Well-Planned from the Beginning, Pretty Peachtree City, Georgia Offers Retirees a Rich Quality of Life with its Quiet Neighborhoods and Many Amenities
Cost of Living: Above the National Average
Peachtree City (population 35,000) is situated 25 miles south of Atlanta in north central Georgia and is a growing master-planned city. Chartered in 1959, it is a relatively new place and has blossomed into a very appealing, well-designed city. In 1975, Ladies Home Journal named Peachtree City one of "America's Best Suburbs," and it has been winning national awards ever since. With 125 or more neighborhoods in five separate villages, each one with its own identity and amenities, Peachtree City is serene, suburban and comfortable (but not in an eerie Stepford Wives kind of way).
Thirty five percent of residents are age 45 or better. Most lean to the right politically, and nearly 50% have at least a four year college degree. The city has nearly doubled in size during the last decade or two and has some racial diversity. The crime rate is well below the national average. The cost of living is 15% above the national average.
Early on, the idea in Peachtree City was to integrate homes and businesses in such a way as to create harmony, and a mix of carefully arranged residences, open spaces, recreation centers and shopping districts has accomplished this. The city is spread across 15,500 acres, most of which are thick with greenery, and its five villages are Aberdeen and Glenloch (with homes built in the 1970s and 1980s), Braelinn and Kedron (with homes built in the 1990s and 2000s) and Wilksmoor Village, the most recently developed village. The median home price is $288,000.
Housing styles are interesting, varied and include ranch ramblers, bungalows, Victorians and Cape Cods. Single family homes are the most common, but there are also condos, town homes and apartment communities (a handful of which have sections designated for people with lower incomes). Most residences are large, with two to six bedrooms. Generally speaking, there are no bad neighborhoods in Peachtree City, and all homes are near national retailers and recreation facilities. Some neighborhoods popular with older adults include Lake Peachtree, Piney Knoll, Fetlock Meadow and Clover Reach. Cresswind at Peachtree City is an attractive 55+ single family home community that just broke ground in 2016.
When it comes to taxes, Georgia is a good place to retire. Social Security is tax-exempt, as is $35,000 in other retirement income for people age 62 to 64. For residents age 65 or better, $65,000 in retirement income is exempt.
Real estate is assessed at 40% of fair market value, and homeowners age 62 or better who earn $10,000 or less per year may have $10,000 of their property's assessed value exempt from school taxes. Homeowners age 62 or older whose family income does not exceed $30,000 annually may qualify for a partial exemption from state and county property taxes. For those age 65 and better who earn $10,000 or less, $4,000 of their property's value is exempt from state and county taxes as well. In Peachtree City, the annual taxes on a $288,000 home are approximately $2,592. The state sales tax is 4%, and the income tax rate ranges from 1% to 6%.
Since its initial development, Peachtree City's amenities have expanded to now include swimming pools, a soccer complex, an ALTA-approved tennis center, baseball, softball, soccer and football fields, the 2,000-seat outdoor Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater, a senior center, numerous parks and playgrounds and the Kedron Fieldhouse and Aquatic Center. The Flat Creek and Line Creek nature areas are peaceful places where visitors may view herons, beaver and other native wildlife.
Meandering paths, abundant green belts, three lakes, underground utilities, shopping venues clustered off the major roads, shady lanes, roadside and median plantings, manicured landscaping, dogwoods, azaleas and no homes facing busy streets all help make PTC, as locals call it, a visually appealing place indeed. Having been recognized as one of the most successful planned cities in the country, growth is closely monitored and regulated.
One of PTC's defining characteristics is its transportation system. It is a golf cart city, with nearly every household owning one of the little machines. There are, in fact, at least 11,500 registered golf carts in town (the yearly golf cart license fee is $15). Residents of all ages use them to scoot around 90 miles of paved paths that connect the villages and everything within them, including churches, schools, retail centers and recreation facilities. No cart racing is allowed, but traffic jams and accidents do occasionally occur. PTC does not have a public transportation system, but the golf cart culture really makes owning a car unnecessary. For air travelers, Hartsfield- Jackson Atlanta International Airport is just 25 minutes away.
PTC is also a golfers' oasis with three top-notch courses, one in each of three villages. There is an active parks and recreation department offering a wide program of activities, everything from clog dancing to yoga. Most classes have a minimum age of 18, and the aquatics department has a number of programs for people age 55 or better. Recreation facilities, as would be expected, are well-maintained.
The Twilight Theatre and Dance Contempra stage performances throughout the year, and nationally known entertainers and bands come to play at the ampitheater. The Peachtree City Library hosts monthly book clubs, a thriving poetry group and an international film club. It also has public access computers with high-speed internet access and wifi access for laptop users.
Restaurants are plentiful, and the five shopping centers host locally owned merchants and nicer national retailers. Two farmers' markets are open on Saturday mornings. For nightlife fun, museums, symphonies and serious shopping, Atlanta is just 30 minutes away.
The 172-bed Piedmont Fayette Hospital is in Fayetteville, just five miles from Peachtree City, and has been nationally recognized for its clinical excellence, emergency medicine, critical care, joint replacement, pulmonary care and more. It is accredited by the Joint Commission and accepts Medicare patients. PTC also has access to Lifeflight emergency airlift service and operates an emergency ambulance service. For military retirees, Newnan is eight miles away and has a VA outpatient clinic, but the nearest VA hospital is in Duluth, 50 miles to the north.
Operated through the Parks and Recreation Department, the 4,500 square foot Gathering Place is the senior center. It is also home to the Senior Adult Council which the City Council created to be an advocate for Peachtree City citizens age 55 and better. Fayette Senior Services, located in nearby Fayetteville, is a county-wide organization that offers transportation, in-home care, meals on wheels, a wellness program, referrals and more.
Summers are hot, humid and hazy with temperatures in the 80s and 90s. Winters are mild with temperatures in the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. On average, the city receives 51 inches of rain and a dusting of snow each year. On the comfort index, a combination of temperature and humidity, PTC ranks below the national average. The city's risk of being struck by a tornado is 135% greater than the national average.
Peachtree City's accolades are many, and its drawbacks are few. Some residents do complain about the number of restrictions and rules (yards must stay tidy, no boats or RVs are allowed in front of homes, fences taller than 48 inches require a permit, etc.). And the tornado risk and lack of actual public transportation are negatives. Still most residents seem to think that the high quality of life more than makes up for any downsides. PTC is orderly, well-planned and well-kept, and the retirees that live here seem to love their city.
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