City Council says no to RaceTrac
by Jon Gillooly
June 14, 2012 01:10 AM | 4031 views | 19 19 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — A collective cheer rang out as the City Council denied a requested zoning change that would allow construction of a 24-hour RaceTrac gas station off Powder Springs Street by County Services Road.

The council denied the request in a 5-1 vote, with Councilman Philip Goldstein opposing.

Ron Ridgeway, a grandfather of three who lives in the 85-home Elizabeth Acres subdivision adjacent to the property in question, applauded the Council.

“We’re just ecstatic,” Ridgeway said after the vote. “We can’t believe it. We’re so happy we don’t know what to do. I owe the city board a definite apology for saying they don’t care, because they have shown they do care.”

The Council has debated the proposal to change the property’s zoning status from residential to commercial for months.

RaceTrac has sought to build a 24-hour gas station in the nine-acre property, which it has under contract from the estate of John Melvin Clark.

Attorney Kevin Moore, representing RaceTrac, offered to keep the back four acres as green space to serve as a buffer between the gas station and homeowners.

But attorney Richard Calhoun, representing the homeowners, said that agreement wouldn’t be binding and the homeowners still didn’t want a gas station so close to their homes.

Councilman Johnny Sinclair led the charge to deny the request.

“Every time I make a decision about a zoning, I want to think to myself ‘would I want to live next door to this’ first, and second, ‘is it good for the whole community?’” Sinclair said after the vote. “I applaud them for trying to make it good for the community, but it’s just not.”

Goldstein said he voted against rejecting the zoning request because he “wanted to have a discussion and see if there was a way to find something that worked.”

Moore declined to comment after the vote.

In other business, the Council unanimously voted to rename Hickory Hills Park after Mayor Steve Tumlin’s late parents. The park is now the Steve and Virginia Tumlin Park at Hickory Hills.

The Council also appointed former councilmember Betty Hunter to a two-year term on the city’s Ethics Committee.

Councilman Grif Chalfant was appointed to a four-year term on the Cobb-Marietta Water Authority. Goldstein abstained on this vote. Chalfant is replacing former Councilman Van Pearlberg, who resigned to run for a seat on the Cobb Superior Court.

And Susan Grant was reappointed to a five-year term on the city’s Construction Board of Adjustment and Appeals.

The City Council also hired a firm to audit Marietta’s finances for Fiscal Year 2012, which ends June 30.

The city received two bids to conduct the audit: One from Marietta-based Mauldin & Jenkins, which bid $64,400, and another from Crace Galvis McGrath of Kennesaw for $67,200.

Sam Lady, the city’s finance director, recommended going with Crace Galvis McGrath, the more expensive bid, because that firm proposed spending more time on the audit and employs accountants who have done work with the city before.

But Tumlin said he would prefer to bring a new set of eyes to the city. Moreover, Tumlin said making such decisions should be left to the Council, not the staff. Council therefore ended up approving the contract with Mauldin & Jenkins.

The Council also approved a contract with the Metro Atlanta YMCA that runs through Dec. 31, 2013, which is when the term of Council expires, to run Custer Park, a seven-acre park located between North Marietta Parkway and Allgood Road on Kenneth Marcus Way.

The park formerly consisted of three worn-out baseball fields and a dilapidated concessions and restroom building, parks director Rich Buss said. The 2009 parks bond earmarked $1.8 million for its renovation, which Buss said is under way and should be finished in September.

Under the contract, the YMCA will bear all the costs of maintaining the park and running programs there. Buss said it intends to offer youth soccer programs, with plans to make the facility available for an adult soccer league, summer camps and soccer tournaments as well. Preferred pricing will be given to city residents for all programs, with the programs made available to anyone regardless of their ability to pay, Buss said.

The Council also approved a variance request for a proposed bank being built at the intersection of Roswell Street and Cobb Parkway across the street from the Big Chicken.

Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank is under contract for the vacant 1.7-acre site by the Mansour Center that used to be a car lot owned by Ray Boyd. The company intends to build a 3,200-square-foot brick bank building at that corner.

The bank would also like to sell part of the property for another business to build a new building, possibly a restaurant.

Council approved a variance to allow the bank to build its building farther back from the street than is allowed in the special zoning district in which the property is located. A variance from the sign ordinance that would allow both proposed businesses developed at the site to be listed on signs fronting Roswell and Cobb Parkway was also approved.
Comments
(19)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Do the math
|
June 15, 2012


The tax value on the property was only $38K an acre. Obviously a Residential tax rate. Does anybody think they were selling it to an oil company at that price?

I DID THE MATH
|
June 18, 2012
$38K an acre times 9 comes up to $342K.Just to sit there& pay taxes& ins.Thats 5 houses on Wilburn dr &3 on Murrary cir.& it is residential so why would the Clarks want to pay commercial tax. Any fool that did that cannot do the math.Watch what you wish for.
Get It Straight
|
June 15, 2012
For those of you who DON'T know, J. M. Clark has been deceased for years now. All of the neighbors who faught against the Racetrac must not understand the importance of progress in the community. With that land there vacant, it still requires property tax to be paid yearly along with upkeep expenses from the family. Just think about taxes on your half acre lots in the subdivision(which were built by the Clark's as well) as apposed to his nine acre lot. Maybe you guys should make donations to go towards the expenses to keep the property vacant since you don't want it to reach it's potential commercially!! Oh and by the way, about the 24hr issue, Waffle House is directly across the street and WE ALL now it is a 24HR a day business!! If anything is going to attract people from the local jail there it is!!
Okay city
|
June 15, 2012
@ RaceTrac commentor. James Clark has been dead and in his grave for awhile and was a business owner back down the Powder Springs Road toward Marietta; Clak's Ice House. He lived on the hill where the house is and dug out the dirt to sell. He was in the county then and the subdivison was built behind his property long ago; he may have sold the property to the developers who built it. I know the subdivison has been there since the 1980s.
MustHaveProgress
|
June 15, 2012
It appears that the age of the population of the subdivision opposing the Race Trac are in that declining bracket that obviously doesn't understand the necessity of progress. West Cobb is no longer the rural area of yesterday. Unless the city wants to see even more of its business migrating further west toward Dallas Highway, keep Powder Springs the eyesore it currently is. Then when you want to sell your homes see what the lack of progress will get you..

okay city
|
June 14, 2012
I see a law suit coming from RaceTrac pushed by Moore and they will win. Why oppose a service station when right across the street is a 24 hour Waffle House and a couple of Bail Bond businesses open for 24 hour business. Theere is a house James Clark lived in on top of the hill and a big dug out hole where dirt was sold. It is grown up with weeds and other junk. Why would you want this at the entrance of your subdivision. Not pretty. Go visit the new RaceTracs around the City of Marietta and Cobb County. Powder Springs Road is mostly businesses all the way from the East Loop to County Service Parkway. Cobb Ounty rescued the city when they bought the shopping center on both Whitlock Ave and Powder Springs Road and remodeled them.
mk - absolute power
|
June 14, 2012
You know why Decatur's so pretty,.. and LIVABLE, and WALKABLE?

Because you don't see large commercial development destroying quality of life!

These huge gas stations have a place,.. and that is along highways ,... in commercial zoned areas!

PLEASE, you people,... try to think smarter and plan better for the future!

Its really sad to see how few walkable and vibrant neighborhoods there are in Cobb! The quality of life has been sild to the highest bidder!
Racetract
|
June 14, 2012
Hail Hail urban decay and sprawl Ya'all!!!

It is up to James Clark to keep that land up.

What better way to pamper his 37th District rep and real estate agent buddy Terry Johnson then to let the land decompose. How about an uncitely assistance home, better yet that pesky green space that all us folks suffering from designs on a better quality of life would prefer?

You really dont have any trouble getting out of your subdivision in the morning do you?
Okay how?
|
June 14, 2012
The city would win that one in a heartbeat. The land use plan specified residential, and the owners never tried to sell the property for anything but commercial.

anonymous
|
June 14, 2012
I guess weeds and a for sale sign is a lot better than have a stone front store and a spur of growth for the city. Way to keep Powder Springs St. clean Marietta. Where were you guys 25 years ago. This street has so much potential, only in the hands of vision I suppose.
Earl61
|
June 14, 2012
There's good zoning, and there's bad zoning.

This one was the pig in the parlor.

The city did the right thing and followed its land use plan.

truth hurts
|
June 14, 2012
Awesome, lets prevent growth and prosperity as much as we can!
jvr
|
June 14, 2012
Foot traffic all day and night, glaring lights, gasoline spills and 24 hour beer sales are not growth and prosperity. It's not your neighborhood, obviously.
Racetract
|
June 14, 2012
There are Six GAS STATIONS in a one mile radius. Dont comment on things you dont know about.

Check what is on your council's docket-

Racetrac is coming for you next.
mk-rest peace smyrna
|
June 14, 2012
Congrats to the homeowners who fought this commercial intrusion! Kudoos to Marietta council.

Votes such as this show how truely corrupt the city of Smyrna is. Smyrna APPROVED a Race Trac mega gas station last year right at the entrance to Smyrnas residential neighborhoods. The neighborhoods came out in protest and begged to be heard,.. but no doing. City of Smyrna will never care about its citizens,... guess why it looks like a complete cess pool here in 2012,... no resturants, shops or quality businesses coming to Smyrna.

Race Tracks instead of old oak trees,.. that is Smyrnas mantra!
Cobb Native.
|
June 14, 2012
And you call the rundown shopping center and daycare building that it takes the place of better?

What about the two low rent apartments nearby? Anything is better than what is there now. The shops across the street are a start but many have already come and left. I agree that some of the Smyrna city council may need to be replaced but you need to exercise your right to vote for this to occur. Local matters affect your day to day life more than national ones. VOTE and it may happen.
Cobb Native
|
June 14, 2012
Sorry, talking about the Smyrna issue above and not the Marietta one. Kudos to Marietta on this one.
Seriously Warped
|
June 14, 2012
Mary, Mary, why you buggin'?

You could more easily say the property of the Race Trac currently being built in Smyrna is on the edge of the Cumberland business district rather than the entrance to Smyrna's residential neighborhoods.

There are several great moving companies in the area and real estate agents ready to help with your transition whenever you are ready.
mk - absolute power
|
June 14, 2012
Cobb native & seriously warped- me thinks you are the mayors little downtown development puppet, that does his dirty cyber bullying, since he isn't man enough to face cities problems on his own..

To answer your question,.. no I don't think a Race Trac belongs there!! I think that whole section of Smyrna should be lofts, highrises and first class dining and entertainment area. A Race Trac will ensure Smyrna stays as low rent as its always been!.

Anyway, its clear that no one in Smyrna is smart enough to understand the difference between good development,.. and just plain development. There has been ZERO interest in raising standards in Smyrna. Its a very uninvolved citizenry, that just don't get the importance of holding politicians accountable. The crew we have here has been pocketing the money for long enough. Its time to wake up and empower yorselves, Smyrna people.

iF NOT,.. WE WILL FOREVER BE THE PLACE NOONE COMES TO FOR ANY REASON, EXCEPT TO DRIVE THROUGH.

sMYRNA HOUSES THE ILLEGAL POPULATION, THAT IS BUSY TEARING DOWN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS, WHILE BUILDING NESTEGGS FOR SANDY SPRINGS, VININGS AND BUCKHEAD RESIDENTS.

Smyrna's logo should be-- "keepin' it poor'!!
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides