Bryan County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a moratorium on rezoning land in the fast-growing Northern Bryan Industrial Area that will last through the end of the year.
The measure, which won’t impact rezoning requests in the area already before the county, was requested by county staffers, according to Community Development Director Audra Miller.
The area is in a corridor generally running along and emanating outwards from highways 80 and 280 and the I-16 interchange in Black Creek.
“The purpose of the moratorium is to allow staff and the county to address infrastructure on the north end,” she told commissioners. “As everyone is well aware, there is a lot of development going on in the north end and staff, the consultants and the county need a little bit of a pause.”
Bulloch County enacted a similar moratorium in August 2022, also to look at a larger-scale master plan for the area in southeastern Bulloch. A plan was announced last week that county leaders say will better handle the expected residential growth that will accompany the thousands of workers needed to staff the manufacturing plants going online in the next three to five years.
Miller said the pause will allow Bryan County “time to analyze water and sewer, both from an infrastructure and capacity standpoint and also our transportation network. Such improvements require a lot of planning and a lot of capital investment and we are struggling to keep up with the pace of development.”
While South Bryan has experienced booming residential growth for decades now, North Bryan has remained more rural.
But both the growth of the Savannah port, which has led to a proliferation of warehouses and manufacturing in Blitchton and Black Creek, and Hyundai Motor Group America’s decision to build the company’s Metaplant America at the 3,000-acre Mega-Site just off I-16, has sparked an explosion of growth in the area.
That’s led a number of property owners to seek to rezone their land from an agricultural designation to an industrial one. There are 11 such rezoning requests currently pending, Miller said, none of which will be impacted by the moratorium. She told commissioners the request to put a pause on rezoning requests in the area wasn’t made lightly.
“We know how important development is to a community,” Miller said. “A lot of people have said how blessed we are to have this development and that we are a growing community. We also need to develop in a thoughtful and pragmatic matter.”
Shortly after commissioners approved a motion by District 1 Commissioner Noah Covington to adopt the moratorium, non-public hearings were held on a pair of rezoning requests to change from A-5 to I-2, covering more than 420 acres of land in the area for more than 2 million square foot in warehouse space.
Bulloch County moratorium
Bulloch County commissioners put in place a six-month moratorium in August 2022 blocking landowner-requested zoning changes in a defined area of southeastern Bulloch County to residential categories denser than R-80. It was extended two months and ended in April.
Commissioners first enacted the moratorium to stem a flood of rezoning applications then coming before them and the county’s appointed Planning and Zoning Commission. Interest in residential development in the Southeast Bulloch area had picked up even before Hyundai Motor Group’s plans to build an electric vehicle and battery plant expected to employ 8,100 people at the Bryan County Mega Site, roughly five miles from the Bulloch County line, were revealed in May 2022.
Over the past 12 months, plans have been announced for four manufacturers – two of them direct Hyundai parts suppliers – to build factories, expected eventually to employ more than 1,400 people – in southern Bulloch County.