NEWS ANALYSIS: Adding more housing units will put pressure on Peachtree City schools and school zones


By Neil Sullivan

During the recent Peachtree City Council election, I shared my concern that multi-use development in Peachtree City may have impact on our school zoning. Some would assure us that these developments would not include apartments.

I fear this is a distinction without difference. Whether they are called apartments, flats, town houses, condominiums, co-ops, time shares, or van life rest stops, dense multi-unit stacked housing is where developers profit in multi-use development.

According to former Mayor Brown’s recent article, Peachtree City is prioritizing “Affordable Housing”. While there are many different definitions, in most cases, “affordable housing” includes dense, multi-unit housing like we are seeing spring up in Fayetteville.

In her letter to the editor, Ms. Emily Winkle informs us that “Fayette County is aging at an unusual rate. According to the US Census Bureau, the percentage of the population 65+ grew from 12.9% in 2010 to 19.5% in 2021. One of the many reasons this is compelling is because our citizens can opt out of contributing tax dollars to our school system at age 62.”

This is interesting, when you consider that the student FTE population of Fayette County schools is down in the same period from 21,517 to 19,497 (-2,020 or -9.4%) resulting in the closure of four schools. However, it is important to note that schools that serve Peachtree City’s children are down only 12 (McIntosh down 1) student FTEs over the same period.

These numbers above reflect my concern. By considering adding housing (whatever we call it) the numbers suggest we will be adding to our already robust PTC school zones. While I am certain this will be profitable for the developers, I question whether it will be beneficial for Peachtree City’s existing residents.

Now I believe that Ms. Winkle and her “Plan for PTC” cadre are well intended. However, unless they propose displacing the seniors referenced above, the only way to beneficially impact the tax base is to add to it.

Adding commercial is a no brainer as it does not impact our schools; however, the residential (in whatever form) above or adjacent to the commercial in “multi-use” presents the problem.

The student data above for schools that serve PTC, suggest that if more housing were available, especially at a lower price point, it would attract families with children. Our proven “Fayette Advantage” of smaller class sizes does not anticipate maximizing the population of our schools, nor should it.

I was concerned while talking to a McIntosh school council member who informed me that we can fit over 2,200 students in McIntosh, while the school system shows the Fayette capacity at 1,900.

We have always maintained smaller than state calculated school capacities, I hope we are not willing to accept different to facilitate a vision rejected by the voters in the last election.

Decisions made by our municipalities with respect to growth and redevelopment effect our schools, with our school board left to react to decisions made by other governmental bodies.

Therefore, the decision to add dense multi-use development into an already built-out PTC, is a decision to impact school enrollment and should be made with all possible transparency and care.

[Neil Sullivan is a finance/accounting executive and CPA. He has lived in Peachtree City over 20 years with his wife Jennifer, a Fayette County History teacher and son Jackson, a sophomore at Erskine College. He has been active in public school related issues in Fayette County, leading three E-SPLOST initiatives as chairman of Fayette Citizens for Children. He has appeared previously on these pages in letters to the editor.]


  1. Where exactly are entry level professionals supposed to live in Peachtree City? Where houses routinely started at $400K+? No 1st year teacher in Fayette County schools can afford to live in Peachtree City; no police officer or fire fighter, employed by the City of Peachtree City can afford to live in Peachtree City; no nurse or allied health professional can afford to live in Peachtree City; the vast majority of entry level airline employees with Delta can’t afford to live in Peachtree City; no FAA or National Weather Service employees can afford to live in Peachtree City; none of the employees for the over 20 manufacturing businesses in Peachtree City can afford to live in Peachtree City; and none of the thousands employees in any of Peachtree City’s service industry positions can afford to live in Peachtree City. Basically, let’s make Peachtree City so unaffordable, that only the richest 10% of Americans can afford to actually live and work in Peachtree City.

    • I guess first I have to challenge your premise. Is PTC a place to start or do you grow into it? When I moved to Peachtree City I was already 15 years into my career. At the time I was in management at Delta Airport Customer Service. Many of my neighbors were pilots or very senior ground folks.

      When I started my career, I worked in the World Trade Center at Deloitte and lived at my parents home in NJ. Took a bus into NYC and then the subway. Would have been nice to live in the city but I could not afford it.

      There are BRAND NEW apartments/ condos/ stacked housing in Fairburn 10 miles away. There are new APARTMENTS 8 Miles away in Newnan.

      The problem is our school system is not funded for many more students as these stacked housing do not provide the tax dollars to fund our schools and keep class sizes low.

    • gplanman – pretty much anybody can afford to work in PTC, so I don’t understand what that comment was about. But if keeping PTC a wonderful place to live results in only the richest 10% being able to afford to live here, I’m fine with that.

      Most people can’t afford to live in the neighborhood or home of their dreams, at least not until they’ve put in some time establishing themselves financially. Like a lot of people, my partner & I started out in a pretty dumpy apartment, then moved to a series of nicer apartments, then a starter home, etc. Somehow, we didn’t know that this was a failure on society’s part.