Peach County, Ga., Hears Concerns Over Fly-in Runway

The conflict over a runway at a proposed fly-in community, Plane Living Skypark, continues before the Peach County Commission.

Jay Cody, who opposes the runway for the fly-in community, showed up at Tuesday's commission meeting with a lawyer to express his concerns about safety.

"I don't have a problem with the development, it's the runway I have a problem with," Cody said. "That runway should not be used. There's going to be an accident out there. It's not about if it's going to happen, but when."

Cody, who owns an airstrip next to the one built for the fly-in community by Bo & Bo Partners, has expressed several concerns, including uncontrolled airspace without assigned radio frequency for pilots to communicate when taking off or landing, increase in airplane traffic, and visiting pilots unfamiliar with the traffic pattern for landing, particularly at night or in bad weather.

The subdivision, which would allow private pilots to take off and land in their own neighborhood and park their planes in hangars next to their homes, would have 53 lots on 75 acres off Buckeye Road across from Lane Packing Co.

Bobby Evridge of Bo & Bo Partners wasn't at Tuesday's commission meeting, but has said at previous meetings that his development does not present a safety issue. Many of the people buying homes in the subdivision are not pilots and there are not going to be a lot of planes coming and going, he contends.

There were plans in January for Peach County's planning and zoning board to review the preliminary plat for Plane Living Skypark.

But, on Jan. 19, the board didn't make a decision on the plat because only three of the seven members would vote. The board's chairman, lawyer Michael Chidester, planned to recuse himself because he has represented Evridge.

Although Cody addressed the County Commission about the issue in September, he was not allowed to speak out against the proposed subdivision in the January planning and zoning board meeting since the board didn't discuss the project at that time.

After 30 days, a preliminary plat is automatically approved. This procedure is followed so that plans don't just sit on a shelf and developers can proceed, said County Attorney Jeff Liipfert.

Commission Chairman James Khoury said Tuesday, "I'm sympathetic to Mr. Cody, but I just don't know what legal grounds we have to help."

The commissioners approved rezoning for the subdivision in September, and by default the plans have been approved by the planning and zoning board.

But Charles Jones, a lawyer representing Cody, told commissioners, "I think you have the authority to deal with this, still."

"You have the police power to control zoning in the county," he said. "The question is, are you going to do anything about it?"

By the end of the discussion, County Commissioners Roy Lewis Jr. and Martin Moseley Jr. said they would act as mediators for Cody and Evridge.

Lewis said he couldn't make two people agree, but he could try to mediate a solution.

"That's about all we can do," he said.

Macon Telegraph

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