Com­mis­sion­ers de­fer Salem Road or­di­nance

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE EVER­SON deverson@cov­news.com

The New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers de­ferred an or­di­nance for the Salem Road Over­lay District at its Dec. 18 meet­ing.

Jenny Carter with the county at­tor­ney’s of­fice, who stood in for Scott Sirotkin, di­rec­tor of the New­ton County De­part­ment of Devel­op­ment Ser­vice, said The Col­lab­o­ra­tive Firm, a plan­ning and ar­chi­tec­ture firm who devel­oped the over­lay, held a pub­lic meet­ing on Dec. 17 and ques­tions were raised from the com­mu­nity about the project, which in turn re­sulted in Sirotkin rec­om­mend­ing that the BOC ta­ble the or­di­nance un­til March.

The in­tent of the Salem Road Over­lay is to cre­ate a more liv­able and walk­a­ble Salem Road area by cre­at­ing close knit com­mu­ni­ties to keep the small town charm of New­ton County.

The zon­ing over­lay would also place cer­tain devel­op­ment stan­dards on any fu­ture build­ing or devel­op­ment that takes place in the cor­ri­dor to en­sure that it’s con­sis­tent with what area res­i­dents and county of­fi­cials want.

The idea of the over­lay is to di­vide the Salem Road cor­ri­dor from the Rock­dale County line to Ga. High­way 81 into three

dif­fer­ent devel­op­ment tiers.

Tier 1 would take up the ma­jor­ity of the cor­ri­dor, in­clud­ing some side streets off Salem Road, and would al­low mainly res­i­den­tial with some neigh­bor­hood com­mer­cial uses, like florists.

Tier 2 would in­clude some mixed-use res­i­den­tial and light com­mer­cial uses. The pri­mary area for this would be from the Rock­dale County line south, to the his­toric Salem Camp­ground area.

Tier 3 would have the heav­i­est com­mer­cial use, but would also be a mixe­duse area that would have high walk­a­bil­ity. This area would be con­sid­ered the “town cen­ter” and would be the area at the in­ter­sec­tion of Brown Bridge and Salem roads.

At the board meet­ing, Com­mis­sioner Nancy Schulz agreed with the rec­om­men­da­tion to hold off on ap­prov­ing the pro­posed Salem Road Over­lay pre­sented.

“We did hold a pub­lic meet­ing last night and based on the com­ments that we heard from the pub­lic we felt that it is in the best in­ter­est of the strength of this over­lay that we lis­ten to what the con­stituents of this area have to say and that we go back to the draw­ing ta­ble and make a stronger or­di­nance,” Schulz said.

Schulz made the mo­tion to de­fer the or­di­nance for 60 to 90 days, and the board unan­i­mously ap­proved.

The BOC also agreed to ex­tend its con­tract with The Col­lab­o­ra­tive Firm un­til March 31. County Man­ager John Mid­dle­ton said the cost of the con­tract would be $4,175 per month for Jan­uary through March. Mid­dle­ton said $60,000 in fund­ing was set aside for de­vel­op­ing the Salem Road Over­lay District project and the ex­penses as­so­ci­ated with ex­tend­ing the con­tract would come from that par­tic­u­lar fund.

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