Revisions to Highway Corridor Overlay District meant to help residential development

Henry County adopted revisions to the Highway Corridor Overlay District at its board meeting in November 2020. The revisions are the second major set of changes to the overlay district since its initial adoption in March 2017 and are meant to help residential development.

The overlay had proven difficult to apply to new residential subdivisions resulting in administrative waivers and variances. The new changes omit development on residential agricultural (RA) zoned property from the overlay development standards, including new subdivisions developed under RA zoning, and reduce other requirements for local streets.

Local streets are the lowest level of functional classification and generally what’s found inside of subdivisions. Streetscape requirements for new local streets within the overlay district now include:

  • Install a five-foot (minimum) wide sidewalk, reduced from eight feet.
  • Install a seven-foot (minimum) wide landscaped strip, reduced from eight feet.

Roads that serve greater volumes of traffic or provide connectivity between places — classified as either arterials or collectors — have wider requirements of either eight feet or ten feet. Non-residential access streets, like those found within commercial developments, will continue to require eight-foot wide sidewalks and a five-foot landscaped strip (eight feet if public right of way).

The reduction in the sidewalk width and landscaped strip in subdivisions resolves the issue of utility placement. Henry County DOT worked with local utility providers to develop a new utility placement guide that supports the overlay district requirements and it was adopted into the county code with the overlay district revisions.

Finally, the revisions clarified that streetlights are not required within new subdivisions if pedestrian lights are installed.

About the Highway Corridor Overlay District

The Highway Corridor Overlay District encourages a higher standard of development for new construction along major roadways in unincorporated Henry County. The overlay district applies to unincorporated property abutting the following roadways:

  • 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

Construction standards within the overlay district include brick, stone and glass 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.

Prohibited uses within the overlay district include the following:

  • self-storage (except indoor storage designed to mirror class “A” commercial office space),
  • warehousing and distribution not currently zoned for such use (M-1 or M-2 zoning districts),
  • salvage and junk yards,
  • pawnshops and loan brokers (other than mortgage loan brokers), and
  • automatic repair and maintenance (except car washes).

A full text of the overlay district is available on the county website.

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