MARSHALL – A proposed Madison County Industrial Park moved one step closer to actualization, as the county Planning Board approved rezoning the county-owned property from Residential-Agricultural to Industrial.
The Madison County Planning Board unanimously approved rezoning the tract, which is currently in use as the Madison County Maintenance Facility, during the board’s Nov. 21 meeting.
According to a staff findings report from Development Services Director Brad Guth, the Madison County staff approved rezoning to Industrial, citing economic growth with potential job creation as potential advantages.
The objectives of the rezoning were to promote economic development and job creation, as well as to optimize land use in line with the county’s long-term planning strategies.
Guth said the site is 23 acres and borders Long Branch Road, Printpack and Elderberry Lanes.
In March, the county applied for a grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation to do the due diligence for the then-proposed industrial park.
The application arose from a joint meeting with the Madison County Economic Development Board, according to Guth.
Guth said Golden LEAF awarded the county the grant, and its due diligence phase cap for the grant is $50,000.
“We hired a consultant, and they did all the environmental studies and archaeology studies and all the wetlands and all the environmental issues to consider that,” Guth said. “We got a grant to do that, and now we’ve applied for a $1.5 million grant to do the site work. As part of that, they suggested that we move forward with having this site zoned Industrial, since it was zoned Residential-Agricultural first.”
According to Guth, the total assessments/improvements were:
- Phase 21e environmental assessment.
- Detailed wetland and stream delineation.
- Threatened/endangered species report.
- Archaeological and cultural resources review, as well as a detailed archaeological study.
- Boundary survey.
- Technical report.
- Existing utility capacity analysis.
- Water system flow analysis.
- Title opinion.
- Existing utilities mapping.
Prior to the vote, Chair Jered Silver said the site had been used as an industrial park for years prior to becoming the maintenance facility property.
“That whole area has been an industrial park for years,” Silver said. “It’s like (fellow Planning Board member) Lee (Wilds) said, I honestly thought it was already Industrial. Lee thought it was.”
According to Modulus’ conceptual site plan, the industrial park is to be located at John Hensley Road.
The site plan proposes four buildings on four lots, including:
- 40,000-square-foot building.
- 66,000-square-foot building.
- 80,000-square-foot building.
- 85,000-square-foot building.
In the staff findings report, the staff listed geotechnical challenges related to construction and potential alteration of the area’s rural character as two disadvantages of the proposed rezoning.
More: Veterans Park coming to Madison New veterans park coming to Madison County thanks to Mars Hill VFW, county commissioners
More: Commission wants courthouse plan ‘The Money Pit’: Madison commissioners advocate for more urgent plan for new courthouse
In its impact analysis, the staff reported on traffic impact, public utilities impact, environmental impact, public services impact, the impact on surrounding property values and the community impact in its deliberations.
Staff listed potential air and noise pollution as a possible environmental impact, and cited increased traffic volume and potential congestion on Long Branch Road as a possible outcome.
As for the property values, the assessment revealed a potential for mixed impacts, with industrial development possibly lowering residential values while increasing commercial values.
In the staff report, local residents listed concerns about changes in lifestyle and environment, while the business community showed support for economic growth.
“The proposed rezoning presents a valuable opportunity for Madison County,” Guth and staff said in its conclusion in the staff report.
“This change aligns seamlessly with the county’s long-term development goals as outlined in the 2030 Madison County Comprehensive Plan. The shift towards industrial land use promises significant economic growth, primarily through job creation and attracting new businesses.”
“Overall, the project will be a catalyst for job creation and economic investment, increasing economic opportunity in Madison County,” Guth said in March of the proposed industrial park.
Madison County Board of Commissioners Vice Chair Michael Garrison commended the county Economic Development Board for its work.
“I’d like to say I commend the Economic Development Board for their initiative and moving forward with the site developments,” Garrison said. “Originally, the former Board of Commissioners approved funding to be able to do the site identifications, so we contracted with the company to identify at least eight potential locations for the county to work with investors to develop the economic opportunities for business growth, the first one being this one on Long Branch, which is property owned by the county.”
Board of Commissioners Chair Matt Wechtel joined with Garrison in applauding the work of the Economic Development Board.
“I want to commend not only (Guth) but the Economic Development Board for the hours they’ve put in,” Wechtel said. “They’ve put in a lot of time in getting this to this stage. We thank them and Brad for their work in guiding this through the process.”