Big I-85/Hwy. 16 project still a go

Big I-85/Hwy. 16 project still a go

Coweta OKs change in zoning condition to allow 3.3 million sq. ft. industrial-retail development to proceed

The developer of the former Orchard Hills Golf Course property on Ga. Highway 16 at Interstate 85 that will become a major industrial and commercial site was granted an amendment by the Coweta County Commission on Jan. 19 to one of the conditions imposed on the development.

Commissioners on June 2016 voted to rezone the 281-acre former golf course site to accommodate 3 million sq. ft. of industrial property and 300,000 sq. ft. of retail space along Hwy. 16.

One of the 14 conditions, Condition 2, required that the development meet the requirements of the Quality Development Corridor Overlay District (QDCD) unless a variance is granted through the normal variance process.

“Subsequent to the rezoning, it became apparent that the applicant did not understand Condition 2 and is unable to competitively develop a Business/Industrial Park within the Quality Development Corridor District (QDCD) requirements,” said Zoning Administrator Angela White. “However, the applicant has submitted ‘Design Guidelines,’ which have been used in other Class A Industrial Parks. Staff has reviewed these ‘Design Guidelines’ and modifications have been made to ensure the quality goals for such a highly-traveled Interstate and Commercial Corridor.”

Project representative John Bourbonnais said the design guidelines were adapted for a business/industrial park for today’s environment. He said that the county will still have the equivalent of its QDCD standards.

Three residents spoke in opposition to the proposed rezoning citing concerns with the increase in development size, density, increased truck traffic, parking, the completion of Campus Drive, and the weakening of the QDCD standards

Bourbobnnais in response said when the development is approximately 50 percent completed, the Campus Road extension will be constructed. Also, the most significant change to the design guidelines was to allow tilt up (pre-cast) concrete panels in the construction of the building, according to county staff.

Commissioner Rodney Brooks stated that subjective changes to the QDCD are needed to attract quality tenants and that staff will hold the applicant to the quality expected.

The commission on a 4-0 vote amended Condition 2 to read that the development must meet staff-approved design guidelines for the area.

Commissioner Tim Lassetter recused himself from the discussion and the vote.