McDONOUGH – After disapproval from nearby residents, the Henry County Board of Commissioners said “no” on Tuesday to the construction of a proposed small-box discount store.
The discount store would have been located on 1.15 acres of land at 1018 Hampton-Locust Grove Road, at the road’s intersection with Rocky Creek Road.
Commissioners opposed the rezoning for, among other reasons, the rezoning being considered a form of “spot zoning,” as the entire area is surrounded with rural residential zoning.
“To me, this is a spot zoning,” said District 1 Commissioner Johnny Wilson. “Our future land use map doesn’t even recognize this piece of property for the next 20 years for any type of commercial.”
The applicant, Jerry Greer, said the facility would have served the nearby community with a neighborhood commercial market. Greer also said that he had spoken to residents that were in favor of the store.
“I didn’t start a petition contest as these other people did,” Greer said. “I talked to numerous neighbors, and to find someone violently opposed to it, I did not. I had somebody intimidated because there were these other folks imploring him to oppose it, but I didn’t get any petition contest and I don’t mean to.”
That petition came from nearby residents, who demanded the opposition of the proposed store. Other opponents spoke to the BOC at the Tuesday meeting, stating the proposed store would impact the rural character of the area, while other residents expressed concern over crime that could impact the area as a result.
Shannon Griffin, a nearby resident, said she had 64 signatures in a petition from residents to oppose the proposed store.
“Changing this property to commercial is definitely inconsistent with the character of our area and would surely have a negative impact on our property values and quality of life. This is a rural area of single-family homes with acreage. Many of the properties are used for farming and livestock. I, myself, have a small farm with rescue animals.”
Griffin said the area is not “a sidewalk community where residents want to walk to stores.”
“We are a rural area and we want to keep it that way,” she said.
Another resident said residents could drive four minutes to a similar discount store, or five minutes to a grocery store. Griffin said a Dollar General was three miles away.
At a recent Board of Commissioners meeting, the BOC requested that planning and zoning staff formulate some sort of rule that would limit the number of small-box discount stores popping up in the county.
The stores, defined by the county as dollar stores, “not as large as a Wamart or a Target,” that have popped up around the county and have occasionally popped up close together and have, in the words of some commissioners, “inundated” the county.
The move was presented as a way to protect the property values of county residents who move in to a new neighborhood, but may have their property value impacted by the construction of a dollar store.