It took a tie-breaking vote by the mayor, but Lula City Council approved 3-2 Tony McGuire’s request to change zoning from highway business to light industrial on 17 acres in the Mountain View Industrial Park.
Council members James Garnett Smith and Vicky Chambers voted against the rezoning, and Councilmen Larry Shuler and Lamb Griffin voted in favor. Mayor Milton Turner cast the tie-breaking vote in favor.
McGuire plans to build a 2,400-square-foot office building and 5,000- to 6,000-square-foot maintenance facility, which, he said in a letter to city officials, "would look very professional and go well with the (Ga.) 365 overlay (development) plan."
The two companies now are based off White Sulphur Road, south of Howard Road.
The council approved the request after a public hearing, where several residents engaged in a lively but civil discussion with city officials and McGuire.
Concerns ranged from trucks "intermingling" with cars entering a subdivision off the parkway to traffic and operating hours.
"Do we need to worry about trucks entering at 1 a.m., blowing their horn and waking our children up?" subdivision resident Jimmy Henderson said.
McGuire said drivers might arrive after hours to park their truck and go home, but, he added jokingly, "I’ll whip him if he honks the horn."
McGuire did get support from a potential Ga. 365 neighbor.
"I like the looks of his plan," said Jimmy Echols, owner of Jaemor Farms. "It sounds like it would be an asset to the community."
The 64.6-acre Mountain View Industrial Park, which is also off Mountain View Parkway, is relatively undeveloped, with a handful of occupants.
In his letter, McGuire said he started Chaser Transport in 1996 and McGuire Logistics in 2008, and he has seen much growth through the years.
"I started with two trucks in 2008 and am now at 16 trucks and 32 refrigerated trailers with 25 employees," he said. "My business ... has unlimited potential to grow further."
He said he hopes to build a corporate facility "that will continue to serve national markets."
Citing overlay regulations, McGuire said his company wouldn’t serve as a terminal such as one operated by Federal Express or United Parcel Service.
"My trucks pick up and deliver in other states," he said, adding that trucks come by the shop for normal maintenance. "I prefer they stay out on the road."
McGuire also owns a 32,000-square-foot facility on Cobb Street in Lula that is leased to Mount Vernon Mills, "which, I think, has been a good investment in Lula."