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IDA may seek better zoning class for Research Forest
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The Effingham Industrial Development Authority will ask for a change in zoning for its massive Research Forest Tract.

The more than 2,600 acres currently are zoned as PD, or planned development, and IDA members approved seeking a rezoning request to I-1, or industrial.

“The county has worked on zoning ordinances since then,” IDA CEO John Henry said of the tract’s existing zoning classification. “Planned development (zoning) is a tricky beast.”

Under the I-1 zoning, the IDA hopes the land will be more marketable to prospects.

“We can’t go out and market it as appropriately zoned if it’s not,” Henry said.

The IDA’s plan is to seek the I-1 zoning and eventually seek the PD-I, or planned development-industrial, zoning. Such a zoning class did not exist when the IDA purchased the property. But there are covenants and restrictions in planned development zonings.

“We don’t have a good comfort feeling that that is appropriate (zoning),” Henry said.

With a planned development zoning, Henry explained, there can be multiple zones within the property. Godley Statio