122-acre industrial rezoning hearing delayed for at least six months

Proposed $60M Spring Place Road development hits snag

A placard at the intersection of Spring Place Road and Gaines Road near White states that a rezoning request for roughly 122 acres of nearby land is set for an April 8 hearing before the Bartow County Planning Commission. 

But Bartow County Administrator Peter Olson said that request from PDC Atlanta, LLC — a subsidiary of international real estate developer Panattoni Development Co. — will be on the back burner until at least this fall.

“I just heard from the zoning administrator that one’s going to be out of order because of a failure to comply with our notice procedures,” Olson said. “They were supposed to get letters out to adjacent property owners at a certain time and demonstrate that to us, so they didn’t meet that requirement. And they didn’t meet it last month, either, so they’re going to — under the ordinance, I believe — have to withdraw for six months.”

Bartow County Zoning Administrator Brandon Johnson confirmed that the developer will not be allowed to apply for a rezoning application on the property for at least half a year.

“That is not actually going to be heard in April,” he said. “They did not do their public notices correctly, so I had to kick them off the agenda and they will have to come back at a later date.”

According to a public notice, PDC Atlanta, LLC seeks to change the future land use classification of four land lots near the Spring Place Road/Gaines Road junction from rural estate to industrial. The developer is also looking to rezone those four lots from A-1 agricultural to I-1 industrial.

Panattoni filed a Development of Regional Impact (DRI) application with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for the project — tentatively titled “Spring Place Road Warehouse” — on Sept. 21, 2017. Per the application, Panattoni representatives estimate the value of the development at full build out to be $60 million.

“I think they’re seeking a 1-million-square-foot building which I assume is distribution,” Olson said. “That gives me a little concern because of where it is. I think Clarence Brown and the [Bartow-Cartersville Joint Development Authority] from the get-go when they started doing industrial development in the area, they said they were’t going to do industrial development north of the line created by Cass-Pine Log Road … I think they’re aware of that, but they wanted to try anyway. So we’ll see what happens, but I would expect the neighborhood to come out and be concerned about industry continuing up to the north like that.”

Johnson said Panattoni first reached out to the County about the potential development roughly a year ago.

“Their proposed use was a warehouse/distribution center,” he said. “They didn’t identify a specific user, but that’s pretty common — I don’t think they have a specific user in mind.”

The property has generated interest from real estate developers for quite some time, Olson said.

“There may have been somebody else before them who expressed an interest in that 100 acres,” he said. “I think a number of people are kicking the tires on it because it’s right there next to the interstate.”

The Cass-White Road corridor has seen explosive growth over the last few years, with several developments — among them, a 260-acre Capital Development Partners distribution and logistics center, the 62-acre Interstate Commerce Park and a 50-acre investment by Chick-fil-A within the Cartersville Business Park — either being proposed or breaking ground already in 2019.

Olson said the spike in development along the corridor would have occurred much sooner had it not been for the Great Recession.

“Those plans have been in the works for 10, 15 years or more to be an area to see industrial and commercial development,” Olson said. “If it’s been a quiet, rural area and traffic is increasing, some people don’t like to see any change, some people just prefer things to stay the way they are. But if you’re going to have growth, you’re going to have some change.”

While the increased industrial and commercial development along Cass-White Road has some longtime residents incensed, Olson said such economic growth is necessary for Bartow to just not thrive, but survive in a state in which more than 70 counties are posting declining populations.

“That just has a negative cascading effect,” he said. “The school systems lose funding, the tax base goes down and there’s fewer citizens paying for services, which costs evermore to provide … increased traffic is a byproduct of [growth] and we do the best we can in terms of planning for that and dealing with it.”

The Daily Tribune News reached out to Kevin Casteel, the development manager for PDC’s Atlanta office. He did not respond to a request for comments before press time.