Matthew Strother News editor
January 17, 2014
Commissioners didn’t object Thursday to plans for the city of LaGrange to annex about 312 acres north of Sandtown Road, with the city agreeing to conditions for the annexation.
County Commissioners met Thursday, instead of the usual Friday, for a work session because it was the last day commissioners could have filed a formal objection to the city’s annexation. If the county chose to object to the annexation, it would require state arbitration.
The county previously had sent a letter to the city objecting to the zoning, not the annexation itself, because of the proposed general industrial zoning of the southernmost portion of the land. In the letter of objection states that the zoning “is not consistent with the Future Development Map of unincorporated Troup County nor is it compatible with the present zoning or existing use of the property in the area.”
Commissioners also were concerned about the city’s 50-foot buffer between residential and industrial zonings, compared to the county’s 200-foot buffer.
Other issues the county identified in the written request were that Sandtown Road is not designed to handle possible industrial traffic; clarifying ownership and maintenance of the road, when one side is the city of West Point and the other side is city of LaGrange; and possible creation of an unincorporated island at the end of Sandtown Road.
Staff of the county, LaGrange and West Point met Jan. 7 to discuss those issues.
“I was rather pleasantly surprised about the ideas to come out of that meeting,” said County Engineer James Emery. “The city of LaGrange recognized all of the things that we had documented in our letters to them, and they came to the meeting prepared to offer some mitigating measures to the things that we had found – and I thought very mitigating measures.”
In a letter to the county, LaGrange City Manager Tom Hall said the city would agree to a 200-foot buffer between residential and industrial zones, and making extension of Kia Parkway into the planned industrial site a requirement of the industrial zoning, so all truck traffic would be confined to it and not use Sandtown Road. The city also agreed to annex the portion of Sandtown Road between the property and West Point city limit.
Emery pointed out that the property at the end of Sandtown Road, legally, isn’t an island because it touches Interstate 85, which is unincorporated north of Kia Boulevard. According to state law, the property would have to be totally enclosed by incorporated land to be an island, Hall said.
Commissioners did not move to object to the zoning. They are expected on Tuesday to vote on the city’s agreed terms for the annexation.
The proposed annexation was requested by Land Partners LLC for 312 acres north of Sandtown Road and west of Interstate 85, just north of the Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia plant. The annexation would about West Point city limits, which currently run to the south side of Sandtown Road in the area.
The abutting West Point land currently is zoned commercial and unincorporated land is zoned residential, while the proposed zoning for the annexed land would be general industrial for about 99 acres on the south side of the land.
In another matter, the commission reviewed plans Thursday for upgrades to the Gray Hill convenience center. County Manager Tod Tentler said the center is one of the worst, environmentally, that the county has. Other centers will be upgraded as well, but Gray Hill will be the first.
The upgraded center will use some land allocated by the Board of Education from the old Gray Hill School, allowing traffic to the center and trucks picking up dumpster into the center without blocking the bay of the fire station at the site. It will also receive an upgraded compactor, new containers and be repaved with concrete.