Newton could welcome two new businesses

COVINGTON — Two new businesses could open in Newton County if the Board of Commissioners approves zoning changes for Salem Road and Brown Bridge Road.

The Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of a proposal from Mark Friedman of Conyers to open a title loan business at 2536 Ga. Highway 81 and Salem Road, which is located in the Salem Overlay.

Zoning Administrator Judy Johnson will present the staff and Planning Commission recommendations at 7 p.m. Tuesday during the BOC’s scheduled meeting held at the Historic Courthouse, located at 1113 Usher St.

If approved by the commissioners, Title Loans of Atlanta Inc. would be categorized under the Salem Overlay District Tier 2, a moderate commercial area that provides for mixed-use development.

Friedman wants to occupy the front tenant space on the south side of the building where Gold Guys and Holifield Deer Processing are currently located. The only conditions the Planning Commission will recommend the BOC to consider before awarding the conditional use permit is not allowing any storage of automobiles on the property.

The BOC will also discuss the hours of operation for the title loan business at Tuesday’s meeting since Friedman did not indicate what time it would open and close when applying for the permit.

Besides a pawnshop, Newton County could also be welcoming a small auto sales lot, located at 13125 Brown Bridge Road.

Michael Presley seeks approval to rezone an acre from residential use to commercial in order to sell cars.

Presley, who is a longtime Covington resident, previously bought and sold cars in Lithonia before retiring two years ago. He said he’s extended his business plan to the commissioners and residents in the area.

“It’s going to be a small, old mom-and-pop kind of car sales lot. I’m just interested in not only the income, but combining two things that I love — people and cars — and making a business out of it,” Presley said in an interview Monday. “I’ve been searching and developing this idea of a small lot since last May and I hope it’s finally time to get back to work.”

The Planning Commission voted 4-1 to recommend approval of the request with the condition that there be a maximum of 10 cars allowed on the sales lot and a total of 15 automobiles on the parcel.