Plans for a large, industrial development along Ga. Highway 92 near Acworth will return before the Cherokee County Planning Commission on Tuesday after applicants withdrew a similar proposal last year.
The proposed development, submitted by Taylor & Mathis and the Development Authority of Cherokee County, includes a 220,000-square-foot building to be used for “business services and light manufacturing.” The application requests a rezoning of a total of 41.78 acres from residential to light industrial land use. Developers indicated in case documents that “the project will have a heavier office component, and the front of the building will have … two-story glass.”
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Developers held a public participation meeting in October, where they discussed with approximately 40 area residents the changes made to the March plan. According to the developer’s summary submitted with the newest application, residents expressed concerns about water runoff and tractor trailer traffic at the site, as well as questioned types of tenants and why smaller commercial or retail uses could not be placed there. Overall, the residents preferred the site be used for a park, but developers noted that one attendee privately voiced support for the warehouse project.
Representatives of Taylor & Mathis, as well as the Cherokee Office of Economic Development, addressed the residents’ concerns, saying that the building would no longer be proposed as front-loaded, truck traffic would be directed to Highway 92 and “water runoff would be addressed adequately on-site.”
Developers also noted that tenants would likely be similar to another of their buildings in the Chastain Meadows Business Park near Kennesaw. Examples included Hyundai and German engineering and manufacturing conglomerate thyssenkrupp.
Members of COED told residents that uses like what Taylor & Mathis have proposed add to and diversify the tax digest, “which continues to further a community economically,” the meeting report notes. “Developments like this can help to close a retail gap and make the probability of attracting more uses within a geographical area greater.”
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County planning staff’s summary of the site plan, which falls south of Highway 92, indicates that the subject property borders residential developments and that other industrial uses, including those in the Cherokee 75 Corporate Corridor, fall north of Highway 92.
“The construction and operation of an industrial warehouse among existing residences may create long-term nuisances such as noise, light, glare, visual or other conditions. With this in mind, there may be grounds to not support the proposed rezoning,” the county documents read.
The documents continue, however, that the proposal falls inside of a designated workplace center character area and an opportunity zone with excellent access to the interstate. According to the case summary, light industrial and warehouse uses are among the primary future land uses in workplace center character areas. Opportunity zones are “underdeveloped or underutilized” areas designated by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs where creation of jobs is incentivized through tax credits. Infrastructure projects in the Highway 92 corridor have been initiated in recent years to support the increasing number of commercial and industrial projects, the summary continues.
“Because of the surrounding land uses, the state-sponsored employment incentive program, and the availability of existing infrastructure, there may be grounds to recommend approval of the proposed rezoning,” staff noted.
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Developers Taylor & Mathis proposed to the planning commission a 300,000-square-foot logistics warehouse for the site in early March. During that first public hearing, the development faced opposition from about 20 residents and from members of the planning commission. Before the commission’s unanimous recommendation for denial of the project on March 6, Planning Commission Chairman Bob Whitaker expressed concern with the proposed warehouse’s proximity to nearby homes.
“This place is surrounded by subdivisions," Whitaker said. “I don't see a fit here.”
Taylor & Mathis withdrew that proposal before the case reached the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners for approval.
The case will be heard again at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Northside Hospital Cherokee Conference Center, 1130 Bluffs Parkway in Canton.