Georgia-Pacific has withdrawn plans for a warehouse in Lawrence and will look for another location in Green Bay.
According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, Lawrence Administrator Patrick Wetzel said the company’s decision to move away was confirmed on Wednesday, just hours before the city received a public hearing on the paper-products manufacturer’s request to rezone 90 acres of farmland for industrial use.
The paper company planned to combine multiple facilities into one location, but the proposed site near Hemlock Creek Elementary School drew opposition from neighbors.
Mike Kawleski, Georgia-Pacific’s public affairs manager, said the withdrawal does not change the fact that Georgia-Pacific needs to find space to build a 1.1 million square foot distribution center. Now, the company’s distribution operations are spread across five warehouses in the Green Bay area.
“We really value mutually beneficial relationships with communities where our facilities are located,” Kawleski said. “Georgia-Pacific made significant changes to the plans to address the specific concerns from the community, but it became clear this was not the site.”
“We still hope to acquire a site in the greater Green Bay area that is suitable for constructing the warehouse, which is essential to the success of our manufacturing operations,” he completes.
According to Fox News, the Georgia-Pacific’s public affairs cited two reasons for this:
“Rezoning is the first necessary step for the project to begin. At its October 7 meeting, the Town of Lawrence Planning and Zoning Board recommended that the Town Board does not rezone the property. Though this recommendation is advisory to the Town Board and not binding, it created uncertainty about the property being rezoned,” and “Because we value mutually beneficial relationships with the communities in which our facilities are located, Georgia-Pacific made significant changes to the proposed warehouse plan to specifically address concerns expressed by the community. However, after several public hearings, plus meetings with potential neighbors, it is apparent that there is still considerable opposition to the project, even though there is also substantial support.”
The company currently leases several sites, but wants to own a single facility.
Also according to the Green Bay Press Gazette, Wetzel called Georgia-Pacific’s withdrawal of the request a “missed opportunity” which would have seen a boost in property tax revenue from the $ 50 million project. However, he also saw a positive aspect to the town’s review of Georgia-Pacific’s request, and the strong reaction from nearby residents. He said it kick-started discussions about updating the town’s comprehensive plan, the big-picture document designed to guide further growth and development in the town.