Annexation, rezoning efforts delayed after resident pushback in Stonecrest

This is a map of a proposed annexation for Stonecrest.

Credit: City of Stonecrest

Credit: City of Stonecrest

This is a map of a proposed annexation for Stonecrest.

Stonecrest leaders delayed an annexation attempt and several rezoning efforts after residents voiced their opposition to industrial development in the city.

During a six-plus-hour meeting Monday, a property owner tried to bring nearly 20 acres of vacant land into the city to develop a gravel parking lot for hundreds of tractor-trailers. This was met with strong pushback from residents who say the city’s industrial sector is already too large and encumbering neighborhoods.

“Stop putting industrialized businesses in our community,” Pyper Bunch said during the virtual meeting. “We have enough truck parking lots.”

The property at 1724 Rogers Lake Road is in unincorporated DeKalb and borders Stonecrest’s city limits. Jody Campbell, an attorney representing the property owners, said they’d like to annex into the city to develop the parking lot because gravel lots are significantly cheaper than asphalt, and he argued the development would receive better regulation in Stonecrest while also bringing in extra tax revenue.

“We want to be a model development for how these businesses are to be operated,” he said.

The attempted annexation comes months after the city updated its zoning code for gravel parking lots, which DeKalb does not allow.

Campbell emphasized the development would not be for hourly parking but would instead allow truckers to rent spaces to store their vehicles. He said it’s common for large trucks to be parked along the side of nearby roads, including Rogers Lake Road, which he said shows the high demand for more parking. Their gravel lot would include space for about 420 trucks.

“The trucks are already there,” he said. “By providing a parking facility so close to those uses, you’re actually keeping them off of the roads.”

The residents who spoke against the project argue that southeast DeKalb has become a dumping ground for less desirable projects that wouldn’t be proposed for more affluent cities, such as Dunwoody or Decatur.

“These same developers and attorneys would never want this type of business near their homes,” Bunch said. “Why would you allow them to do that to us?”

The City Council unanimously voted to send the annexation request to the Stonecrest Planning Commission, where they can gather more information and public feedback.