County Residents Eager to Learn More about the Rivian Megadeal Factory Project

Since the expansion plans were announced, residents have expressed concerns over traffic, inconsistencies with future land use plans and a lack of communication.
Source: Rivian Website

Last month, at a press conference hosted by Governor Kemp at the State Capital, Rivian announced plans to employ 7,500 workers in a new electric adventure vehicle factory built within the Stanton Springs North Business Park. According to the State of Georgia website, the 2000 acre site was formally known as the East Atlanta Megasite, and is represented by the Joint Development Authority (JDA) of Jasper, Morgan, Newton, and Walton Counties.

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In a press release generated by Rivian, the company plans to expand its manufacturing operations and locate its second U.S. plant just east of Atlanta. The project represents a $5-billion site development and manufacturing investment in Georgia. Rivian further explained the site considerations that led them to the JDA property which included logistics, environmental impact, renewable energy production, availability and quality of talent, and fit with Rivian company culture.

“We’re happy to partner with Georgia on our new site, which will build our next generation of products that are important for scaling our business. Our work together is driven by a compelling purpose and rooted in building a highly collaborative environment that creates a true sense of belonging. We’re excited for Georgians to bring their creativity and ideas to Rivian. We’re confident that, alongside Illinois, Georgia is the place for Rivian to continue to scale and thrive,” said Rivian Chief People Officer Helen Russell.

According to the Rivian website, the Company and the State of Georgia are planning town hall events near the manufacturing site so that area residents can learn more about the company and the site plan. However, dates for the anticipated meetings have not been published.

During these meetings, officials will likely hear residents who support the project and those concerned about the short and long-term ramifications of the new carbon-conscious campus in Morgan and Walton Counties.

One resident, JoEllen Artz, who lives within one mile of the proposed campus, felt that officials have not been transparent on the process and plans for the campus. “There were no public meetings about the purchase or sale of the land nor about a potential factory in what Morgan County considers rural agricultural land in its Comprehensive Land Use Plan that runs until 2035,” Artz commented in an email correspondence dated December 22, 2021, to What Now Atlanta. Artz’s other concerns include property devaluation and an increase in significant traffic in an area where the roads are already overcapacity. “Our roads are already a mess, and we have trouble at the present time pulling out from side streets to main roads,” Artz further commented.

Once fully operational, the Georgia facility will produce up to 400,000 vehicles per year. Construction on the facility is expected to begin in summer 2022, and production is slated for 2024.

What Now Atlanta requested, with no response to date, information from the JDA, which included what future land use approvals and required public hearings are needed to move this project to the anticipated summer construction schedule. This article will be updated to reflect the new facts if the JDA responds to What Now Atlanta.

Dr. Anita Archambeau

Dr. Anita Archambeau

Anita Archambeau, DPA AICP, is a freelance writer, adjunct professor, and consulting urban planner. She has over 25 years of community and economic development experience in local government. When she’s not working, you can find her exploring local craft breweries, walking her two beagles, or traveling to visit her adult children living in New York City and Minneapolis.
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