Frustrated Powder Springs residents confront distribution center developer

A 338,000 square-foot distribution center is being proposed for Oglesby Road in southern Powder Springs. (Photo provided/City of Powder Springs)

A 338,000 square-foot distribution center is being proposed for Oglesby Road in southern Powder Springs. (Photo provided/City of Powder Springs)

They came in at odds over a large distribution center and warehouse that could soon be built in Powder Springs.

And when developers masterminding the industrial facilities met with a group of homeowners from an adjacent subdivision Tuesday night, they parted ways without mediating any resolution.

The Native Development Group intends to build a 338,550 square-foot logistics center and a 60,000-square-foot warehouse on 126.7 acres of undeveloped land along Oglesby Road. The proposed site sits within yards of Springbrook Estates, a neighborhood of single-family homes just north of the property.

About 50 residents attended Tuesday’s meeting on the lawn of the Hardy Family Automotive Amphitheater inside Thurman Springs Park. It was supposed to be a chance for developers to hash out potential compromises with Springbrook Estates homeowners opposed to the project and to find ways to mitigate the impact on residents.

But many in attendance who wanted to keep the logistics center from being built near their homes stormed out early in frustration.

“I don’t think anything was answered,” Springbrook Estates Homeowners Association president Jon Exume said after the meeting. “I think we need to have a meeting with the mayor, and we need him to come out and talk to the citizens. But overall, we didn’t get any clarity here. There was no resolution.”

Joe McGorrey, principal of the Native Development Group, laid out some of the Alpharetta-based developer’s plans. Residents interrupted him about 12 minutes into his presentation, and spent much of the next 45 minutes confronting the development team with tough questions about the project.

“Why would you build something so big next to a residential neighborhood,” asked Marvin Stokes, who said the logistics center would be less than 500 feet from his backyard on Misty Creek Court. “How is my quality of life and my property value supposed to sustain itself when you’re just putting these things wherever you can put them and then you’re gone?”

Joe McGorrey, principal of the Alpharetta-based developer Native Development Group, meets Tuesday with residents of Springbrook Estates, a subdivision just off Lewis Road in southern Powder Springs. Native Development Group is gearing up to build a warehouse and logistics center along Oglesby Road. Many homeowners at Springbrook Estates are opposed. (Matt Bruce/AJC)

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The Native Development Group has yet to identify tenants for either the warehouse or logistics center. McGorrey said that shouldn’t be a problem because there’s high demand for warehouse space.

The proposed industrial complex is poised to bring up to 200 jobs and about $85,000 in tax revenue to Powder Springs, according to estimates from the developers and city officials.

Council members delayed a vote on rezoning about 9 acres of city property to facilitate the development on Sept. 18. The project includes another 117.5 acres in unincorporated county territory that does not need rezoning.

Powder Springs City Council was expected to annex that area and vote on the rezoning the 9-acre parcel to light industrial on Monday. McGorrey said those votes have been tabled until November to give his team time to work with residents to possibly revise their plans.

“I would like to hear more about your concerns and see if there’s some that we can solve,” he said during Tuesday’s meeting.

One key point of contention seemed to be the access points along Oglesby Road. Several residents asked if that entrance for truckers could be removed to eliminate traffic backlogs and a possible safety hazard for children waiting at school bus stops in the morning.

After the meeting, McGorrey said he’d be willing to work with the city to find other access points. He also indicated the warehouse and logistics center would be at least 1,000 feet from all residences. He told those in attendance the proposed site’s proximity to C.H. James Parkway and the Norfolk Southern Railway intermodal terminal – about three miles south – are what make it attractive for a distribution center.

Residents of Springbrook Estates, a subdivision just off Lewis Road in southern Powder Springs, are opposed to a warehouse and logistics center proposed to be built near their community. Springbrook Estates homeowners met Tuesday with the developer planning to build the facilities. (Matt Bruce/AJC)

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Residents worried about inexperienced truck drivers hauling big rigs down Oglesby Road and pulling their trucks along the side of roads to nap in the neighborhood after long hauls. They said the distribution center could attract more litter, truck traffic, noise and crime to the area.

“This is what trucking brings to a neighborhood,” said Duan Hooks, a truck driver who moved to Springbrook Estates in December. “I’m telling you, I’ve been in this business over 20 years and I know what they do. You should be ashamed of yourself for trying to bring it in our neighborhood.”

A 338,000 square-foot distribution center is being proposed for this site along a county access route near Oglesby Road in southern Powder Springs. (Matt Bruce/AJC)

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