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Council to Eye Rezoning for Metal Fabrication Shop

Cartersville councilmen are set Thursday to hold the first reading of a proposed rezoning ordinance that would allow a steel and metal fabrication plant to locate on West Avenue.

While the Planning Commission recommended approval, the owner of contiguous property “strongly” opposes a proposed industrial operation in what he calls a commercial corridor.

Steve Cowart of Kingston, who owns Steel Materials, wants to use a building on the 2.7 acres of land in his company’s steel and metal fabrication operations and to sell fabricated steel. Vacant for 10 years, a bank foreclosed on the former industrial property at 1120 West Avenue, near Douthit Ferry Road, and now Cowart has it under contract.

City officials say in 2006, it was zoned general commercial in a marketing effort.

In a letter, Neal Judd of South Carolina, who acquired the property 40 years ago but no longer has an interest in it, said he’s worried about the appearance of the area. Through his company, he bought the land for a long-term, planned development.

“I have every wish to see the long-term use of all the property at least somewhat in the manner in which the planners and I have agreed in the past: a protected commercial corridor that becomes a credit to the community,” Judd wrote, adding he currently owns a “substantial” amount of surrounding property. “I don’t believe the anticipated sale/purchase fits that role. That’s where planners are needed.”

The property’s Future Development Plan designates it a community village center and recommends office-commercial, professional services and mixed-use zoning classifications.

Following a second reading of the proposal, the council in its first April meeting could decide whether to rezone the property for light industrial use.

The 41,000-square-foot building is one of more than 50 industrial locations available in Cartersville. City leaders and economic development officials have taken steps to encourge industrial, manufacturing and business growth in an effort to create jobs.

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