Notes from the meeting oF 10/18/2023
Shena Applewhaite, Director of Development Services and Commissioner Alana Sanders, District 3 were present.
Attorney John Andrew Nix (of Conyers) representing the developer, conducted the meeting, shared information and answered questions with grace and respect. Among other things, the builder’s representative said they can NOT “flip” the loading bays to the North side of the building due to grade and other site conditions. They expect the site will require blasting.
Residents voiced frustration and disappointment with multiple issues related to the warehouse, improvements needed on the Access Road and surrounding area, traffic, safety, congestion, blasting at Covington Creek Springs (a nearby single-family neighborhood under construction,) overall lack of amenities and area resources, concerns about water run-off, failure to follow the area plan, need for updating the Almon Overlay, etc.
Tell ALL members of the BOC your position and why – **NOW**
Their combined vote determines the outcome.
Contact information: https://ncboc.com/157/Board-of-Commissioners
Members of the Newton County Board of Commissioners are scheduled to VOTE on the matter –
Board of Commissioners Meeting
Tuesday, November 2, 2023
Historic Court House – Board Room 3rd Floor
Plan to ATTEND!
prepare to speak 1-3 minutes
Be clear & concise
Tell Commissioners what you and the community NEED & WANT!
Learn how BOC meetings are conducted by watching past meetings here: https://www.youtube.com/@NewtonCountyGovernment
SPEAK UP – ASK QUESTIONS
VOICE YOUR CONCERNS!
At the direction of the Newton County Board of Commissioners,
the applicant will host a meeting for property owners and interested parties.
The proposed industrial warehouse backs up to the single-family detached home communities of Winchester, Fairclift, and Covington Creek Springs (currently under development.) At the same time, it can impact areas throughout the Fairview Corridor.
The proposed warehouse is 267,000 Square feet, or about 6.12 acres “under roof.” The site will include parking for 150 cars and 51 tractor-trailers, generating 462 daily trips on the Access Road.
Anticipated completion date: Spring 2025.
concerns have been expressed about multiple topics, including:
the future of the Fire Station, Flooding Potential, Traffic, and Noise.
Click the tabs below to learn more
John Andrew Nix of Maddox Nix in Conyers represents the Developer, Crow Holdings Development, who wants to build a 267,000-square-foot “Spec Warehouse” at 2601 Access Road. The location is between the Affordable Dentures office and the former Forestry Fire Station now owned by Newton County.
It would consist of about 6.12 acres “under roof” and include parking for 150 cars and 51 tractor-trailers. The traffic study anticipates this project would generate an additional 462 daily trips on the Access Road.
Loading bays would face South, toward the residential neighborhoods.
Expected completion would be: Spring 2025
needed as currently planned
- Rezone the 24-acre parcel at 2601 Access Road from the current residential zoning to light industrial. The property is in Tier 2 of the Almon Overlay District. (Start at page 236 of the Zoning Ordinance for more detail.) (Note: Concerns tab)
- Obtain a set-back variance on the West side of 2601 Access Road next to the county-owned former Forestry Fire Station.
- Combine two parcels: 105 Pinyon Road and 2601 Access Road for the warehouse site. (The Pinyon Road parcel is located in the Chamisa Industrial Park but also has frontage on Access Road.
TrafficThe applicant recently provided a copy of the traffic study. Time hasn’t allowed for a detailed review of that document. Following is a Traffic Summary slide provided during a presentation to the BOC September 5, 2023: That presentation can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4NSzCaGZF4 and starts at time point 1.7.It should be noted that studies done during the COVID crisis may have low traffic counts.
- 150 Parking Spaces + 51 Tractor Trailer Spaces x TWO (in & out) would equal 402 trips – but at least some drivers, warehouse workers, & administration will leave and return for meals, meetings, etc. As a result, 462 trips may be an underestimate.
- Residents expect realignment of the Access Road will relieve some, but not all, traffic backup issues around the Eastbound Exit 88 Ramp and Access Road area. In recent years multiple new truck-related facilities have been established along the Access Road between Covington and Conyers. Trucks require more “road space” in part due to the length.
- Newton County can expect to see more residential and commercial growth with the Rivian vehicle manufacturing plant currently under construction in the JDA, Staton Springs to the East of the county along I-20.
- The volume of residential development will generate more school bus traffic. They too require more roadway “real estate.”
- The I-20 Almon Overpass Bridge and the intersection of Access Road and Fairview need to be addressed – YESTERDAY.
- A designated LEFT turn lane is needed for Westbound Access Road traffic turning onto FAIRVIEW Road.
- Almon Bridge Overpass needs significant upgrading.
- The Access Road curve and hill create sight distance issues for cars turning LEFT from the bridge onto Access Road.
- Trucks making the 90-degree turn from Eastbound Access Road to the Northbound Almon Overpass Bridge will cause more traffic back-ups when Lidl and other warehouses become operational.
- While unrelated to the warehouse Fairview Road between Jack Neely and Access Road needs improvement. The soon-to-be-built trail, and additional intersections from Covington Creek Springs, Covington Creek, and the Prose apartments, combined with curves, blind spots, turning traffic, and more pedestrians need to be addressed, as does regular mowing and weed control.
FIRE STATION & SAFETY
- Warehouse development plans for 2601 Access Road could interfere with county plans to renovate and expand the needed (Forestry) Fire Station at 2707 Access Road. More land is needed for the expansion as well as funding. Approval of the current warehouse zoning could eliminate plans to expand and re-activate the fire station.
- Why? Sources say that the expansion requires approximately 5 acres of land in total. Part of that may be related to septic or sewer issues. Renovation and expansion plans were a high-priority SPLOST project. New fire equipment was even ordered. However, funding became a problem when the project was reclassified from Priority 1 to Priority 3. The new equipment will now be assigned to another station.
- With no room to expand, it would be easy to see why the county might abandon the project. But the location is excellent to cover the densely populated Fairview Corridor as well as accidents and fires, on and along I-20.
- During drought conditions, fires along I-20 spread quickly. If not contained, whole neighborhoods can quickly be lost.
- Several devastating fires in the Fairview Corridor have caused families to lose almost everything. Including very recently in the 3400 Block of Fairview Road.
- Multiple developments are under construction and “in the pipeline,” meaning more people, places, and property to protect.
- Fire Station, #7 on Brown Bridge Road typically responds to the Fairview Corridor area. Dense population and traffic congestion can lead to long response times for the Fairview Corridor area.
- This could cost taxpayers in several ways.
- Added costs for the fire station project or even possible abandonment of the project. (The county owns the property.)
- Increased Fire Insurance Rates.
- Devastating Losses
- Spec Warehouse operations can cause “in-compatible” substances to be stored near one another, creating additional hazards if a fire occurs. (Example: Company A and Company C located in the same building have shipments of chemicals that are generally safe, but become hazardous when together.)
WATER FLOW & FLOODING
Where fields and trees once stood the ground is now covered with impervious roads, homes, warehouses, and other buildings. The ground can’t absorb stormwater as it once did.
AREA DEVELOPMENT and FLOOD PLAINS – FLOODING POTENTIAL
- New warehouse construction is underway North of I-20 across from the Almon I-20 Overpass Bridge (aka No Name Bridge)
- The large construction site for the new Lidl Grocery Warehouse site can be seen below on the left side of the image South, of I-20 near the Almon Overpass Bridge.
- As shown in the image above, two paths of water converge behind the 200 block of Fairclift Drive.
Water flow has created a deep “gully.”
- A water-powered mill once stood on the property to the East of Fairclift Drive. That property is being graded for 71 single-family homes – Cobblestone Creek Springs.
- Construction of the Fairclift neighborhood caused a home and property East of Fairclift, on Fairview Drive to flood. As a result, two retention/detention areas were added to the community. But, without a homeowners association, they aren’t being maintained.
- The map above also depicts the long-planned realignment and improvements to the Access Road.
The road will be moved to the South side of McDonald’s. Tree removal in preparation for that project recently started. The project will improve I-20 traffic flow, but at the same time create additional impervious surfaces, meaning more asphalt. That can increase the risk of flooding and absorbing heat.
- Here are links to current FEMA Flood Maps of the area
The FEMA Flood Map above does NOT appear to factor in additional water runoff from the Lidl Warehouse Distribution Center site, or new warehouses North of I-20. (Notice it’s dated 2014, before those warehouses were built.)
- Have the added impervious areas from Lidl, spec warehouses North of I-20, and other development projects been factored into the current maps?
- FEMA issued an LFD 2/15/2023 for Newton County. Have the qpublic maps been updated?
- Added risk for flooding can increase homeowner insurance costs, lower value, and in some cases make selling a home more difficult.
Resources – Additional Information
- A VIDEO presentation given to the BOC on September 5, 2023 can be viewed here. The presentation begins at 1:17 https://youtu.be/w4NSzCaGZF4?si=-gQ1HZ5HFLsf5nez&t=4613
- County Comprehensive Plan as of 2023 (218 pages pdf) https://www.co.newton.ga.us/DocumentCenter/View/5869/Newton-County-Comprehensive-Plan-Update—Adopted-June-27th-2023?bidId=
- Newton County Hazard Mitigation Plan: https://www.oxfordgeorgia.org/Assets/Files/EPACKET%203422.pdf
- Zoning Ordinance (pdf file 485+ pages) https://www.co.newton.ga.us/DocumentCenter/View/5114/Newton-County-Unified-Development-Ordinance–Chapter1-Zoning-Ordinance-with-amendments-thru-07192022?bidId=
Concerns, Conditions, QUESTIONS, and Needed Clarification
two developments currently under construction were NOT shown on the site layout provided. For clarity, notations in white were added. The Following provide more detail.
- 71 – Single Family Homes – Covington Creek Springs (grading as of 10/2023)
- 54 -Single Family Homes – Covington Creek (graded with two homes up)
Will BLASTING be needed? And if so, how much?
Noise, LIGHT, and Truck Exhaust emissions
- Rear-facing loading docks will funnel noise from beeping forklift trucks, crashing skids, air brakes, running vehicles, and other noise, TOWARD the residential neighborhoods.
- Parking Lot Lights can be a blessing or a “beef.” The type and placement are factors.
- If zoning remains the same, what types and sizes and sizes of structures can be built?
Sewer or Septic?
Either option could impact the Fire Station.
Hours of Operation?
- Retention/detention pond – regular routine maintenance responsibility and liability for failure.
- Vermin control
- Trash, etc
restrictions on hazardous materials stored and transferred
Protection of Stream – Chemicals, trash
Pros & Cons and…
PROS: A warehouse will ADD jobs without adding students to the classroom.
CONS: This is the current condition of the Pinyon cul-de-sac in the Chamisa Industrial Park.
Almon Overlay (2023) & part of Salem Overlay
Almon Overlay as of 2014
Green denotes Flood Plain – NOTE – 2 sources converge behind the 200 Block of Fairclift Drive
Recent construction can increase water runoff issues:
1) New warehouses North of I-20 in both Rockdale and Newton Counties
2) Prose – Fairview (318 apartments)
3) Covington Creek (52 homes under construction)
4) Covington Creek Springs (under construction – grading)
5) Realignment of the Access Road (more asphalt)
6) Lidl Grocery Distribution Warehouse