Friday, May 4, 2018

[UPDATE] DeKalb Planning Commission Votes to Deny RaceTrac & Wendy's Development

The DeKalb County Planning Commission met Tuesday night and recommended denial of all the requested rezoning and SLUP requests made by developer Jay Gipson.  The property is question is a roughly four acre assemblage at the corner of Clairmont & Briarcliff Roads on which Gipson was proposing to build a new RaceTrac, Wendy's and Express Oil.

The proposal, which was given a full cycle deferral on March 27 by the DeKalb Board of Commissioners, will next be heard by the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, May 22 at 6:30 P.M.

The surrounding community has been divided on their hopes for the property.  While there was considerable discussion about the potential traffic impacts of the development, there were those who felt the proposed development was the best one could hope for given the location and high cost of the land.  Gipson agreed to provide land for a third southbound lane on Clairmont Road, with a right turn onto Briarcliff Road.  

Other concerns were the proposed removal of the 50 foot buffer between residential (neighboring Riviera Terrace condos) and commercial areas (the new development), and the placement of the illuminated menu boards and speakers for the Wendy's drive-thru on the side adjacent to Riviera Terrace, with operations until 2 am.  

The community seems in agreement that the property as it is now is unattractive and unbecoming of the neighboring communities.  What remains unclear, is what the community would be satisfied with being developed on the site, if not the currently proposed tenants. 

What are your thoughts on this redevelopment? Do you think the DeKalb Planning Commission is making the right decision in voting for denial of the redevelopment?  What do you think would be the best replacement for the current abandoned buildings on the parcel in question?

Please share your thoughts below  


Anonymous said...

Seems simple enough. You just approve it with the condition that drive thru's are not allowed or within so many hundred feet of Residential zoning so it could not be placed on teh property if they wanted to.

Just voting no on issues like this is usually not the best course of action. Who the heck is on the Planning Commission not thinking through these issues?

Unknown said...


Just thought to get those arguments out of the way.

Anonymous said...

The Planning Commission seems to be the only body thinking this thing through. Perhaps the developer could hire someone to do a little research to check his projects against existing code to be sure they fit on the property before wasting everyone's time.

Unknown said...

Sorry to see this denial. The area is a blight. There are eight curb cuts on Clairmont now, developer proposed two. I get a kick out of those opposed, but want Trader Joes or Starbucks.Traffic would spit in ocean, considering what else is going on in the area? Fear we will live to regret this decision. Land cost will continue to rise, which will require greater density in the development. Additionally, potential developers for Williamsburg will look elsewhere for more reasonable neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

Here is the kicker though if you just vote no and it goes to Superior Court the judge just overrules the county. If you vote YES with conditions there is not legal challenge. I'm sure the commissioners have a better law department than a bunch of volunteer zoning members and they will correct this

Anonymous said...

So why have the neighbors put up with the blight for all these years? Are they too lazy to call code enforcement? Or just too old to remember how phones work?

Unknown said...

Anyone that mentions wanting a Trader Joes should go play in the traffic.

While the corner is run down and unattractive, I cannot actively see any code violations (with the exception of the mechanic place driving cars the wrong way on Briarcliff - which is illegal, but nothing to do with building/property codes).

I would love to see a nice craft brewery at this location. It's one of the things really missing from this part of town.

Anonymous said...

@Steve Berberich. What kind of redevelopment do you envision for Williamsburg Village that your neighbors would be unreasonable about? Dollar Tree and a Walgreen’s? Six kinds of fast food and a Wawa? Olive Garden? I don’t understand your point, unless you expect downscale development.

Ed DeLeon said...

Traffic on Clairmont is basically a nightmare since the QT opened it's doors. While the trove of car repair places is an eyesore adding a Race Trac and Wendy's will only make traffic worse not better IMHO!!

I don't know what the ideal use or redevelopment of this commercial/industrially zoned property is but rushing into a rezoning of this magnitude should be carefully studied 8 ways till Sunday and there should be rigorous neughborhood debate and input and NOT JUST THAT OF THE BOC WHO NEVER MET A REZONING THEY DIDN'T LIKE AND APPROVE!!


Anonymous said...

Has anyone checked with King's Bridge Retirement Community across the street? They look like they would like a park-like setting for their residents since they are landlocked needing space. And a park paid for privately would be a great enhancement.

Intown Tess said...

Preach it, Ed DeLeon. You are absolutely correct. This project is not scaled properly for the area and will only add to the traffic problems. If you want this kind of development, move OTP. Because that's where this monstrosity belongs.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful place for a park!

The seniors can walk across Briarcliff Road (ha!) and enjoy the lovely sounds of idling cars and honking horns while they enjoy the lovely aromas of car exhaust.

Hint: Nobody is going to pay millions for that property, spend more to clean it up and then more to maintain it as a park.

This property will just sit there and rot just like everything else around that area because the neighbors are opposed to every redevelopment ever proposed. How does a BP increase the traffic? There was already a gas station at that intersection. If anything, it reduces traffic by giving cars going each direction an easier right turn in to get fuel than having to make a left in an then another left out. And it eliminated a disgusting eye sore and dirty grocery store.

I have never seen a more anti-development and anti-change neighborhood than that one. It's a wonder any of those new neighborhoods around there ever got built!

BornLocal said...

@Anonymous 10:13 You aren’t familiar with that neighborhood at all, are you? Exactly how many projects has it fought? I can recall one this millennium — a double-drive thru McDonald’s that would have gone in across the street from the fire station. A dangerous and stupid location indeed. Get your neighborhoods straight.

Anonymous said...

As familiar as anyone out there. My parents bought a house less than a mile from that location in 1968 and I lived there for 18 years until I left for college. My parents still live there. That area fought the Sembler development which would have redeveloped the closed and crumbling Briarcliff High and old apartments next to it (they are now upset about the proposed Cross Keys replacing that building because who would want a brand new school in place of a rat and vagrant habitat full of graffiti??!), they fought Williamsburg redevelopment, and even oppose CHOA's planned development off Druid Hills. It's always the same cries of "traffic." The only way things aren't fought against is if there is no zoning change and nobody knows about it until it's a done deal - like the QT replacing that disgusting grocery store. I'll bet if that development was up for hearings, the neighbors would have packed the house to fight QT.

CHOA has been quietly buying up chunks of property around their Tullie headquarters. What they have planned will make the local residents go ballistic.

George said...

@Anonymous 9:38am
Nope. Wrong neighborhoods. You're off by a freeway exit. Nobody on the other side of Clairmont cared what Sembler wanted to do on North Druid Hills Road. They don't really care that Cross Keys is being built on the BHS site, unless the school district really tries to go through with its bone-headed idea to redistrict students who live near Sagamore Hills Elementary and Oak Grove Elementary and are now districted to Lakeside, which is much closer and doesn't shuttle them or force them (or their parents) to drive through the horrific traffic.

There's not been any proposal to redevelop Williamsburg Village in the last 30 years, so there's been nothing to fight there. The neighborhood associations worked with Ryland to get some site plan changes made to the townhome development that's finally under construction on Briarcliff off Clairmont.

Neighborhoods objecting to this supersized misfit don't oppose CHOA's development either. They just wanted CHOA/Brookhaven/DeKalb County/GDOT to understand the burden they're placing on the I-85 interchange at Clairmont and the access road leading up to it. The access road already gets backed up all the way to Cliff Valley at PM rush hour and the traffic at the exit backs up onto the freeway. It's dangerous and the horribly designed interchange needs some (a lot of) improvements.

CHOA's purchases have not been quiet and their plans are public. They had multiple meetings with the public, send out email updates and have published their site plan on their "breaking ground" web site. They have 70 acres now that they plan to develop, including a two-tower hospital and 8-story support building in addition to the CAP building that's about to open. It will be really good for home values in the area.

Nobody fought QT. So I don't get your accusation that "they fight everything." It just isn't supported by facts.

Anonymous said...

Not sure what you consider a neighborhood - in the commercial world, those are all considered one and the same.

You are much more well informed than the average resident over what CHOA is doing. The site plan looks great - other than the old Burger King right in front!

Anonymous said...

CHOA’s a done deal. No one will know what hit ‘em until they can’t get off at the freeway exits.

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