Nearby residents voice opposition to proposed one-million-square-foot industrial development

County planning commission recommends denial of Spring Place Road rezoning

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Members of the Bartow County Planning Commission voted unanimously Monday evening to recommend the denial of two requests from a California-headquartered developer with plans for a one-million-square-foot warehouse off Spring Place Road.

The commission voted across the board to deny Panattoni Development Co. Atlanta, LLC’s application to change the land-use classification of 122 acres abutting Gaines Road from rural estate to industrial, likewise rejecting the applicant’s request to rezone the property from A-1 agricultural zoning to I-1 industrial zoning.

“This is not an appropriate location for an industrial park,” said commission member Richard Fox. “These folks have lived out there for years and years, they pay taxes, and once this goes in, it’s going to negatively impact them for the rest of their lives.”

PDC Atlanta, LLC representative Kevin Casteel said the company is currently under contract to purchase the property from land owner Greg Rogers.

“There are several things about this site and this local area that makes it attractive for what we’re proposing,” he said. “Mainly, the Cass-White Road exit, as I’m sure everyone here is aware, is changing rapidly, especially over the last few years … it’s quickly becoming an industrial corridor.”

The property being eyed, Casteel said, has about 2,500 linear feet of Interstate 75 frontage. 

“We want to work with the County and the community on this, and put something here that’s going to be as least impactful as possible, but still be the highest and best use for the building tenant,” he said. “We put it as far off the road as possible, we’ve included 200-foot buffers everywhere around any residential properties, we’ve got long staging areas on the property for traffic, so that the traffic entering the site is not staging on Spring Place Road and backing up traffic as they enter the site.”

The applicant initially filed a Developments of Regional Impact (DRI) application with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for the proposed project in 2017. At that juncture, PDC projected the development to have a build-out value of $60 million and generate about $500,000 annually in local tax revenue.

According to a document sent to the Bartow County Community Development Department dated Nov. 6, PDC Atlanta, LLC representatives anticipated investing $40 million-$50 million into the project, with an unspecified end user “likely” to invest another $30 million-$50 million into the development.

Casteel told members of the planning commission that a tenant for the project has not been determined at this point.

“We have responded to two proposals in the last 120 days,” he said. “75% of our business is build-to-suits for institutional, investment-grade-type tenants, so that is our plan for this site is to do a build-to-suit, not necessarily a spec building.”

Nor could Casteel give an estimate for how many jobs the proposed development may bring to Bartow.

“I’ve built buildings this size that had 50 employees and I’ve built buildings this size that had 2,000 employees,” he said. “So there’s a wide range of what could go in this building, and until we have that tenant, I can’t say for sure what type of user it would be in this case.”

He told the commission he envisions the final product as “a distribution/e-commerce center,” but did not rule out the possibility for manufacturing at the facility.

Close to two dozen members of the community attended the public meeting. Virtually all of them voiced opposition to the project.

Nearby resident Robert Bartlett said he had concerns about water quality.

“We don’t know what they’re going to build, we don’t know what the impact is going to be on the environment,” he said. 

Another nearby resident, Trent McMurtrey, said he’s spent the last 16 months restoring and renovating a house in the area — spending more than seven figures in the process.

“My main concern is safety,” he said. “Getting to and from my house, not only is it congested already in that area with 18-wheelers, they can easily run people off the road — now we’re talking about building a one-million-square-foot building that sits in my front yard?”

Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor will have the final say on the proposal at a public meeting scheduled Wednesday morning. He is set to approve or deny the rezoning and land-use reclassification requests at 10 a.m. at the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center, at 135 West Cherokee Ave. in Cartersville.