‘Mega-QT’ opposed by residents in Kennesaw
by Rachel Gray
April 02, 2014 04:00 AM | 9397 views | 14 14 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
download ‘Mega-QT’ opposed by residents in Kennesaw
KENNESAW — A large QuikTrip gas station proposed for a vacant corner has north Cobb residents insisting the store would not be convenient, but cumbersome to the already congested intersection.

Last month, 22 residents urged the Cobb Planning Commission to stop a giant convenience store from being built near Interstate 75, on the northwest intersection of Wade Green and Hickory Grove roads.

That hearing dispelled rumors the QuikTrip was a truck stop, which residents feared based on site plans showing 59 parking spaces and nine fueling stations with 18 pumps total.

Richard Calhoun, of the Marietta-based Gregory Doyle’s Real Estate law firm, said the new QuikTrip location would be a 5,700-square-foot “generation three store.” Designs for the previous generation of QuikTrip stores were closer to 3,600 square feet.

The extra space is for an extended food menu, with made-to-order pizza and breakfast sandwiches, as well as a barista serving coffee and ice cream.

The plans involve tearing down three residential homes and two abandoned convenience stores over a 2.4-acre tract of land.

At Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting, Calhoun emphasized the only reason the plan was brought to the board for approval was a small change to the zoning from neighborhood retail and residential to community commercial.

Even if the property stayed in the original categories, Calhoun said the vehicle-related commercial use with a convenience store would fit the zoning parameters.

The only reason for the change to community retail commercial is because that category allows for above-ground water retention for drainage, Calhoun said. The neighborhood and residential categories only allow for below-ground water storage.

A traffic nightmare?

Opponents of the proposed QuikTrip say the amount of pumps and parking spaces shows the development far exceeds a neighborhood use, which is how the corner should be zoned.

Last month, 22 people came in opposition to the zoning case. On Tuesday, eight people were in opposition, but the group selected Clark LaFontaine of Acworth, who has worked as a project manager for consulting firms, to speak for them.

LaFontaine appeared before the board with several images projected for the audience to view Tuesday morning, including photographs of zoning signs lying on the ground at the site.

North of the proposed QuikTrip site are three major subdivisions with 120 homes filled by commuters who must use Hickory Grove Place to reach arterial roads leading north to Highway 92 and west to I-75.

Hickory Grove Place ends on both sides with stop signs, not stoplights.

Adding the QuikTrip may not attract more drivers as a destination, but it will be “a generator of congested traffic,” LaFontaine said.

He said the concern is not just the amount of traffic, but the “interaction” of traffic.

To address these concerns, Calhoun said the developer met with residents, including Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, who represents the area and was in the audience at Tuesday’s meeting.

Over the past month, Calhoun drafted a new stipulation letter and site plan to make changes to the flow of traffic in and out of the parking lot.

For instance, instead of having three access points at the back of the QuikTrip off Hickory Grove Place, there will now only be one entrance directly across from Cindy Lane.

That would mean customers will enter into the commercial shopping area to the north and drive through the shared parking lot to reach the gas station.

There will be no left turns into the QuikTrip parking lot from Wade Green Road going north and only right turn in and right turn out going west on Hickory Grove Road.

Planning Commission still undecided

Planning Commissioner Christi Trombetti, who represents the area, was absent from Tuesday’s meeting. Planning Commissioner Judy Williams, who said she also attended the “well organized” meetings with the developer and residents, took the lead in discussing the decision by the board.

“I think we have come a long way,” Williams said.

Last month, Trombetti said she was not concerned about the increased traffic, calling the intersection a pass-through area, not a destination. Instead she highlighted the two current blighted commercial buildings that would be replaced with a new state-of-the-art convenience store.

Calhoun agreed at Tuesday’s meeting about cleaning up the eyesores.

“We are eliminating two worn-out, vacant gas stations,” he said.

Dereck Maze, who owns a BP gas station across Hickory Grove Drive from the proposed site, said there are two other gas stations less than 2 miles away.

The competition is why the gas stations at that corner failed in the first place, Maze said.

Williams said the amount of nearby convenience stores is not a consideration in this case.

“It is free enterprise. It is a free market,” Williams said.

Last month, Patrick Donner, a project manager for QuikTrip, told the Planning Commission, “in all reality, gasoline, tobacco and alcohol industries are dying,” so many QuikTrips will now have a full-service kitchen area but no inside dining.

No other ideas for developing the vacant site were suggested at Tuesday’s meeting, although critics to the plan have mentioned wanting a sit down restaurant in that location.

The updated site plan and stipulation letter was given to the Planning Commission members Monday, with the developer and residents meeting up until the last minute. Chairman Mike Terry said the updates had too much information to reevaluate the plan so quickly.

The Planning Commission voted 4-0, with Trombetti absent, to hold any action for 30 more days.

Also, next week the Cobb County Department of Transportation will conduct a new traffic study of the intersection, once spring break in Cobb has ended.

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Katy McCormick
April 27, 2014
I work at the salon that is in the shopping strip next to where QT is supposed go. I and every one in yhe shopping strip wants and welcomes QT! The Dunkin Donuts it going to move down to the other end by yhe salon and be able to have a nice patio seeting area. It will ad more foot traffic and walk-ins. That is good for everyone! The area needs this to happen! The residents that are complaining need to stop! If QT does not get to go in, we all do not get the well needed and deserved makeover to our businesses. Both of those gas stations have made the whole area look really bad! This will bring in jobs and commerce that the area needs! Please let QT build the new store! The traffic will work itself out!
Other than
April 02, 2014
Other than Hickory Grove place has been a commercial access street for decades.

There are 2 businesses and a shopping center with driveways onto Hickory Grove Place, and all of these driveways are close to Wade Green, not to the Hickory Grove end where the subdivisions are.

Say What?
April 03, 2014
Great point! A closed gas station, a hair salon, a cleaners and a Dunkin Donuts. Traffic is absolutely horrendous from these extremely high traffic businesses. Give me a break!! Oh and the two houses that are commercial, man they bring in the business. Probably seen 3 cars in the last 4 years there. Probably why they are selling out. The land is much for valuable then their business.

Please go back to your home and rest instead of trying to teach the residents that will live directly behind the proposed QT a lesson.
Common sense
April 02, 2014
Wade Green , Hickory Grove and Wooten Lake are all major traffic routes. Where else do you put convenience stores besides intersections like this?

You wouldn't put one out away from the intersection and closer to the subdivisions where the neighbors live would you?

The convenience stores QT is replacing weren't a problem at this intersection. Why would a single store at the same location be a problem?

Be Careful
April 02, 2014
The described location is NOT in the city of Kennesaw. Very misleading headline.

That corner is in unincorporated Cobb County.
Say what??
April 02, 2014
They are replacing 2 vacant convenience stores, and the neighbors have a problem with this?

That corner has been a dilapidated mess for years and years. It's great that QT is willing to build there.

The neighbors should be supporting this redevelopment, not fighting it.

Just Wait
April 02, 2014
QT is a quality store that does not attract "undesirables." The biggest traffic problem is in their parking lots, not the streets surrounding them. This is simply a case of NIMBYism.
April 02, 2014
Yep. These folks are plain ole out to lunch.

If they run QT off, they are dang sure not going to be happy with whatever else might try going on that corner.

Corners just do not get any better than a QT.

Seeing a QT on a corner is a sign that you are in a good part of town.
Say What??
April 02, 2014
Other than one of our bus stops is at the proposed exit driveway of the QT directly across from Cindy Ln.

Other than Hickory Grove Place does not have a red light to safely turn left onto either Wade Green Rd or Hickory Grove Rd.

Other than 120 families need to be able get out of the subdivision in the mornings and back in during the afternoons yep, Hickory Grove Place which is the only way the residents can get in or out.

Other than a child care center at the intersection of Hickory Grove Place @ Wade Green with their entry/exit driveway on Hickory Grove Place.

Other than Pitner Elementary a mere 1,000 ft. away on Wade Green Rd and the traffic that comes with it.

Other than no left turns out of the QT driveway that fronts Wade Green Rd. So guess where they are going to exit, yep the residential street Hickory Grove Place.

Other than no left turns out of the QT driveway that fronts Hickory Grove Rd. So guess where this traffic is going to exit, yep the residential street Hickory Grove Place.

Other than no left turn into the QT from northbound traffic on Wade Green Rd. So guess where this traffic is going to enter the QT yep, via residential street Hickory Grove Place.

Other than several hundred cars visiting QT hourly and more so during rush hour and using what as an entry/exit. Yep, residential street Hickory Grove Place.

Other than that you are right it is simply a matter of Not In My Neighborhood.
@Say What
April 07, 2014
Then why don't you and your subdivision neigbors buy the 2.4 acres and turn it into a forest?

Darryl Weems
April 02, 2014
THIS is the hill residents of Kennesaw are willing to fight on? A QT? So, a loud skate park, that ruins the neighborhood behind it is fine. A huge development in already congested of downtown Kennesaw soon to be filled with college students and poor people is fine. Another huge development at Barrett and 41. That is fine too. Not to mention the property values and the arrival of Marietta's finest after Marietta got wise and tore down all those derelict apartment buildings resulting in Franklin Road's displaced moving to Kennesaw. That's fine. Every other house now a HUD home. That is fine. The mayor is treated like a hero and the only thing you idiots take issue with is a QT? A KSU student murdered. Another murder last May on Paul Rd. You know, in super-safe Kennesaw. Break-ins and noise pollution on the rise. And you people are angry at a QT?
Mike In Smyrna
April 02, 2014
Darryl you made me laugh – Speaking of the skate park . . . what is it going to co$t the taxpayers when a skater falls, hits their head and dies.
Say What?
April 02, 2014
You know there are places you can seek treatment?? P.S. This location is not in the City of Kennesaw!!
Common Sense
April 02, 2014
I think it a great idea and here are three reasons:

1) Create competition for Racetrac and BP down the street on Wade Green. QT tends to be competitive in prices and their stores are always well lit, friendly and clean.

2) Look at the current location they are trying to build. It has been abandoned for some time and is an eyesore. This would improve the corner aesthetically.

3) As long as an easement to be able to turn into the QT heading westbound on Hickory Grove is added, I think traffic will be at a minimum. The timing of the lights tend to allow traffic to flow fairly easily. Obvious times of traffic are during peak rush hour, but that is a given.

The only thing I might be against is that in the article, QT would have to tear down three residential homes. Are these homes abandoned as well? Hopefully these homeowners will we awarded a handsome price for their homes for having to move.

I don't have a dog in this hunt, but I welcome the idea of QT coming to that corner lot. Look at the QT on Bells Ferry Rd headed north just past 575. Very nice and convenient. Similar situation...I hope it happens.
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