RaceTrac Rezoning Request Withdrawn from County

The property owner, which hoped to sell the rezoned land to the gas station company once it was rezoned, notified the county last week of its withdrawal.

It looks like local residents have won their quest to stop RaceTrac from building a new 18-pump gas station on Lawrenceville Highway.

The property owner, which had negotiated a conditional sale with the Atlanta-based gas station and market compnay, withdrew its request from DeKalb County late last week to rezone almost four acres along the highway between Orion and Hollywood drives. RaceTrac and the landowner were seeking to have the acreage rezoned from residential to commercial. They also wanted the county to approve special land use permits for the gas pumps and the sale of alcohol.

But in a letter dated last Friday, the land owner, SHP III Lawrenceville, through a Prudential real estate representative, notified the county's planning department of the withdrawal. No reasons were given.

Residents from the adjacent Sargent Hills neighborhood and representatives of the Little Creek Farm Conservatory had been fighting the rezoning for months. Many of them, dressed in red, showed up at a District 4 Community Council meeting earlier this month where the council recommended denial of the rezoning, citing the overwhelming community opposition.

Allen Bell, an engineering project manager with RaceTrac, sent out an email confirmation of the letter to residents who had signed up to receive updates from the company at recent community meetings. Bell did not provide any additional reasoning behind the withdraw and did not immediately return an email request for comment.

After the news, however, Sargent Hills residents were already gearing up for the Nov. 1 planning commission meeting. The rezoning request still has to be officially withdrawn, and a representative from District 6 Commissioner Kathie Gannon's office said in an email residents would be wise to have representation there. The withdraw also doesn't stop the landowner from seeking some sort of new rezoning for other commercial interests.

Residents also repeatedly asked RaceTrac to move the store farther southwest along the highway where many abandoned car dealerships and other blighted buildings rest. But RaceTrac said the traffic counts weren't sufficiently high there, and they wanted their station to sit at an intersection with a traffic light. The proposed RaceTrac station would have also sat directly across from its prime competition, QuikTrip.

Ms. October 30, 2012 at 08:24 PM
So what exactly happened to the houses there? Did the developer come along and buy them up hoping to develop commercial there? This news initially is good news, but who knows what he's going to try and sell there next.
Jonathan Cribbs October 30, 2012 at 08:30 PM
There are no houses there. It's just zoned residential. But, you're right, the landowner could pursue other commercial uses for the land.
Eric H October 30, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Alternatively the community could press to not allow them to withdraw the appication and have the county turn down the rezoning request. This would then put a 2 year bar on a new rezoning request.
Leah Salby October 30, 2012 at 10:25 PM
We must get it rezoned for green space. The owner saw the storm coming. No way RaceTrac could win. They cannot contain leaks in a flood zone and tropical storm Sandy will prove it!
Leah Salby October 31, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Not so fast. The commissioners first contact was no need for all to attend rezoning meeting. Something is fishy. I am going with my list of petitioners. I don't trust this first contact. Please attend the meeting!
Ms. October 31, 2012 at 01:22 AM
I thought I heard several houses were located on this land previously.
Jonathan Cribbs October 31, 2012 at 02:52 AM
What's fishy?
Z Johnson November 01, 2012 at 12:02 PM
There were houses there up until a couple of years ago. My guess is that when the developer/investor was assembling those parcels, it was more cost effective to demolish them than to provide them as rentals and incur the cost of ongoing maintenance.
Valerie November 01, 2012 at 12:36 PM
The houses that were there were torn down several years ago (2006? 2007?) and a developer was going to build a residential senior citizens home there. Owners got market value or more, far as I know. That must have fallen through when the economy crashed.The lots have been empty since. I own a condo on Jordan Lane, just up the street. Our values are at about 25% of what most of us paid (and what our appraisals were up until 2010) - irresponsible development here would hurt us greatly (not to mention those folks whose houses border the property, and the horse farm). Hoping someone brings more sensible development options to the table.
Carol Bulmer November 01, 2012 at 07:11 PM
There certainly were houses there all along Lawrenceville Hwy to the corner of Orion. Valerie is right...they were going to build a Senior Assisted living community/facility and then the economy tanked. The land is beautiful and I really wish they would find a way to turn it into greenspace and maybe include it in the horse park. I know, I know...I'm a dreamer. Right now, my neighborhood gets to look forward to a Walmart coming in so I'm really happy to see citizens getting what they want for a change (but I am also holding my breath to see what else the developers have up their greedy sleeves).
Doctor DeKalb November 02, 2012 at 03:50 AM
What is wrong with Racetrac?
Leah Salby November 02, 2012 at 10:43 AM
They would pollute the pristine horse farm.
Leah Salby November 04, 2012 at 01:22 PM
New petition for green space: http://www.change.org/petitions/dekalb-county-commissioners-rezoning-make-the-land-between-orion-and-hollywood-drives-green-space
contented-NOT November 04, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Does Race Track have a history of pollution?
bulldogger November 04, 2012 at 02:00 PM
The houses that were torn down had been there since the 1950's. Not allowing a Race Trac Station on the properties is just delaying the inevitable. Sooner or later, all that property, and probably all the way to Valley Brook will be developed commercially. Not saying I agree or disagree but, when a developer comes along and offers home owners a price they can't refuse, they'll sell. Just the facts,ma'am.
Leah Salby November 04, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Not if the county makes it green space. But, we know DeKalb County government is one of the most crooked in the country. Money buys everything. Get a billionaire to buy the land and make it green space. LOL! However, some people just cannot be bought. They stick to their beliefs. You are on the bad side of the fence, Sir. Please don't call me ma'am.
Leah Salby November 04, 2012 at 02:07 PM
They are polluted, but get away with it. http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/unpub/ops/201112023.pdf
contented-NOT November 04, 2012 at 09:10 PM
I hope the county does not spend any of OUR tax dollars on that property and instead gets a very high paying taxable business there.
Leah Salby November 05, 2012 at 12:35 AM
The owners are most likely a shell corporation, Chinese? Check out Secretary of State Corporations. I did. They will try again in 2 years. They figured out they could not win this time around. Make it a dog park. How many homeowners in this neighborhood would like that? Think about it. Thanks Anne for brainstorming, great minds!
Anita November 07, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Are y'all talking about the new Racetrac they're building on Lawrenceville Hwy. & Northlake Parkway, across from QT (where the old Pike's Nursery was)? If so, anything is better there than what's been there the last several years!
Leah Salby November 07, 2012 at 02:00 PM
No, this one was going to be built at Hwy 29 and Orion Drive. The owner of the green space across from the Little Creek Horse Farm withdrew. Too much opposition. He will try and build again in 2 years. We need to make it green space somehow. You can't have traffic next to the pristine horse farm. Have you seen it? Go look at the horses before noon or 3pm when they take them out of the pastures. You will understand.


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