Fayette County


Fayetteville’s Overlook rezoning debate continues

A battle along Veterans Parkway is looming over the contentious rezoning request for The Overlook, a proposed .944-acre office building to be situated in the middle of Pinewood properties. Thursday night’s Fayetteville City Council Meeting brought the first reading for the rezoning request.
Jimmy Pace with Pace Real Estate and Development is asking that the property be rezoned from single-family residential to Planned Community District (PCD), the same as the surrounding 870 acres, though it falls far short of the required size for a PCD plot on its own. Staff instead recommends Office Industrial zoning.
Pace aims to build a 13,664 square foot, three-story office building with a full-width balcony. It would replace the two mobile homes that occupy the land currently. Calling it a forward-thinking and new concept, Pace believes the project will be a boost to the economy and job market of Fayetteville.
“We’re going to create a place that people really want to work at,” he said. “The plan is to create a place where people will want to come.”
The Overlook would be surrounded on three sides by the Pinewood Forrest development and across the road from Pinewood Studios. Representatives from Pinewood, with Rick Halbert speaking on their behalf maintain that it is not the right fit along the corridor.
“I have never once spoken in opposition of a fellow developer. This one we feel that passionate about,” said Halbert. “We’re adamant that we don’t want it there.”
One concern laid out was that it would not fit in with the Pinewood projects.
“One of our goals with this project was to protect the integrity and the charm and the rural character of the Veterans corridor, and we’ve done that very well,” he said. “Our feeling is that taking a building and shoving it right up against the road in this part of the development is not what we want to do (along the corridor).”
Now is not the time to rush he said, not with so much potential on the corridor.
“We’ve got a lot of investment out there. In the next five to seven years, it’s possible that the investment on both sides of the road could be into the billions, that’s with a B,” he said, noting they are already in the two- to three-hundred million range. “Why do we want to take the chance and do something on Veterans Parkway that we don’t need to be doing?”
Halbert expressed the frustration Pinewood representatives have felt for some time in dealing with the property after having previously successfully dealing with six other property owners.
“We’re not going to be held hostage and pay an extreme amount of money for a .9 acre piece of property,” he said. “We feel like we’ve done everything we can do. We’ve exhausted that effort.”
Halbert’s recommendation was simple.
“We are prepared and willing to look at the trailers. That is our position. We think that this is the wrong time and wrong building for this spot,” he said. “It was bought as R70, as far as we’re concerned, keep it R70.”
Pace responded by asking what would be the likely request if Pinewood were to acquire the tract of land.
“If Pinewood Forrest were to acquire this property, do you think they would be asking for OI or they would be asking for PCD zoning?” he wondered. “The intent has never been to impact them in a negative way, but only in a positive way.”
For Jahnee Prince, Community Development Director, it’s a simple decision as staff recommends the OI zoning.
“When I reviewed it, what I saw was an office building on a small lot,” said Prince, noting that PCD is intended for large-scale, mixed-use development that would not fit under any other zoning district. “Clearly Office Institutional is the correct zoning district for this proposed use.”
Pace said that OI could work for the project, but that it would require changes, including a number of variances that would be determined as it progresses.
“We can build this project as an OI project,” he said. “I don’t think it’s the best, but I think it’s possible to do.”
The second reading, at which time council is scheduled to vote on the rezoning request, is scheduled for Aug. 3.

By Christopher Dunn

Managing Editor Christopher Dunn has been with the Fayette County News since 2011, in addition to running Fayette Victory magazine. He is a graduate of Fayette County schools, as well as a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in journalism. Follow him on twitter @fayettesports.