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Toyota/Scion dealership near Cumming clears planning board
dealerships
The Toyota/Scion dealership proposed for Hwy. 20 would be east of the Lou Sobh Honda and Kia dealerships.

EAST FORSYTH — Amid community concern voiced during a public hearing Tuesday night, a plan to bring a fourth car dealership to a stretch of Highway 20 east of Cumming was given approval by Forsyth County’s planning board.

Wayne Reece of Beaver Toyota touted the proposed Toyota/Scion dealership as a modern automotive sales and service establishment.

He said the plan by Southeast Toyota Distributors and Beaver Toyota, represented by affiliate BC Real Estate Holdings LLC, calls for an 81,100-square-foot facility at Buford Highway and Echols Road. There would be 1,098 parking spaces, a collision center and car wash.

The rezoning request would set aside 26 percent of the 26.5 acres for open space. Twenty percent is the minimum required for a highway business district, or HB. Most of the property, which includes four parcels, is currently zoned as agricultural, or A1.

If approved by the county commission — the application is set to be heard March 19 — the dealership would join three others along that corridor.

Lou Sobh Honda opened in late 2013 at Hwy. 20 and Sanders Road, and a Lou Sobh Kia is under construction next to it. An 8-acre tract nearby was rezoned in October for a Q Automotive dealership.

As proposed, the Toyota/Scion dealership would be the largest of the four. The Honda center is 50,000 square feet and houses about 500 vehicles on site.

Discussion about the plan has focused on Echols Road traffic, the creation of a four-way traffic light and safety of two nearby schools and a park.

The board determined that Holly Court could be connected to Echols from the south to create an intersection at Buford Highway.

From there, test drivers would be required to either make a U-turn on Buford to re-enter the dealership or make a left onto Echols for a left turn into the side of the parking lot.

Absent from the discussion was District 3 member Greg Dolezal, while District 4’s Alan Neal was recused because his company would provide services to the dealership if the rezoning is approved. The board’s vote was 3-0 in favor.

Echols is a concern for traffic, with school buses traveling to and from Haw Creek Elementary and Lakeside Middle schools. In addition, Haw Creek Park borders the Toyota site to the northeast, with its entrance also on Echols.

The situation worries residents, at least five of whom spoke Tuesday. Most of their statements noted they were not against the dealership, just the location.

“We don’t object to growth, but it would be better in other places,” said Kimber Williams, a resident of the Princeton Square subdivision.

She said her online petition against the proposal has received a few hundred signatures.

Another resident mentioned the Chattahoochee River Club also exits onto Echols Road.

Toyota’s Reece countered that peak hours for on-site business are usually about 5 p.m., which is after elementary and middle schools let out.