A concept plan for a gas station, convenience store and fast food drive-through at Hammond’s Crossing cleared a step Tuesday with a recommendation of approval from Forsyth County’s planning board.
The board voted 5-0 in favor of a rezoning from neighborhood shopping to commercial business district for about 2.7 acres on the northwest corner of the intersection of Hwys. 306 and 369.
Attorney Kevin Tallant, who represented applicant Allen Hammond, said the current zoning allows for a convenience store, but the change was requested to allow for a drive-through option.
Tallant said they would agree to dedicate right of way needed for future traffic improvements to address concerns of congestion at the state crossing.
He also borrowed a zoning condition that dictated exterior materials from the nearby Walgreens and Publix-anchored shopping center to create a similar aesthetic.
However, Tallant said no condition could address the concern from area convenience stores that the proposed use would create competition.
Adjacent property owner Kirk McConnell had conflicting feelings about the rezoning.
McConnell owns the shopping center to the west of the Hammond property, and the Donut Connection in it. He’s also a small residential and commercial developer.
“I could get up here and speak in opposition to Allen’s proposed development because they’re talking about putting a Dunkin Donuts in 30 yards from me,” McConnell said. “Of course, it’s going to be a huge competitor to my restaurant, and it’ll probably put me out of business.
“But my main concern is my strip center I own. I think it’s going to raise the value of my property if he develops his.”
McConnell stressed that traffic in the area backs up onto Ga. 400, and the problems will only get worse with new development if nothing is done on the state roads.
Convenience store owner Chuck Patel, whose Chevron is catty-corner to the Hammond site, agreed that traffic is the most important issue.
“I’m not opposing it because he can do what he wants,” Patel said. “But a traffic study has to be done because it’s a nightmare over there.
“We’re already losing 20 to 30 percent of business just because people can’t stop in because traffic is always backed up.”
The concept plan shows entrances on both Keith Bridge and Browns Bridge roads, a 4,000-square-foot convenience store, gas station and 18 parking spaces.