Commissioners OK zoning permit for construction rental company

More than seven years have passed since former Clayton County Commission Chairman Crandle Bray last presided over the county’s governing body, but he once more found himself asking commissioners to approve a zoning change request on Monday.

Bray, who is now an attorney, recently filed a zoning petition — on behalf of Suwanee-based property owner 75 Property Investments, LP — to change the zoning for a property located at 5840 Frontage Road, in Forest Park, from general business, to light industrial. The investment company wants to bring in a heavy industrial equipment rental business to what was once the site of the Stovall Marina boat retailer.

A county zoning petition report shows the 5.7-acre location, which overlooks Interstate 75, has been zoned since 1972 for general business, with a conditional use permit for recreational vehicle sales.

“They thought it was zoned already for this [light industrial] ... but somehow it got to be general business,” Bray said. “On both sides of us, if you look at it, you’ve got a heavy equipment business. It’s just one of those pieces of property that got left out.”

The county commission unanimously approved the requested zoning change. Bray said the property owners are planning to move construction equipment rental company, Volvo Rents, into the location.

Volvo Rents is a subsidiary of Gothenburg, Sweden-based Volvo Group. It has 70 rental stores across the U.S., according to the company’s web site. The company presently has only two Georgia locations, in Acworth and Duluth, the web site shows.

Although Volvo Group shares a brand with Volvo Car Corporation, the two companies have been separate businesses since 1999, according to the Volvo Group web site. The Volvo Group deals more with construction equipment, trucks and buses.

Scott George, Volvo Rents’ general manager for Georgia, said the company is planning to move the Acworth store to the old Stovall Marina location because of its proximity to the interstate, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

“It’s a great location,” George said. “It’s a more visible location, and I feel it’s conducive to our business clientele, particularly with how it relates to the Atlanta airport, and all of the construction that is taking place around this area.”

Commissioners said little about the request, other than Commissioner Gail Hambrick making the formal motion to approve it. Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell, who succeeded Bray in the position in 2005, also briefly welcomed Volvo Rents to the county.

In other action, the commissioners voted 4-1 to approve several changes to the county’s zoning ordinance, including: Adding an “Accessory Use” category to the section pertaining to billboards; removing a 70-foot height restriction for billboards; shortening the allowed amount of space between billboards, from 1,250 feet, to 500 feet, and increasing the landscaped buffer zone, from 25 feet, to 40 feet, for properties that contain places of worship, theaters, and amphitheaters.

Commissioner Michael Edmondson voted against the ordinance changes, after he questioned whether the amendments would do anything to improve the ordinance.