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Plans for a large, industrial development along Ga. Highway 92 near Acworth were recommended for denial by the Cherokee County Planning Commission on Tuesday.

CANTON – Plans for an industrial and office warehouse off Ga. Highway 92 near Acworth fell short of planning commission support for the second time on Tuesday, with commissioners recommending denial by a 6-1-1 vote. Planning Commissioner Rick Whiteside recused himself from the case.

Developer Taylor & Mathis and the Development Authority of Cherokee County presented the case to the Cherokee County Planning Commission for the site’s second warehouse proposal since March. The applicants are requesting to rezone 41.786 acres from residential use to industrial for a 220,000-square-foot building to be used for business and light manufacturing purposes.

Adjacent property owners have opposed continued proposals for warehouse projects on the site, citing their feelings of industrial intrusion in an area where they live and concerns about the environment, noise, safety, traffic and general lack of fit for the area.

Hamilton Reynolds, president of Taylor & Mathis’s industrial division, told commissioners that the newly proposed warehouse would likely attract less truck traffic than the previous 300,000-square-foot proposal. Reynolds said the new plan calls for a two-story, glass-front building that would likely attract 15 – 40 percent office tenants, reducing intensity. He noted a berm, wall and foliage screening that would be placed behind the building to protect area residents from noise and activity on the site.

Reynolds also compared the planned use to uses of smaller but similar Taylor & Mathis projects off Chastain Meadows Parkway in Kennesaw, and said Taylor & Mathis traffic engineers estimate far less truck traffic than previously suggested.

“The traffic study that (our engineers) have run, based on the Chastain Meadows development, … found that our original proposed development would have 316 daily truck trips, and based on this new rear-load development, those truck trips would be reduced down to 95 trips per day. And again, based on Chastain Meadows, we think the tractor-trailer truck trips would only be 18 truck trips, and that would be nine in and nine out per day. So that, I believe, is a significant reduction and would go a long way toward taking care of the neighbors’ concerns about too much truck traffic,” he said.

The traffic study submitted with the application shows the 300,000-square-foot proposal would have generated 1,268 total car and truck trips daily, while the new proposal would generate 788.

Heath Tippens, who represented the Development Authority of Cherokee County at Tuesday’s meeting, added that, if approved, the office and industrial development could serve as a “catalyst” to future retail and commercial development in the corridor. Residents have questioned why more retail development could not occupy the Taylor & Mathis and other sites along the corridor.

Five residents spoke in opposition to the proposal during the public hearing, reiterating concerns about noise, privacy and the environment, as well as fear that the corridor would become saturated with industrial development.

Jeremy Dean, a resident adjacent the property, also noted that the planning commission’s reasoning for its initial denial of a warehouse matches the concerns surrounding the current plan. Dean said the development would be a nuisance and burden to residents in the area.

“I came before this commission last March to fight against Cherokee County rezoning and selling this property to build a 300,000-square-foot industrial building. The majority of you before me now were here then, and I thank you for voting unanimously to recommend to the board of commissioners to deny the rezoning,” he said. “The floor of the two-story building would be approximately eight feet above my head, with a wall of truck bays and lights 960 feet wide – approximately three football fields. I will not be able to be convinced that this will not affect my property and all my adjacent property owners.

He also noted that the county’s comprehensive plan characterized the area as for “suburban growth” before updates late last year changed the suggested future use to “workplace center.”

During discussion, commissioners largely agreed that the suggested development would be too intense when considering the surrounding land’s zoning and use. Commissioner Scott Barnes said he felt that the burden the commissioners felt would be placed on the nearby residents through the last proposal would remain with the current.

“When you look at (this plan), it’s kind of like we just dropped it in somebody’s neighborhood. I’m sure at some point it would be a 24/7 operation,” he said. “I feel there is a burden placed on them… I don’t feel we’ve improved that any.”

The commission voted 6-1, with one abstention, to recommend denial of the rezoning and proposal. The case is expected to be heard by the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners next month.

The Cherokee County Planning Commission meets at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at the Northside Hospital Cherokee Conference Center at 1130 Bluffs Parkway, Canton.

Thomas is a government, business, crime and features reporter for the Cherokee Tribune and Ledger News. He is a graduate of Kennesaw State University and currently lives in Kennesaw, Georgia.

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