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Posted: May 22, 2014 10:12 p.m.

Dollar General, McDonald’s coming to east side

Gabriel Khouli/The Covington News/

Example of McDonald's that will be arriving to the east side of Newton County.

A Dollar General and McDonald’s are planning to come to Newton County’s east side, and officials and residents hope the stores are a precursor to future development.

Initial steps for both stores were approved by the Newton County Board of Commissioners Tuesday.

Dollar General

The Board unanimously approved rezoning 5.9 acres of a 42.75-acre tract near the intersection of Ga. Highway 11 and U.S. Highway 278 from agricultural residential to general commercial.

The rezoning of that land, which is on Ga. 11 just north of the 278 intersection, will prepare the way for two new commercial businesses as the 5.9 acres will be further split up into two tracts of land.

A 9,100 square foot Dollar General with 30 parking spaces is planned for the smaller tract, while the conceptual plan for the second tract calls for a 12,000 square foot commercial building with 40 parking spaces in the future.
The Dollar General tract will be developed by Atlanta firm Sullivan Wickley, while the Stanton family will retain control of the second tract.

Jason Fritz, Sullivan Wickley’s vice president of development and brokerage, said the Dollar General will be built to look like the historic Brick Store building itself with four-sided brick walls, false shutters and a peaked parapet design.

In a letter to the county, Fritz said the store would bring 10 full-time jobs, as well as more convenient access to grocery, retail and household items.

“Dollar General is not a ‘dollar store’ or a ‘99-cent store.’ In fact, fewer than 25 percent of the merchandise sold by Dollar General costs a dollar or less. Dollar General is a neighborhood general store that serves the nearby community,” Fritz said.

The store will meet the increased design requirements coming with the Brick Store zoning overlay being developed for that area, which is going to require higher-quality commercial and residential development. For example, the Dollar General will have a monument-style ground sign, instead of a sign on a pole like on many commercial corridors, and the sign on the building will be made of individual letters. The signs will not be internally lit, but will have exterior lighting, which is softer.

District 1 Commissioner John Douglas thanked the developer and land owners for agreeing to the high development standards and said he hoped it would be a precursor for more quality development.


The developer wanting to build a McDonald’s on Ga. 11 near Interstate 20 also reached an agreement, which the Board of Commissioners approved Tuesday, that will move that project forward.

Under the agreement, the property’s developer, Kevin Price, will purchase an adjacent piece of property and combine the two into a single parcel so he can meet the county’s ordinances that don’t allow commercial properties to have more than 50 percent of their land as impervious surfaces – surfaces, usually paved, that don’t allow water to pass through and create water runoff.

Price will have 18 months to acquire the additional property, which will allow him to move forward with redeveloping the 1.5-acre property at 387 Ga. 11 to accommodate a new McDonald’s and fill up a vacant store spot that used to house a BP gas station.

County Attorney Tommy Craig, who negotiated the agreement, said the plan calls for the existing convenience store to be demolished and a McDonald’s and new convenience store to be built, similar to the high-quality masonry exterior of McDonald’s at the Almon Road, I-20 exit.

Initially, Price had asked for a variance to the county’s impervious surface ordinance.

The county’s Board of Zoning Appeals previously voted 3-2 to approve Price’s request to have 64.3 percent of the property be impervious surfaces; under that plan, Price had agreed to install a water system to catch any contaminants that came off the site.

However, local resident Troy Bledsoe, who also serves on the county’s planning commission, appealed the zoning board’s decision, saying granting the variance could set a precedent that would weaken the effectiveness of the county’s strict watershed protection laws.

The Board of Commissioners tabled the issue, with Commissioner John Douglas saying he wanted to see that 64.3 percent impervious surface number reduced as much as it could be.

Both Price and Bledsoe signed off on the agreement, which calls for Bledsoe to withdraw his appeal if enough land is purchased to meet the county’s ordinance.

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DustinKetchem: May 23, 2014 9:28 a.m.

Thats wonderful.. just what Newton County needed. Another Dollar General and McDonalds. All the eastside is missing now is a Waffle House and it will be just like the rest of Newton County. Luckily they have the trailer parks to support those jobs. If this is any sign of what future development will look like on the eastside its sure to be a year round white trash party on the eastside.

JohnDouglas53: May 23, 2014 12:26 p.m.

Year round white trash? If you knew anything about the law you would know we can't ban a store or business because of WHO they are, all we would do is open the taxpayers to a major lawsuit. Instead we worked with both Dollar General and McDonald's to ensure they blend in with the quality development we want in east Newton. Dollar General will not have any garish signs and will be four side old brick to fit the original Brick Store look while I made sure McDonald's met the impervious surface requirements and architectural styles we want here. Now I think you owe the people of East Newton an apology for that white trash comment.

jamazoo: May 23, 2014 1:34 p.m.


markj: May 23, 2014 1:55 p.m.

Mr. Douglas I agree with Mr. Ketchem!! I have lived on the Eastside all my life and the crap is moving in now. For years all the commissioners wanted was the tax money from the houses. Now the County is broke and yall sit there and think why.... Get real, if all the board can do is bring in low scale stores then please quit. I don't care if they are going to build the building with brick. (I don't think I have ever seen a Mcdonalds or Dollar store with wood or vynil siding). Ya'll need to quit worrying about getting re-elected and start bringing in quality stores and places to eat into the county. NOT THIS CRAP that we already have on EVERY corner. (maybe take the board on a field trip to Rockdale County to see how to bring in stuff, since that's where most of our county citizens spend their money!!!!!)

JohnDouglas53: May 23, 2014 2:19 p.m.

Once again, we can not legally keep them out because of who they are. We would lose in court and cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars. We delayed these projects as long as we could legally do so and set the bar as high as we could. Tell me what you would have done.

JohnDouglas53: May 23, 2014 2:22 p.m.

BTW, we held the Dollar General back for almost a year and had them make major changes in what they planned to build. We could not hold them back any longer.

dct1953: May 24, 2014 1:01 a.m.

Dollar Store and McDonalds locate in areas they know they can make long term profits. Whether you like them or not they are successful companies with plenty of money to file and fight lawsuits. How many Dollar Generals or McDonalds have you seen that were unsuccessful and had to leave ? The problem in Newton is that we have trouble getting the High End Business to locate here. That will continue until tax is lower, schools show better results, and per capti income increases. And quite frankly the Chamber of Commerce has failed the county for to long a time. It is strange to me that when a neighborhood doesn't want a healthcare home in their neighborhood they fill the Commissioner room at the meetings and most of the time the commissioners will vote it down but on something like McDonalds or Dollar General wants to build not many will showup at the commissioner meeting to let their feelings be known. How will the commissioners know how you feel about a zoning if you don't let them know? Look at the 2050 plan. It is mostly being put together by people who don't even live in Newton County or have a vested interest in Newton. It will end up getting shoved down our throats with very little input from the everyday citizen because a few good ole boys in Newton want it. Then many will complain when it is implemented. We should be filling up the commissioners meetings demanding a say so in the future of our county because as we can see by results our leaders have done a very poor job in the past 2 decades in their vision for us.

jrmobley: May 25, 2014 12:46 p.m.

Mr. Douglas is right, theres not really much the City Councils and County Commission Boards can do to select what "they " or "we" want. I own, have owned, have sold and am trying to sell commercial me...the developers for the types of stores and businesses that people say they want are only going to put those stores where they know there is the per capita income to support it. The Chamber, the Board of Commissioners could run a Disney parade around the corporate office say of a Bonefish Grill or Target etc and they are not coming unless they see what they are looking for: high education, low crime, good schools, people with money to spend. I am part owner of a piece of land that has been under contract several times with developers that build for Publix and they cannot get Publix to commit because of per capita and demographics this is just one of many examples I personally know about. There was a time when I thought we might be the next Gwinnett......more likely headed toward a Clayton direction. People have got to stop electing people to boards and councils that do not have a clue what they are doing. Going forward we will have to be very careful and make sure that elected officials bring something to the table and not just elect people because they "seem like a nice person". Mr. Douglas is right there are legal ramifications that must be considered when denying permits and that is prudent to consider that. Its time to look at the bigger picture and realize what about us as a County is bringing in all the businesses that people say we have enough of .......unfortunately some are not going to like the answer. I will close with that thought.

SixSeven: June 4, 2014 8:59 a.m.

Why don't the Newton Co Economic Development Team and the Board of Commissioners collaborate to bring some more appealing businesses to Covington. My money will continue to go to Rockdale and other surrounding areas until then. Another Dollar General, Family Dollar or McDonalds is NOT what this county needs. Where is the "SMART" Growth???

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