Henry Promenade development a no-go

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

A portion of the property designated for the former Henry Promenade development has been given its original zoning now that the project apparently is dead.

A request was made to the Henry County Board of Commissioners for a zoning reversion for 7.6 acres at 1050 North Bridges Road. It was rezoned in March from RA (residential agricultural) to C-3 (highway commercial) as part of the Henry Promenade project near the southeast corner of the I-75/Jonesboro Road interchange.

A separate request involved changing the Future Land Use Map designation from Commercial to Rural-Residential, but that idea was rejected by the board. County staff suggested as an alternative that a hearing be scheduled to consider changing the entire area now designated Commercial to Mixed Use.

“North Bridges Road was slated to be abandoned by the Board of Commissioners contingent upon a development permit being issued for Henry Promenade,” according to a staff report. “At this time, it appears that the developer has delayed or abandoned the project.”

Several property owners were involved in the Henry Promenade transaction, and some of them spoke to the commissioners of their fears that the commercial designation would result in much higher property taxes for land that is not even developed.

A few land owners said they understood that there would be no tax hike before work on the development actually began, but officials from the county’s Planning & Zoning Department said it would be up to the Tax Assessors Office to determine that.

The Henry Promenade project was a target of some controversy recently, with Stockbridge officials charging that the county’s lawsuit challenging the annexation of the Jodeco South development site at the southwest corner of the I-75/Jodeco Road interchange was motivated by a desire on the part of some county officials to kill that project in favor of Henry Promenade.

“There have been a lot of comments about the county holding up another project in favor of this one,” Commissioner Gary Barham said at last week’s meeting. “But Promenade is dead right now. It is not moving forward.”

In other business, the board approved a bid of just over $2 million for the grading, widening and paving of Frog Road. This is an approved SPLOST project, and the board also approved the transfer of $885,726 from three other projects to cover the cost of construction and utility relocation.

The purchase of three new pumper fire trucks was approved earlier this year, and last week the board approved the purchase of $215,534 worth of emergency equipment for those vehicles. The equipment, which includes fire hoses and thermal imaging cameras, is necessary to meet ISO requirements that affect homeowner insurance rates. The funds for the trucks as well as the equipment will be taken from the county’s SPLOST account.

Whitworth Builders of Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., requested a modification to conditions from a 2005 rezoning to allow more flexibility in siding materials for houses in the Castlebrook subdivision on South Ola Road. That was approved unanimously.