Lakeside mini-village Calistoa voted down 4-0

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Jason Pace, principal in Pace Lynch Corp. of Peachtree City, makes the presentation of the Calistoa plan to City Council May 16. Photo/Cal Beverly.
Jason Pace, principal in Pace Lynch Corp. of Peachtree City, makes the presentation of the Calistoa plan to City Council May 16. Photo/Cal Beverly.

Ernst: ‘Fabulous proposal, wrong place’; Fleisch: ‘Wrong place’; Madden: ‘Terrific plan’ with noise and safety issues; King: ‘Best plan I’ve seen in 5 years’ but too close to the airport — 

The more than 50 citizens attending the May 16 Peachtree City Council meeting were split roughly 70-30 against the rezoning request Thursday night. There was no such split among council members.

The 4-0 vote turned down the rezoning request that would have put 350 luxury apartments, 43 homes and 27 townhomes on 28 acres inside the city’s industrial park on the scenic eastern bank of Lake McIntosh, one of Fayette County’s drinking water reservoirs.

The site is adjacent to the Peachtree Regional Airport — Falcon Field, and that proximity defined much of the council’s concerns over aircraft noise and on-ground safety.

Jason Pace of Pace Lynch Corp. presented the plan as a live-work-play answer to modern corporate needs for young, skilled workers. He noted the industrially zoned parcel has sat vacant for 29 years when it could have been producing tax revenue for the city.

Supporters touted the need for the city to adapt its zoning to promote attraction of talent that would bring corporate headquarters and high-tech jobs. Several emphasized that the city needed to change to bring in the workers and companies of today rather than continuing to rely on what once worked but no longer did.

Opponents argued against the notion that the city is in decline and needed this development to turn it around.

“I see thousands of kids with their families when I drive by the sports fields,” said 46-year-resident Randy Hough.

Morgan Hallman said a “yes vote would set a precedent that would pressure the city to make more changes from industrial zones to residential.

Aventure Aviation owner Zaheer Faruqi urged a “no” vote until the site could get another entry point, instead of the current one-way-in, one-way-out.

The council said the negatives of airport noise, safety issues related to hundreds of residences being so close to aircraft taking off and landing outweighed the plan’s positives.

Mayor Vanessa Fleisch and council members Mike King, Kevin Madden and Terry Ernst voted to deny the rezoning, meaning the applicant must wait six months to re-apply.

Councilman Phil Prebor is on a leave of absence from his council duties because of the illness of a family member.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Peachtree City Council: “We need to attract young professionals and new families to maintain the vitality of our community.”

    [Shoots modern urban planning ideas in the face several times.]

    Peachtree City Council: “I don’t understand why can’t we attract young people to our area!”

    • Sorry you don’t understand why we can’t attract young people – or young professionals or new families.

      I will explain. First of all, those are 3 different things. Young people are single and work in retail and usually shere rental housing. Young professionals are single and live in upscale rental housing. New families are started by 35 year old people who still prefer renting because of job mobility. All this is new and strange to a city council who belong to a different generation – maybe 2 generations ago.

      Rental housing is the key. You can design all the luxury condos you want, you can create a city center, you can encourage shared workspace establishments, you can have town greens, gathering places (one fool even said we need a place set aside for protests). and dare I say it – public transportation. You can do all that and more and it won’t mean a thing unless there is affordable rental housing. That’s the reality of it.

      I know everybody hates density and somehow confuses density with quality – and even crime, but understand that you can change many things, but you can’t change a dedicated single renter with a room-temperature credit score into a married parent of 2 young kids tied to a $350,000 mortgage. Until city council accepts the reality – nothing will happen to attract the next generation to PTC. Of course that means the old-time established residents and voters have to experience an attitude change as well. Do any of you see that happening?

    • OMG Young families are very attracted to PTC, where do people think that? The problem is young families can not afford PTC and do not want to sacrifice space and home amenities to live in PTC. It is not like a ton of homes are sitting empty.

      • I think when I or city council uses the word “attract’ the hope is that the attraction will convert into action such as take a job here, start a business here, buy a home here or rent a home here.

        I am “attracted” to Paris and Beverly Hills and Manhattan, but sadly will never live in any of those places. Best to reread my explanation above and understand my use of the word “attract” implies follow up action like moving here and paying taxes – not just lusting over the possibility.

  2. What a wasted opportunity for Peachtree City to enjoy lake McIntosh. You had some of the best engineering, architectural, and development firms in Atlanta provide a innovative plan that could have been a asset to the community for generations. Instead of taking the time to ask the development team questions over the concerns such as access and noise, the council quickly shot it down. Won’t take long before before word gets out that Peachtree City isn’t interested in new innovative concepts. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a large sheet metal building next to that beautiful lake very soon.

  3. Well now, that was pretty easy to predict – which I did including the reasons that would be given by council. Good plan though. Pretty clear that residential of any kind need not apply for that site – ever.

    As for the property, don’t worry about it. We will need some of it when the Falcon Field runway gets extended to 7,000 feet (plus another 1,000 or so for misjudged landings) for the 737’s and to reserve a couple thousand more if we want to attract Fed-X or UPS for a hub. They use 767’s and 747’s. Either way we would need the land to relocate a couple of golf holes and maybe even Planterra clubhouse.

    • RWM read the posts where folks are looking hard for homes. These homes were still going to be way higher than young family’s price points. There are homes in the high 300-400 price point but everyone is crying for homes under 300k ..these were not going to be in that price point.

      • No, but approving Calistoa would have taken demand-pull pricing pressure off of the market overall by addressing scarcity. It’s one of a number of battles that need to be won to make this down livable across a broader cross-section of income brackets.

        Next up – small-footprint affordable housing for starter families, and restoring some level of amenities this town used to support.

        • Small inexpensive homes are not going to happen, the land costs in PTC makes it impossible to build for less than 300k..look at Cresswind small 2 bedroom home starting at 297k. Little houses are available in PTC near Holly Grove and near Glenloch they are still in mid to high 200s and sell fast.

          • PTC is not the only place with high land cost. Pretty much a problem everywhere. The only antidote to high land cost seeking affordable housing is higher density. Yes, I know – density – a very bad word.

            Got to get over it. Gonna happen anyway. Just a matter of time – as in how fast does our city council and their supporters/contributors/voters get replaced by the Mayor Pete’s and the AOC’s of the next generation.

            Our generation took a perfectly good land use plan and compromised it by taking good, dense, multi-family zoned land at 14 units to the acre and devalued it by allowing Bob Adams to build his very fine senior housing throughout the city at only 5 units per acre. That means that 5 perfectly nice retired couples are occupying land that 14 working and tax-paying families could have otherwise used. Think about that.

            Now is a little late to complain about the lack of affordable housing and it is disingenuous to object to the next generation trying to claim a piece of the affordable housing pie through redevelopment.

            One possible solution is that hopefully someone in the Royal family will convince Jim that 250 young, working, tax-paying couples and singles are a better win for everyone than 6 lanes of bowling that plans to shun serious bowlers and leagues.

      • At the Memorial Day event this AM I had 2 different people ask me if I was serious about 737’s at Falcon Field. I assured them I was not supporting the idea – just putting it out there for consideration. I can see an aggressive business community and city council in the future thinking about a runway extension and larger aircraft as a win for the community.

        The grandsons and granddaughters of mine and others formerly involved like Jim Strickland, Jim Pace, Bob Truitt, Jim Royal, Doug Warner, Jim Fulton, Gordon Fleming, Jim Webb, Bob Lenox, Tom Farr and even Steve Brown and Don Haddix will be the ones that stay in town and have positions of power. Read that again -I said grandsons and granddaughters of our 1980’s movers and shakers and 2 others. Think about that.

        I don’t personally like that idea but in 2055 when I am 100 years past my birthday and the city is approaching their own centennial – who can absolutely rule out the possibility that these young people will want to seize even more power thru an expanded airport?