Several dozen Flowery Branch residents were present at Thursday's Flowery Branch City Council meeting to voice opposition over a planned gas station at the corner of Gaines Ferry Road and McEver Road.
The piece of property the gas station is expected to be built on is near the Four Seasons on Lanier subdivision. Many of those in opposition at Thursday's meeting were Four Seasons residents.
The property is already zoned for highway business, meaning a gas station can be built without a rezoning request. The applicant, McEver Site, LLC., is seeking a variance request to allow gas pumps to be placed in front of the associated convenience store. Currently, the Flowery Branch Zoning Ordinance requires gas pumps to be located behind the structure in order to hide them from the street.
Steven Jones with Taylor English Duma LLP spoke on behalf of the applicant, stating that the request was being made due to a hardship factor.
"Laying the site out in compliance with the ordinance creates a hardship," Jones said. "And that is, a delivery truck cannot deliver fuels to the site without passing underneath the canopy, which is prohibited by our suppliers. Or, cutting through one of the required parking spaces required by the ordinance."
While the city council is dealing specifically with the location of the gas pumps with the variance request, attending residents were in opposition of the gas station in its entirety.
"If the hardship that the applicant is maintaining is because they can't get their fuel trucks, well, maybe that means this site isn't the appropriate site for a gasoline station," attorney Ralph Taylor said during public comment on behalf of his client, the Four Seasons Homeowners Association.
Taylor was the first of many who spoke in opposition during the public comment period.
Dick Wilson, a retired lawyer, and resident of Four Seasons said his biggest concern is the traffic associated with a gas station.
"This intersection ... is dangerous, it didn't take me a month to figure out driving through there that it is dangerous," Wilson said. "It's not adequate for the traffic that goes through there. We don't have left turn lanes, we don't have right turn lanes."
Four Seasons resident Mary Willis voiced opposition to the gas station over health concerns about runoff from the development which could run into the neighborhood's public pool.
Jones offered a rebuttal to the concerned residents, where he claimed the matter in question was in relation to the location of the gas pumps and not whether the gas station can be built.
"We're talking about the variance and the variance factors, and really the vast majority, if not all of the comments that you heard tonight relate to the use component," Jones said.
A first vote on the variance request will be held at the Flowery Branch City Council meeting on Feb. 17, 2022.
While public comment on the variance request took up the majority of the Flowery Branch City Council meeting Thursday, the council also voted to approve a rezoning request to allow for a large residential project on Mulberry Street.
The development will include 180 single-family homes and 140 townhomes.