Powder Springs residents fight to turn away new distribution center
Following public outcry from a Powder Springs community, an Alpharetta developer – the Native Development Group, must to go back to the drawing board after the vote was postponed on their plans to build a new distribution center in the area. The proposal included a 338,550 square-foot logistics center and a 60,000-square-foot warehouse on nearly 126.7 acres of undeveloped land along Oglesby Road just outside Powder Spring’s southern boundaries.
Native Development Group sought approval from the Powder Spring City Council to rezone a portion of the development site that sits within city limits. The rezoning would allow light industrial activity within yards of the Springbrook Estates subdivision, a community of about 40 homes just north of the development site.
Residents of the nearby subdivision let their opposition to the rezoning proposal be known to the Councilmembers during their meeting. They were adamantly opposed to the plan to have a distribution center built adjacent to their neighborhood. Said one resident of the area, “When we chose to call Springbrook Estates our home, this was not a part of our vision.” Marvin Stokes was among several residents who asked council members to deny the rezoning request for the distribution center. Stokes told council members it backs up to his home along Misty Creek Court. “Anywhere you put these distribution (centers), you have to have it zoned correctly,” Stokes said. “You cannot back it 1,000 feet from my back door thinking it’s not going to affect my property value, my quality of life and the way we live our everyday life.”
The attorney representing the Native Development Group said developers plan to meet with residents and conduct a traffic study to analyze the impact of truck traffic from the logistics center.
Approximately 117.5 acres of land currently in unincorporated Cobb County is expected to be annexed into Powder Springs on Oct. 18, the same date when council members are expected to vote on the rezoning request.
City officials point to the proposed facilities bringing up to 200 jobs and about $85,000 in tax revenue to Powder Springs, but many homeowners say those benefits would be outweighed by the negatives. Other residents worried it would cause noise and air pollution, pose dangers to pedestrians, and increase traffic from hundreds of delivery trucks and employees using Lewis Road to access the distribution center. Warehouses historically produce new jobs and tax revenue for local governments, but they also generate lots of traffic and noise. Each day finds them moving closer, from the country to the suburbs and intown communities.
Homeowner Ben Carter said, “You’re the only thing that’s standing between us and that business that wants to change what we have. We have a good thing, and we don’t want it to change so I implore you to vote on our behalf. Vote it down, tell them to go somewhere else.”
Powder Springs Community Development Director Tina Garver said the site was part of a 251-acre property that city leaders once proposed for an Amazon operations center in 2017, but it is unknown which trucking company intends to set up shop at the location. The only access to the proposed site currently is along Burrow Trail. The warehouse and distribution center are proposed to be built near a juncture where C.H. James Parkway, Burrow Trail, and Oglesby Road intersect in Powder Springs.
In a different community in Cobb County, a 141,000-square-foot Amazon facility, located five miles northwest of Acworth, will receive about 20 trucks a day and have 260 parking spaces, according to the builder. It is expected to open by the end of 2021. Fulfillment centers, like Amazon, are popping up and being built nearer to where people live.
“Some people call this progress, but it doesn’t look like progress to me,” said a member of the Acworth community who worries that the area’s quiet lifestyle will be spoiled. They are also concerned about traffic and these types of facilities being constructed. The Cobb government approved this facility within this community with no plans to address traffic concerns or improve the nearby roadways for the citizens that reside there.