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Industrial park area proposed
Petition to annex 214 acres to be considered by city

COVINGTON - The Covington City Council acknowledged Monday night receipt of a petition for annexation of 214 acres on Hazelbrand Road, property that is targeted for an industrial park.

The majority of the property is adjacent to SKC on the south side of Hazelbrand, with 70 acres on the north side of the road backing up to CSX railroad.

A conceptual plan for the project calls for warehousing, light industrial and light manufacturing uses, said Gil Gainer, co-owner of the property along with J.S. Gainer Jr. and Essie Greer. In addition to the annexation, they are seeking a rezoning to industrial. The property is zoned county agricultural residential.

"Our feeling is the highest and best use is industrial. It makes sense to annex into the city because the utilities are there," Gainer said, adding the city also has lower insurance rates for commercial and industrial property.

Jerry Silvio of Silvio Development, who is assisting the Gainers with the project, said the conceptual plan includes 2.5 million square feet of buildings at full build-out, which would represent a capital investment of $125 million in today's dollars.

The number of jobs generated depends upon the type of industry that comes in, Silvio said.

A warehouse distribution center could bring as many as 2,000 jobs, while an industry similar to SKC could bring fewer jobs but a higher capital investment, he said.

Because of the size of the project, it is considered a Development of Regional Impact and must be submitted to the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center in Athens for review. A traffic study must be completed as part of the process.

Following review by the Regional Development Center, the petition will be sent to the Covington Planning Commission and then the City Council for a final vote.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.