Commission balks at name for road to college

By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
sarah@newnan.com
Coweta’s Board of Commissioners balked at West Georgia Technical College’s plan to name the entrance road to the new WGTC Coweta campus, located off Turkey Creek Road, Orchard Hills Parkway.
The concern is that there are already other “Orchard Hills” roads in the county.
Approval of the road name, and acceptance of the road into the county’s road system, was on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting of the Coweta County Board of Commissioners.
“While we do have some roads that already contain the name Orchard Hills, the 911 Center seems to think they will be fine having this name,” said County Administrator Theron Gay.
Commissioner Bob Blackburn asked how many similar-named roads there are in the county.
“Two or three,” said Gay. “We did ask about looking at other options” for the road name, but college staff “really wanted to be able to name it” Orchard Hills Parkway, he said.
The land where the new campus is being constructed was donated by Orchard Hills Golf Properties.
The roads with similar names are mostly subdivision streets, Gay said.
“Probably this road will be extended at some point and will become truly a parkway.”
Commissioner Al Smith said that having roads with similar names is one of his pet peeves. “There are so many other names available,” he said.
“It might not cause the 911 Center any consternation, but it certainly could cause somebody else some, if there are other Orchard Hills,” Smith said.
“I know they have requested this and are real passionate about having it named that, and I respect that. But I just know there is a street name they can use that does not” cause confusion, he said.
“Let me just say I’m passionate about not having streets with duplicate names, anywhere in the county,” Smith said.
“I think Mr. Smith hit the nail on the head,” said Blackburn.
“I understand what you are saying,” said Commissioner Tim Lassetter.
“But I think if the 911 group, who are the experts, can say they wouldn’t have an issue with it –¦ that is the main thing, in my opinion.”
The county has been dealing with the issues created by other roads with nearly identical names: Walt Sanders Road and the former Walt Sanders Memorial Drive.
Last year, the commissioners voted to change the name of Walt Sanders Memorial Drive to International Park, in order to keep tractor-trailer truck drivers seeking the Creekside Industrial Park off Highway 34 East from heading to residential Walt Sanders Road off U.S. 29 North instead.
While considering that issue, the commissioners heard the process of updating GPS systems with new road names can take a year or two.
If someone trying to find the school types “Orchard Hills” into their GPS, “it may take them to a residential street,” said Chairman Rodney Brooks.
Smith suggested “Orchard Technical Parkway.”
“I think if the board has an issue we can go back and ask them again,” Gay said. “They were pretty adamant last time I talked to them.”
“I’d kind of like you to go back and talk to them about it,” said Commissioner Paul Poole.
County Attorney Jerry Ann Conner told the commissioners they could go ahead and vote to accept the road into the county’s system, and then deal with the name issue.
Lassetter, who had previously made a motion to approve both requests, amended his motion to just cover the road acceptance.
It was approved unanimously.
“I would rather y’all just instruct staff to go ahead and deal with the names,” said Brooks.
“What would be wrong with voting?” asked Lassetter.
If the name is rejected, then they can take the next step.
Lassetter made the motion to approve the name, which was seconded by Poole.
The motion failed, with Blackburn, Smith and Brooks opposed.
Brooks asked Gay to tell the college staff about the board’s concerns.
“I think they can come up with some alternative,” Brooks said.
“We’ll take a look and see,” Gay said.
Avoiding duplicate names is “going to become more difficult as time goes on,” Gay said.
“You’re always going to have something.”
“In my opinion, it is OK for residential streets to have” similar names, Brooks said. But “when you’re talking about a potential parkway with the potential for a lot of traffic, I think it is very important that it has its own identify. I just don’t want us to step in that,” he said.


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