Richmond Hill is going to get its very own small industrial park, after a unanimous decision by the Bryan County Board of Commissioners.
The first step toward the park’s inception, a rezoning of the 40-acre tract located on Hwy. 17 just past Daniel Siding Loop Road, was approved July 8.
The tract, which belongs to Richmond Hill resident Michael "Tim" Casey, Jr., was originally zoned A-5, or agriculture, and has been rezoned to I-L, or light industrial.
"The owner is interested in creating lots for cabinet makers, electricians, plumbers, counter top shops, heating and air condition businesses, and other similar trades," County Administrator Phil Jones said. "The tract has been approved for rezoning with a 30-foot buffer around the tract and green lighting, which will be directed downward and inward to the project, and the owner will maintain drainage ditches within the project."
Casey said he and his partner, Scott Stafford, are looking to divide the tract into 19 or 20 lots of one to two acres each and plan to finish the tract’s layout this week.
"We haven’t officially decided on a name for the property yet, but we’re thinking of calling it the Coastal Highway Industrial Park," Casey said. "Scott did something similar to this in Garden City, on Dean Forest Road, with smaller lots and it’s been very successful so far."
Casey said the planning in Richmond Hill has been going well. With residential development moving in a slightly slower direction these days, Casey said commercial development is still "pretty responsive."
"Scott has already sold two-thirds of the lots in Garden City which is why we decided to do this," Casey explained. "It will all be commercial and there’s a big need for industrial development in Richmond Hill – we have some – but not really anything down Hwy. 17 South. We thought this would be a good project. Right now, with the economy, you need to find a niche for something that’s needed. I think this will be really good for the county, will create jobs and provide more opportunities down Hwy. 17."
Casey said he’s had three or four small industrial companies looking at lots. While finalized plans have yet to be approved, there has already been interest in the preliminary plans.
"Anything that fits under basic light industrial we’ll be open to considering," he said. "We’re going to work hard to have this look nice. I truly feel like it’s going to be a real asset to Bryan County."
Commissioner Rick Gardner noted that, while it is difficult for residents living down Hwy. 17, "it’s in the county’s best interest to make Hwy. 17 an economic corridor."
Gardner made the motion to approve the rezoning, which was followed by unanimous approval from the board.
In other business:
- Sallette Road is one step closer to being officially closed. The county approved moving forward with the process of closing of the road earlier this summer, at the property owner’s request, and a 60-day hearing for anyone to state opposition is currently underway. The county will officially vote on the issue during their Aug. 5 meeting.
The commissioners have said there is no longer any public purpose for the road, now that the once-public boat ramp has been removed. Members of the Miner family have expressed opposition to the road’s closing during recent commission meetings, noting there is now only access to the Ogeechee River from Fort McAllister.
- Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center Executive Director Allen Burns, who stepped into the position in March, met all the commissioners and explained the financial obligation Bryan County will be undertaking in order to get the Coastal Comp plan, which will include about $9,000 more in dues this year for first-year start up costs.
Commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed said many good things have come out of the plan so far. "The idea is, the six coastal counties make up the coast of Georgia and it ought to all be looked at as one big unit," Burnsed said. "Each county on its own doesn’t have the tools to do all the planning and they will provide additional tools to help us accomplish quality planning for development. We need to be involved."
The commission unanimously approved paying the additional dues, to come from the county’s contingency fund.
- The Bryan County Comprehensive Plan was approved and will now be sent to the Department of Community Affairs. County Administrator Phil Jones said there is still time for changes to be made before the plan is returned for adoption in October. "This has been a big task and I feel really good about this particular comp plan, we’ve got to be sure we follow it as much as we can," Burnsed said.
- The board unanimously approved a Department of Family and Children’s Services board appointment. The late Joye Johnson held a board seat and Bryan County schools nominated Crystal Morales to take over the unexpired term until June 30, 2010.
- The proposed County Administrative Complex in Richmond Hill is preparing to have the grading started on site, down Spur 144. Eleven companies sent in applications to bid for the grading and Hussey, Gay, Bell and DeYoung’s engineering staff and County Engineer Dale Dudley reviewed the list. Jones recommended the county consider seven to do the bidding, since the process is going to be in depth.
- The county approved acquisition of heavy equipment, with funding from capital projects. They received two quotes from Yancy and JCB. They unanimously approved the quotes from Yancy to do a lease purchase for a CAT motor-grader and back ho in the amounts of $194,900 and $71,000, respectively.