Bulloch Co. land development back up for discussion

Bulloch County land development back up for discussion

BULLOCH CO., GA (WTOC) - A landowner and neighbors in Bulloch County will go back to county leaders over whether or not to develop more than 4,000 acres.

The tract, located on Highway 67 near I-16, is zoned for agriculture. But developers want it rezoned for light industry.

In July, neighbors who opposed the idea packed a planning and zoning meeting, where the board recommended against the change. Developers withdrew the proposal before commissioners, but bring it back now hoping they can change minds and votes.

"We and the applicant have been working with the board of the Development Authority of Bulloch County and they are excited to have this prospect. They see it as an opportunity for Bulloch County," said the developer's attorney, Laura Marsh.

But some nearby residents say no new argument will change their minds. New signs for a new zoning request bring the same reaction from neighbors as the first one did in July.

"Neighbor people feel that we've got homes and timber out here. We don't need an industrial park," said Bea Jones.

Developers want to open up more than 4,000 acres to recruit a range of light industries and small businesses. Some worry a development's demand on the local water supply will lead to water restrictions for nearby farmers. They also worry about the potential traffic.

"You think about the trucks going up and down that road, the widening. Once again, it's just awful," said Charlie Martin.

Attorneys now representing the developers say the plan didn't come overnight. They're working with the county development authority to give them a place to recruit companies for tax revenues and jobs. And the county holds plenty of control.

"The proposed conditions give Bulloch County all authority about who can go in there. First of all, it prohibits a number of industries from coming there that might be considered unattractive," said Marsh.

But the neighbors who live by streams like the one that feeds Black Creek and the Ogeechee River, don't want to think about a development that could get this big on top of them.

"I understand the salability of the site, but we're talking about an area half the size of the city of Statesboro," said Jones.

The planning and zoning committee will hear the presentation again Thursday night.

Copyright 2016 WTOC. All rights reserved.