Perth sets hearings on zoning laws

PERTH – The town has scheduled public hearings in anticipation of changing zoning laws to accommodate plans for a business park on the site of a former juvenile detention center.

At the Feb. 7 Town Board meeting, residents will be able to comment on a proposed local law that would create a business and technology zone on the footprint of the former Tryon campus on County Highway 107.

The public hearing is set for 7:05 p.m. at Town Hall. A second public hearing at 7:10 p.m. is scheduled for another law allowing changes to the 101-page zoning laws’ table of contents.

The public hearings are formal steps required by general municipal law before a local law can be adopted by a town. The proposed changes are the first since a 2006 law put restrictions on adult entertainment businesses.

Most of the town, including the Tryon site, is zoned agricultural-rural residential. Properties along Route 30 are in a commercial-residential district.

Town Supervisor Greg Fagan said there is little opposition to plans to convert the 515-acre campus into what would be called the Tryon Technology Park & Incubator Center.

“A few people have concerns about traffic, but when you stop to think about it, when Tryon was running full force, 300 to 400 employees were running through there each shift,” said Fagan, who noted the site plans include upgrading County Highway 107 and creating easier access to Route 29.

The detention center closed in 2011, and the state approved transferring the property to the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency in September. County officials expect to have the deed in hand by spring and could have the first businesses on the site by the end of the year.

The IDA will administer the site, after getting guidance from Perth officials, who had no interest in micromanaging each step of developing the site.

“This board really didn’t want to have to deal with that,” Fagan said. “Basically, we had the input on how it’s set up with the IDA.”

The county plans to spend about $3.14 million to redevelop the site, including $2 million from a state grant.