COVINGTON -- A reduction of the buffer setback for a property in Lochridge Industrial Park targeted by an industry looking to expand has been granted by the Covington City Council.
At its Nov. 5 meeting, the council approved an application by Gwinnett Industries Inc. to increase buffer setbacks for two parcels, one at 14108 Lochridge Blvd., where there is an existing building, and one for a vacant, unaddressed parcel.
The buffer setback was reduced from 200 to 150 feet to accommodate expansion of the existing facility from 202,000 to 425,000 square feet and construction of a 600-space parking lot.
The property is being targeted by an unnamed industry referenced by officials as code name Project Dove.
The council recently approved a variety of incentives for Project Dove, including a 20 percent discount for two years on electricity, amounting to a savings of between $2,600 and $4,600 per month for the industry; a 20 percent discount on stormwater fees for two years; the waiving of water and sewer tap fees; and the waiving of permit and inspection fees, amounting to an estimated $21,552.
Also, the council agreed to offer natural gas rates to the industry at the regular rate minus the added "hedge" that is passed on to customers.
A hedge is a financial instrument to place constraints on the price of a commodity, and is typically used when prices are unstable or prone to extreme increases.
The project is a "solid investment" of almost $20 million, according to Roger Harrison, vice president of economic development for the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce. There will be 900 employees on site from day one and 600 jobs are expected to be available over the course of 10 years through attrition, according to Harrison. He said he could not elaborate further, citing the competitive nature of negotiations. Harrison said the industry is in advanced manufacturing and pays an above-average salary for the community. Covington is on the industry's short list of locations to expand.
Even if Project Dove does not locate at the site, the amendments to zoning conditions would remain in place.
Harrison initially said a decision would be made by Nov. 1, but Harrison recently said the industry has extended its timeline.