P&Z seeks to rezone Jones industrial site

 

Posted on Tue, Oct. 16, 2007

 

By Chuck Thompson – cthompson@macon.com

 

The Jones County Planning and
Zoning Board voted unanimously Monday night to recommend that the Jones
County Commission approve rezoning the Georgia Regional Industrial Park
site off Ga. 57 purchased earlier this year by the Development
Authority of Jones County from agricultural to industrial.

The matter
is scheduled to be heard by the commissioners, who have the final say
on zoning changes, during their Nov. 6 meeting at the W.E. Knox Civic
Center.

Rezoning the property is required for the authority to develop what is planned to be the county’s first industrial park.

The
authority purchased the 962-acre tract between Ga. 57 and Griswoldville
Road in south Jones County in January, agreeing to pay the Plum Creek
Timber Company $2,750 an acre. The Jones County Commission agreed to
back $3.25 million in bonds to fund the purchase, pay initial costs to
prepare and market the industrial park and cover interest payments on
the bonds until revenue begins to be generated from selling sites in it.

Greg
Mullis, chairman of the Development Authority of Jones County, said he
was pleased the P&Z board voted to recommend the rezoning, and he
said he was confident the commissioners will also approve it.

Mullis was one of three people to speak in favor of the rezoning. Only two spoke in opposition.

Proponents
of the industrial park say it is needed to bring in needed industrial
and commercial tax revenue to lessen the property tax burden on county
homeowners. Mullis and Pam Christopher, executive director of the
authority and Jones County/Gray Chamber of Commerce, pointed to a study
published in March that rates the site first among potential industrial
park sites in Middle Georgia as a prediction the park will be
successful. The study was performed by the McCallum Sweeney Consulting
firm of Greenville, S.C.

Charles Harrington, who said he owns 150
acres on Griswoldville Road near the site, said he doesn’t believe the
site is suitable because of the uneven terrain and the costs of
preparing it.

"I just don’t think they did enough in advance to
be sure this is the right spot. I’m afraid we’re going to be paying
higher taxes to cover their mistakes," Harrington said.

Jim
Kasulka, who owns 70 acres adjacent to the west corner of the tract,
said he was concerned moving earth on the hill above his property could
harm his lake, and he is worried the authority will try to put a sewer
easement through his property.

Last month it was learned that the
old trash dump covering about 2 acres in the center of the tract was
deeper and contains more trash than expected, and that the authority
had exhausted the $130,000 it had set aside to remove the trash.
Christopher said Monday that it will take another $364,000 to complete
the cleanup. The authority is seeking a grant and other funding to
cover the cost.

Christopher said state officials have toured the
site and are excited about its potential. She said it is possible that
the entrance way to the tract could be completed in 6-9 months and that
portions of the property could be ready for construction soon after.

To contact writer Chuck Thompson, call 744-4489.

 

 Macon.com

http://www.macon.com/198/story/161549.html

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