When Newton County officials pursued the Almon Overlay, they envisioned a more modern, aesthetically-pleasing commercial corridor.
The renovated McDonald’s at the corner of Crowell and Access roads was one of the first projects to fall under the county’s new guidelines, and officials are pleased with the new look.
"Staff, owners and contractors were able to work through the standards and achieve a finished product that is a vast change from what was there," Zoning Administrator Judy Johnson said in a November email. "It shows how not only new development, but (also) redevelopment can enhance an area."
The McDonald’s is in the zoning overlay’s Tier Two, non-residential mixed use area.
One of the main regulations of the overlay is placing higher standards on exterior walls, including requiring at least 70 percent of exterior walls to be brick, tile, stone, textured traditional cement stucco, architectural concrete masonry or other similar options.
The Almon Overlay covers residential and commercial areas along parts of Brown Bridge, Crowell, Access, Almon and Almon Church roads.
The county has also passed a special zoning overlay along the Salem Road corridor and is currently working on installing one in the Brick Store community, a historic community around the Brick Store, the county’s first courthouse, which is located on U.S. Highway 278 just west of the Old Social Circle Road intersection.