By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Some protest gas plan
Developer proposes 24-hour station
Placeholder Image
Forsyth County News
Adding a convenience store to a planned development seems anything but convenient for a group of nearby residents.

The 13.5-acre property on Peachtree Parkway and Old Alpharetta Road was zoned commercial in November 2007 with certain conditions, including that no gas stations would be allowed.

The property has since been sold to Old Alpharetta, LLC, which has requested to change this condition on about 2.5 acres in the eastern side of the property to allow convenience stores and gas stations that could be open 24 hours.

Commissioners heard from the two sides during a meeting April 1, though they postponed a vote for two weeks.

Kevin Tallant, attorney for the developer, said the new proposed plan for the center would actually be “less intense” commercially than what was originally proposed.

The suggested placement of the gas station meets all the minimum distance requirements, including being at least 500 feet from residential property.

“This is simply not the kind of situation where we’re trying to put a pig in a boat,” Tallant said. “We’re trying to put a pig where it belongs, which is right here with the rest of this commercially zoned property.”

Mike Swago, spokesman for Creekstone communities, said Tallant had asked what the developer could do to potentially make the addition more appealing.

“I told the attorney: ‘It doesn’t matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, it’s still a pig,’” Swago said.

During the development’s original site plan, residents were able to have some say in the look and layout of the design, he said.

This time around, the three neighboring communities — Creekstone Estates, Cottages at Creekstone and Ballnatrae — feel that original input was lost on the new developer, he said.

In this case, the residents don’t see any need for the business at all.

“Eventually, there’s going to be commercialization of the Peachtree Parkway area, but we would just like to have some say in what goes where,” Swago said. “A gas station is not our first choice.”

Neighbors of the site oppose the request for many reasons, including its proximity to several homes, the noise and light of a 24-hour station and alcohol sales taking place near a school and church.

The neighborhood group also felt there was not reason to change the original plan approved by the board.

“If these types of businesses were not permitted in November of 2007 for all the negative reasons that landed them on the list in the first place, what’s changed in the last two years that now would make these desirable businesses?” Swago asked the board.

Residents felt there was no need for another gas station, noting that several already exist in that area.

Neighbor Allen Carver said he drove the lengths of Peachtree and Windward parkways, finding that Peachtree, which is longer by 2 miles, had five times the amount of gas stations.

“If Peachtree Parkway is to develop into a beautiful gateway to Forsyth County,” Carver said, “I think we should be carefully developing it in an appropriate manner with minimum variances.”

Linda Bodnar, who would have the gas station backing up near her home, said the potential for increased crime and pollution right outside the entrance to their neighborhood was not good for the community.

“It would severely hurt the value of homes in our subdivision,” she said.

On Thursday, the commissioners postponed a decision to their next meeting on April 15, to the dismay of some residents who asked the board why.

Commissioner Brian Tam, who represents the development’s district, said “I’d rather make a motion making sure I had all the information I needed than make a motion and then find something out afterwards.”

After the meeting, Tam said this situation has occurred before during his time on the board. He likes to “slow down the process” to make sure everyone’s concerns can be heard.

“While you want people to be able to maximize the value of their property,” he said, “you can’t do so and devalue somebody else’s.”