Golf course to be changed to industrial, commercial area

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The Orchard Hills Golf Club has been a fixture on Ga. Highway 16 for years. The coming years will see the 281-acre site adjacent to Interstate 85 become home to 3 milllion sq. ft. of industrial and nearly 300,000 sq. ft. of retail space.

The Coweta County Commission on June 28 voted unanimously to rezone the golf course property for a future retail and industrial site with a roadway that will connect to Campus Drive and Turkey Creek Road to the north.

The golf course tract had been zoned RC (rural conservation) while the zoning approved by commissioners changed the zoning to C-7 (major commercial) for the 36.2-acre parcel and M (industrial warehouse, distribution, manufacturing) for the 245-acre portion of the property.

The proposal received DRI (Development of Regional Impact) approval from the Three Rivers Regional Commission, Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The conceptual site plan calls for several industrial buildings ranging from 52,000 to 460,000 sq. ft. situated mainly to the center and rear of the property and a number of retail buildings such as restaurants, support retail, a gas station and grocery store along Hwy. 16

A transportation feature included in the development includes the extension of Campus Drive from the west side of the West Georgia Technical College campus off Turkey Creek Road through the new industrial/retail development and on to Hwy. 16.

Project representatives said the golf course property was purchased 18 months ago, with development 5-10 years away. In the interim the golf course will continue to operate at the site.

Responding to why have the rezoning now, commissioners were told that the owner wanted everything in place prior to the development starting up.

In terms of the appropriateness of the requested rezoning, county planning staff said, “The applicant’s proposal for the subject location is consistent with guidance for location of a C-7 district: primary access for the proposed C-7 district is Hwy. 16, a minor arterial. The concept plan for the proposed commercial development appears to have considered and provided for safe roadway access, parking, circulation, storm water management, and loading area. The applicant’s proposal for the M district at the subject location is consistent with this guidance: within the industrial development, Campus Drive will provide access to Hwy. 16, a minor arterial, and to Turkey Creek Road, a major collector. The concept plan for the proposed industrial development appears to have considered and provided for safe roadway access, parking, circulation, storm water management, and loading area.”

The rezoning request was approved on a 5-0 vote with 15 conditions.

While the majority of the conditions were customary for large developments, one specified that the development be limited to a maximum of two freight companies on the property while another required that Campus Drive Extension be completed by the time 50 percent of the industrial square footage is operational.