In the face of overwhelming opposition from residents, a $30 million project calling for two industrial buildings with a combined 336,960 square feet was approved on first reading.
The 38-acre tract is off Thurmon Tanner Parkway and Phil Niekro Boulevard, near Interstate 985 and Exit 12.
Speaker after speaker railed against the project during the council’s designated public comments time Thursday night. Residents said they didn’t believe warehouses were the right fit for the property, which sits off a main entry into Flowery Branch, with one speaker saying it would be an “eyesore.”
Councilman Joe Anglin made the motion to approve the project, saying the city could face litigation by arbitrarily turning down rezoning requests. He got several jeers from the audience, with Mayor Mike Miller at one point saying people would have to leave if they kept interrupting Anglin.
Hines Acquisitions LLC has defended its rezoning request — from highway business to light industrial — by saying in a letter to the city, “The property has been marketed as a retail development for many years and has not seen any development take place as currently zoned, suggesting there is not a reasonable economic use as currently zoned.”
A final vote is set for Oct. 21.