Board tables discussion on industrial moratorium

Discussion about a possible industrial moratorium led to no action on the board’s part during the January 6 meeting. A joint meeting of the Henry County Development Authority board — comprised of one appointee from each district commissioner — and the board of commissioners will likely happen in the near future to further discuss the topic.

The draft moratorium would prohibit the county from considering new zoning applications or building permits for industrial uses for a 12-month period. Commissioner Clemmons commented her intent is to only limit the acceptance of new rezoning applications, and not affect building permits.

One Rezoning Request considered by the county since 2017

If the board ultimately passes a moratorium that limits new rezoning requests, then the impact will be minimal. Since 2017, the county commissioners have considered only one rezoning request for new industrial development. Commissioners approved the rezoning of 683 acres to M-1 (light manufacturing) in November 2018. The property is located west of the Atlanta Motor Speedway off Lower Woolsey Road.

A majority of new rezoning requests in the last four years occurred within city limits. Moratoriums adopted by the county only apply within unincorporated Henry County, and would not affect zoning decisions made by city councils.

Within the cities, two buildings built-to-suit with end users secured. The buildings are leased to Home Depot and Love’s Travel Stops. An additional two buildings built for speculative development, but since leased to Ferrero and Radial. Speculative development is common in industrial space because it decreases a company’s timeframe to move into a new building and begin operations.

Record Year for new Jobs in 2020

Henry County is coming off a record year in 2020 with new employer announcements creating over 2,000 new positions. For example, Zinus USA and Purple mattress are opening advanced manufacturing facilities. As a result, vacancy rates in Henry County have fallen to a low margin compared to two years ago.

The development authority continues to pursue opportunities for other employers to locate in Henry County. Though specifics cannot be shared due to confidentiality requirements, the development authority is in negotiations with both manufacturing / distribution tenants and possible office employers.

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