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Publix considering Covington location
Super market looks for more residents before confirming second local location
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COVINGTON, Ga. – Publix Super Markets is considering its second Newton County location in the ongoing Covington Town Center project on Alcovy Road if a residential aspect is added to the project.

The Covington News confirmed the grocery store’s interest in the area with representatives from the Covington/Newton County Economic Development office after the name was dropped during the Covington City Council's work session Monday evening.

The council was reviewing proposed changes to the overlay zoning district for CTC when questions were raised about one of the amendments. The amendment read as follows:

“To ensure a balance of mixed uses and adequate phasing of the development, there shall be at least two land disturbance activity permits for non-residential uses issued prior to the issuance of a land disturbance activity permit for residential use.”

Councilwoman Susie Keck said she had an issue with specifying what portion of the project happened first.

“I’m just going to say, I don’t care which comes first: the chicken or the egg, but we need to let something come out there,” she said. “If they want to do it before the commercial part, it is only going to help bring the commercial part. That’s my thought.”

“I think when a business comes in, I think they look for people to some extent,” Councilman Anthony Henderson said.

Another amendment to the zoning district adds residential development standards, which limits the number of residential units within the entire CTC project to 350.

Mayor Ronnie Johnston said he felt the cap on units was enough to guarantee the mixed-use within the development.

“I am not basing this on any conversation I've had with the developer, I'm basing it on the fact that I think that's a government overreach, period," he said. "I think the 350 caps how many residents and I just want to make that clear. 

"I think that's enough."

City Attorney Frank Turner said the change also designates the specific area where residential properties can be constructed on the property.

Publix is looking at the demographics and rooftop numbers within a close proximity to the proposed building site, Jeff Halliburton, of CTC engineering company Thomas & Hutton, said.

“That’s a big part of them pulling the trigger and saying ‘Yes, I want to be there,’” he said.

“Publix has already told Harry Kitchens that he needs density, so hopefully Publix will sign the dotted line and it’ll all be going,” Keck said.

The first reading of the text amendment to the overlay district was approved unanimously by the council after the language specifying commercial development is required before residential development was removed. The amendment will go before the council for a second reading and final approval at its Aug. 6 meeting. 

Publix currently has one location in Newton County at 13015 Brown Bridge Road, near Salem Road.