BOC adopts small-box retailer buffer

Map of five-mile buffer for small-box retailers (staff photo)
New small-box retailers are prohibited in unincorporated Henry County in the areas hatched in blue. (staff photo)

Henry County commissioners implemented a new buffer for small-box discount retailers on Tuesday morning. The board of commissioners adopted a buffer radius of five miles after previous proposals of either one or two miles.

The board also increased the square footage for a store to be considered a small-box retailer to less than 15,000 square feet. The new buffer requirements effectively ban new discount stores in unincorporated Henry County; however, county ordinances do not apply to properties within the cities.

The city of Stockbridge has a one-mile buffer adopted last summer. Other cities in the county do not have buffer ordinances in place.

In a survey distributed by Moving Henry Forward in April, 86.8% (105) of 121 respondents indicated support for a five-mile buffer. 11 respondents selected a three-mile buffer, no respondents selected a one-mile buffer, three selected no restriction, and two were unsure.

BOC removes buffer for other shops

When the proposed ordinance was first presented to the board in February, commissioners requested county staff prepare buffer requirements for vape shops, beauty supply stores (including hair and nail salons), tattoo shops, and facilities providing body piercing. The commissioners removed all references to those shops in the final ordinance changes.

In preparation for the meeting, county staff found 45 nail salons and 109 hair salons within a five-mile radius of the county office in McDonough.