Byron council, subdivision owners reach compromise

Telegraph correspondentJune 10, 2014 

BYRON -- City Council and owners of a still-under-development subdivision have reached a compromise that may allow the property to be developed more quickly.

Mayor Larry Collins said the city reached an agreement with Peachtree Five Capital, owners of Hawk’s Ridge subdivision, over a city requirement for a cul-de-sac on a paved road in the subdivision.

In May, B.J. Walker of Peachtree Five Capital appeared before the council and said his company did not believe they were responsible for building the cul-de-sac. He said it was a new requirement added after plans for the subdivision were approved in years past.

He said development had come to a standstill and that his company was now only interested in selling the property to other potential developers but needed clarification on requirements to do so.

Peachtree Five Capital bought the property in 2007 and planned immediate development, Walker said. But when original builders pulled out and the economy took a downturn, the project all but ended.

Collins said problems arose when development slowed and the paving of numerous streets connecting areas of the development, including a bridge over a gully, did not materialize. He said that left no way for emergency vehicles or school buses to turn around in the subdivision without a cul-de-sac.

Walker maintained his company was not responsible for a cul-de-sac, but Councilman Michael Chidester said the matter was a public safety issue the city could not ignore. However, Chidester said the two parties should work to find “common ground” for an agreement.

Collins said city officials agreed to back off requiring a full cul-de-sac and is instead requiring a gravel turnaround for which the city will pay half the cost.

“That’s entirely appropriate,” Collins said in a phone interview Tuesday. “There will come a time when that gully will have to be bridged, but that time is not now. There will be more extensive work at Hawk’s Ridge, and problems will be solved in other ways. But for now, the paradigm has shifted and our agreement has solved the problem for the present.”

In other matters during Monday’s meeting, Collins said the council adopted an ordinance concerning the city’s cemetery, pending a final description of cemetery boundaries. Collins said the cemetery has been overseen by a private trust that is no longer in operation. He said the ordinance puts on paper city policies, administrative procedures and documentation for the cemetery that includes who owns which plots.

Collins also congratulated the city’s Garden Club which he said had worked enthusiastically to upgrade the cemetery, including a wrought iron fence being installed this week around a portion of the property.

Contact Michael W. Pannell at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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