HARRIS COUNTY, GA (WTVM) - A plan to develop a portion of Harris County is getting mixed reactions from residents.
On Tuesday, County Commissioner Becky Langston explained that the county commission approved a proposal for a mixed-use development at the intersection of Interstate 185 and Highway 315 back in 2007. That plan calls for housing, retail, and a large grocery store. More recently, a neighboring property was approved for residential use.
A new petition challenges the new property, arguing that as many as 80 homes in the zone would hurt the county's "rural integrity".
The petition mentions the older mixed-use zone, known as The Grove. Petitioners suggest its proximity to the newly approved residential zone could potentially lead to traffic and crime issues, in the event more residential and retail development at The Grove. As of now, The Grove remains undeveloped.
Because The Grove, approved for mixed-use, allows for a "grocery store" – some people we spoke with speculated that there may be interest from a company like Walmart.
Not everyone is opposed to the idea. Some residents say they are all for the addition of the store in Harris County because it would save them the drive to Columbus.
"We've been going to Columbus and Lagrange all our lives. If we could get a Walmart here in Harris County, I think it would be a good idea. It would be the best thing I've heard to come to Harris County," says Floyd Williams, a Harris County resident.
Others say they are opposed to the idea because they want to keep Harris County rural. They say they live here for a certain quality of life.
"If we need a Walmart, then we can go to Columbus. I like it really small here. I don't like a whole bunch of people here," explained resident Stephen Fincher.
"It'll be nice for the people in Harris County to help them from driving so far, but then again I like it to be quiet and country, so I have mixed feelings about it," says Harris County resident, Steve Adams.
County Commission Chairman Harry Lange also told WTVM's Barbara Gauthier Monday night that The Grove was approved more than a decade ago for mixed-use, to include residential and retail, including what's described as a "large grocery store."
Lange also says that he doesn't believe there's a plan for The Grove to become home to a Walmart but says he doesn't know.
WTVM reached out to Walmart for a comment on any possible construction and we are awaiting a response.
WTVM News Leader 9 is updating this story to correct errors in fact. The mixed-use property was approved in 2007 and not 2017, as we first reported. The newly approved zone is strictly residential. WTVM regrets those errors.