The Henry County Board of Commissioners has approved revisions to the highway corridor overlay district, found within section 4.05.00 of the unified land development code. The overlay, first adopted in March 2017, provides high construction standards for new development along all major roadways in unincorporated Henry County.
The purpose of the revisions approved by the board were two-fold: 1) remove the Fairview Road overlay district and place those properties into the highway corridor overlay to ensure uniform development standards, and 2) make minor revisions to the overlay following staff’s working experiences with the overlay language the past eighteen months.
The overlay includes all unincorporated parcels of land abutting:
- Highway 138 East and West
- Highway 155 North and South
- Highway 20 East and West (excluding Bruton Smith Overlay District)
- Highway 81 East and West
- Highway 42 North and South
- Jonesboro Road
- Jodeco Road
- Eagles Landing Parkway
- Hudson Bridge Road
- East Lake Parkway
- East Lake Road (between Highway 155 and Highway 20)
- Fairview Road
- East Atlanta Road
- West Village Parkway
- Anvil Block Road
- West Panola Road
- Panola Road
- Flakes Mill Road
- North Henry Boulevard
- Highway 19/41
- the Henry County Airport
Perhaps one of the most significant provisions of the overlay district are the prohibited uses. The code prohibits new self-storage, new warehouses not currently zoned for such use (M-1 or M-2), salvage or junk yards, pawnshops or loan brokers, and automatic repair and maintenance (except car washes).
Since the overlay district was first adopted, several land owners have annexed into municipalities to circumvent the prohibited uses. Other land owners may request annexation to avoid the strict construction standards. It is at the discretion of city councils whether to accept or decline the annexation.
The overlay allows brick, stone, and glass construction materials. It restricts pre-cast concrete to industrial developments only, and stucco may be utilized for a maximum of 40% per facade. The district prohibits exposed concrete block, metal, or tile.
The overlay requires ten foot multiuse paths along arterials (the highest functional classification of roadways, excluding interstates) and eight foot sidewalks along all other roads. The requirements also include pedestrian path lighting and street trees.
The last section of the overlay is regarding business signage. Only ground signage is allowed, with limitations on overall size and building materials. Automatic changeable copy signs and neon signs are prohibited.
The highway corridor overlay is an excellent tool that ensures quality development throughout unincorporated Henry County. Several cities in Henry County have adopted similar standards and all cities should consider such limitations when permitting new development. The full text of the overlay district is available to view on the county website.