way area cited concerns about tractor-trailer traffic negotiating the immediate roadways. A part of the proposal would be to have Naeco Way linking to Calistoa.

Pace after public comments noted that other industrial park owners did support Calistoa.

Others speakers thought, as did some on the commission, that the concept was a good one, provided it was located in a non-industrial area.

City Planning Director Robin Cailloux during the presentation said that while the Calistoa proposal supports six of the nine applicable Comprehensive Plan goals, the request is not in compliance with the Future Land Use plan and is generally not compatible with the surrounding uses. Due to the above, city planning staff did not recommend approval of the rezoning.

Commissioners at the end of the agenda item voted 4-1 to recommend denial of the rezoning request. Though most said the project was desirable for the city and would be appropriate in a non-industrial location. They also cited a lack of compliance with the Comprehensive Plan in their decision. Several on the board spent more time focusing on the potential noise impediment coming from nearby Falcon Field, along with citing potential safety concerns related to air traffic issues and plane crashes.

In terms of noise, Crescent Communities Managing Director Kyle Brock said his firm was aware of, and would make accommodations for, noise mitigation measures during construction.

The lone vote to oppose the denial recommendation came from Commission Paul Gresham, who said there are certain times when properties need to be considered for other uses.

“Conditions sometimes change,” Gresham said.

Commenting on the history of the marketability of the site, Bill Lynch during the meeting explained that Pace Lynch during its ownership of the property since 2013, as well as previous owners in prior decades, have been unsuccessful in marketing the property for industrial use.

Weighing in on the proposal after the meeting was industrial park neighbor and NAECO LLC president David Bergmann, whose company is located on Naeco Way.

“Over the last 10 years, we have looked at this parcel multiple times, and even had it under contract once,” Bergmann said. “However, we felt if not suitable for industrial development due to its hilly topography. And when we walked the land we found some large rock formations that concerned us. The land is still undeveloped so I wonder if others have come to the same conclusion. Maybe rezoning is the best option? We certainly do not mind if a responsible developer brings a mixed-use idea for this land.”

7 COMMENTS

    • Spyglass – that’s an old and outdated position on apartments. I know because I always thought they were bad as well. A former police chief actually said they cause crime. But the new way of looking at it is that those of us over 60 don’t have opinions anymore. We are not relevant to developers, advertisers or politicians. If you are 18-35 – mighty fine; 35 – 50 – ok; 50 plus – might be tolerated if you are “woke” to the new realities of life which include renting, Starbucks, fluid career choices, no kids until after 35, etc.

      Its tough being irrelevant, although I am getting used to it gradually.

      Believe me, the resale market in PTC is more than sufficient to supply those few young folks who want to own and can qualify for a $350,000 house. And that’s about 15%. The rest either wants to rent or has to rent because of their recent foreclosures. That means that since our apartments are under 10% and 85% of the market wants rentals, new apartments will do well and eventually unsold resale houses will convert to rentals and do well. Seems backwards – doesn’t it?

  1. Sorry Joe. Great plan – I really do like it, but the reality is that no one on this city council is strong enough to put a majority vote together that overrides staff and planning commission and all the density NIMBY’s. Even pulling back to 200 apartments – which is probably your realistic expectation – won’t get it done. The vision of a small plane taking off from Falcon Field and landing in a large apartment building that is literally – right there! is too much to ignore.

    Nevertheless, the plan is so good it should be preserved until the average age of city council is below 50 and more important their average time in PTC under 10 years. Then you have a chance. That’s 3 or 4 elections away.

    OR use the plan on a similar size or smaller parcel that needs to be redeveloped like the underutilized soccer fields or the trailer park behind Publix or best of all Booth Middle school.

    • Robert – thanks for your kind works about the plan. We are trying to create something that benefits the entire City in this project.

      Regarding the airport issue – here’s straight talk on this. We have worked extensively with Falcon Field to site our project outside of an extended runway protection zone, and are complying with all FAA Part 77 regulations on the maximum heights and locations of the buildings. The buildings are below the maximum heights allowed by the FAA, which sets the standard nationally and builds in a large margin of safety.

      This is the site we’ve identified for this project. There are no alternate sites that offer lake frontage, proximity to a golf course, and adjacency to major employers in Peachtree City. There is already a major potential employer we are talking to that would move into the southeast end of the site.

      Come to our event on Tuesday – we welcome your support and feedback!

      • Hey Joe,

        Sure, there is no problem with 14 CFR Part 77; however, will potential buyers spend $300,000+ on a house with a lake view and contend with the noise? Your team’s problem is to somehow “spin” the noise issue with potential customers in order to sell these units and the city council’s problem to deal with in 5 or 10 tears after your team is gone.

        • Cyclist – thanks for your note, please come Tuesday if you can, RSVP via Calistoa.com. A couple of thoughts here: (1) We hire sound consultants on every project we do, but on this one we are going above and beyond with an analysis from microphones placed around the site. We will be designing the buildings with feedback from that analysis, and if warranted, upgrading insulation and windows with a higher sound rating. (2) I live in the flight pattern of Peachtree Dekalb Airport, and knew it when I moved into our house. I had the freedom to choose – and I purchased the home, because I liked the location and the planes are occasional background noise. Same applies to the folks at Planterra Ridge, who prefer their lake view over being somewhere else with less noise. (3) Do you think the development will be a success, despite the perceived noise? I am accountable for the success of the project – our firm wouldn’t spend over $100 million on it if we didn’t think it would succeed. Hope this is helpful and puts things into perspective! Best, Joe.

  2. Hello citizens of Peachtree City, this is Joe from Crescent Communities. I’d like to invite you to check out our Calistoa.com website and register to attend our co-creation session on May 7th at Line Creek Brewing. We look forward to seeing you there – let’s imagine a place that will create a better lifestyle for Peachtree City residents and employees.