ROSWELL, Ga. — The Roswell City Council was in rare agreement Nov. 12, unanimously denying a rezoning request that would add a RaceTrac on Hospital Boulevard.
The applicant sought to rezone a portion of 2500 Hospital Boulevard in order to increase the size of a neighboring lot for a new RaceTrac gas station and convenience store.
The neighboring lot, 11515 Ga. 9, is currently zoned highway commercial, which allows for gas stations. RaceTrac representatives, however, said they wanted to expand the lot to push the current driveway farther away from the current intersection, which would require the rezoning of a portion of the Hospital Boulevard property, a vacant part of the WellStar North Fulton Hospital campus.
“This is a very minor request to move a division line between two zoning districts to a more logical location to allow the development of a convenience store,” said attorney Parks F. Huff, who represented RaceTrac for the application.
Staff recommended approval with a handful of conditions.
Residents and City Council members, however, disagreed.
The site of the proposed RaceTrac gas station is located next to Roswell Fire & Rescue Station Number 5. The proximity of the gas station to a fire station was the main concern for several residents in attendance.
Several people who work and live in the area said the gas station would be convenient, but the potential for disaster outweighed the good it would provide.
Traffic and safety were other concerns they cited.
Increased traffic from the gas station might block people trying to access the hospital in case of an emergency, said Philip Mansell, who lives nearby.
Others said traffic could potential block or delay emergency responders from both the hospital and fire station.
Fire Chief Ricky Burnette said he met with RaceTrac representatives a few months ago to discuss and iron out concerns from the fire department.
“Our decision tonight isn’t about whether a gas station should go here or not,” said Councilman Matthew Tyser. “Our decision here tonight is to decide whether we should change the zoning… In order to that, from my standpoint, I need to see a compelling reason why it needs to change. I’ve been listening to hear that compelling reason, which I’ve yet to hear.”
He added that the only reasoning he heard was so the gas station could have two extra bays, which he did not find compelling.
A gas station can be built, by right, at 11515 Ga. 9 without having to go before the City Council, according to Planning and Zoning Director Jackie Deibel. It’s the rezoning of 2500 Hospital Boulevard that must have City Council approval.
With the additional space from Hospital Boulevard, the RaceTrac could add about two additional bays, she said, and RaceTrac was made aware of the rezoning requirements earlier in the year.
Councilman Mike Palermo said he has a responsibility to not only uphold the zoning code but to protect the health and welfare of citizens before he motioned to deny the application.
The unanimous decision to deny was met with applause from residents at the meeting.