Planning commission strikes down gas station
by Joshua Sharpe
November 20, 2013 12:06 AM | 1680 views | 1 1 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Canton Planning Commission member Richard Kemp, left, and commission Chairwoman Pat Gold listen as the gas station developer’s attorney argues his case during the meeting Monday.
<br>Staff/Joshua Sharpe
Canton Planning Commission member Richard Kemp, left, and commission Chairwoman Pat Gold listen as the gas station developer’s attorney argues his case during the meeting Monday.
Staff/Joshua Sharpe
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CANTON — Residents in the Estates at Brooke Park won another round in their fight against a Macon-based developer’s plans to build a gas station at the only entrance of their neighborhood on Highway 20.

The Canton Planning Commission voted 4-1— with Richard Kemp opposing — to shoot down Jim Rollins’ request to annex about 9 acres into the city to build a Flash Foods at the already congested entrance of the subdivision near Canton Marketplace.

The Canton City Council will have the final say on the plans during its Dec. 5 meeting, according to the city.

Before the vote Monday night, several of the approximately 75 residents of the neighborhood who turned out to show their opposition to the gas station spoke before the planning commission and urged that Rollins’ plans be denied. Their concerns, such as traffic, pollution, noise and lighting, were the same as the ones they raised in June before the Cherokee Planning Commission voted against Rollins’ plans for the gas station.

Resident Stan Hathcock told the commission Monday night he and his neighbors had been fighting for years to keep the same land from being developed with a high-traffic use like a gas station, and they feel enough is enough.

“Don’t kick the can down the road,” Hathcock said firmly to the city commission. “Simply deny.”

In Brooke Park’s latest push to keep the land from being developed in a way that would encroach on the neighborhood, Hathcock said they have had a troubled relationship with Rollins.

“The first public meeting that we had was held in Acworth,” Hathcock said of the meeting about 20 miles away from Brooke Park. “That’s the kind of lack of good faith that we have experienced.”

Members of the planning commission seemed to agree that the Flash Foods could have a negative impact on the neighborhood and Highway 20, especially in terms of traffic.

“The city of Canton made an awful lot of blunders in the rezoning of Canton Marketplace,” said commission member Bill Magruder. “I would certainly not be in favor of anything else that’s going to affect the traffic in that area.”

Commission Chairwoman Pat Gold also expressed concern about illegal U-turns drivers might be inclined to make into the gas station if the Georgia Department of Transportation installs a median in front of the store as part of its project to widen Highway 20.

Even Kemp, the lone member of the commission to vote against denying Rollins’ request for annexation, said he had concerns about rezoning the land to allow a gas station. Rollins had two requests before the commission Monday night, one to annex the land into Canton and one to rezone it to allow a gas station. The commission did not vote on rezoning, since annexation was denied.

Rollins’ attorney, Benson Chambers, argued a gas station would be consistent with the development already in the area of Canton Marketplace and on this stretch of Highway 20. He added the developer was willing to only use about 3 acres of the land and leave the other 6 untouched for conservation.

As Chambers stood before the crowd full of concerned residents, he told the planning commission that he was well aware of the people who were against the gas station.

“Obviously, this case has opposition and it’s had opposition for quite some time,” Chambers said. “I would ask, and hope, that you would, look at this not only as an opposed case, but also a case of opportunity.”

Chambers said the neighborhood would have the same concerns about some types of development already approved under the current zoning on the land, which would include restaurants, shops and even a convenience store without gas.

Rollins also thinks the Estates at Brooke Park wouldn’t like some of the things he could do with the property.

After the planning commission voted against his plans Monday night, Rollins said he had no plans to back off developing the property, although Brooke Park might not enjoy what ends up there.

“We have a lot of interest in the property, that’s not the issue,” he said. “The things can go there, they ain’t going to like. There are a lot of residential uses that would be offensive to them, and I told them that.”

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Buster Boy
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December 02, 2013
It will be developed with something else.
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