City manager: ‘Further review is warranted’; ordinances may need to be changed to allow proposal —
The Peachtree City Council seemed to like the idea of rental boats on Lake Peachtree, but at its June 20 meeting said more study is needed.
Peachtree City businessman Rob Rothley pitched the notion of installing a boat dock at Drake Field next to City Hall and renting a variety of human-powered watercraft in the shallow lake waters with a seasonal schedule.
Council members and City Manager Jon Rorie said they liked the idea of residents enjoying one of the city’s scenic centerpieces, but part of the ordinance problem was that the lake use is restricted to residents only. In addition, the public-private nature of the business operating on public property might set a precedent that would allow other vendors to seek similar rights.
Rothley — who operates Leisure Lifestyle Products in the city — said he had either outfitted or consulted on other similar projects in other cities and wanted to offer that amenity to local residents.
He offered to construct a $43,000 connecting bridge from Drake Field to Picnic Park and a boat storage building at his expense but on city-owned property.
Rothley would rent up to 10 kayaks, 10 paddle boards, 4 pedal-operated hydrobikes, 5 pontoon 4-seater pedal boats and one canoe from the Drake Field site.
The rental operation would likely run seven days a week during the warm season and weekends in fall and spring, Rothley said.
He noted that while social media posts about the proposal were almost uniformly positive, he had received negative responses from a group of property owners on the lake’s west side, who have exclusive rights to operated gas-powered motorboats on the lake, one of the drinking water reservoirs serving the Fayette County Water System.
After discussing the obstacles in city ordinances, City Manager Rorie said he was for the operation as a customer but against it as a city manager.
“Further review is warranted,” Rorie said. “Better a slow yes than a quick no.” No action was taken by council on the proposal.