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Tucker approves special land use permit to renovate Chevron gas station

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Tucker approves special land use permit to renovate Chevron gas station

File photo: The Tucker City Council members.. Left to right: Councilors Pat Soltys, Matt Robbins, Michelle Penkava, Mayor Frank Auman, Bill Rosenfeld, Noelle Monferdini and Anne Lerner. Credit: Matt Holmes, City of Tucker.
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By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor 

A second read of the Special Land Use Permit to renovate a Chevron gas station at LaVista Road and Northlake Parkway passed 6-1 at Tucker’s City Council meeting on Jan. 27.

The property owner of 4246 LaVista Road intends to renovate the property, installing new gas pumps and a convenience store with alcohol sales. The property abuts Northlake Senior Apartments and an I-285 onramp.

The application was delayed in 2019 when the Georgia Department of Transportation requested dedication of the property’s frontage as right-of-way needed to complete the widening of the LaVista Road bridge.

Lisa Morchower, legal counsel for property owner Mohammed Tarek, suggested Tarek maintain ownership of the right-of-way to protect himself in the case that GDOT’s project never occurs. In an amendment, Morchower wrote that Tarek is legally required to dedicate the right-of-way to GDOT when the project begins.

All council members voted to pass the two SLUPs except Noelle Monferdini, who expressed concern for setting a precedent with new construction.

Tarek said he will landscape and maintain the right-of-way. “For our own interest, we want to make the area clean and make it look nice,” he said.

City council members heard the first read of an application to revamp and remodel 4650 Hugh Howell Road at the corner of Mountain Industrial Boulevard. Developer Branch Properties proposes to bring retail and restaurants, flanked by a national chain grocery store.

The M (light industrial) zoning district currently allows retail under 5,000 sq. ft. and retail warehouse/wholesale over 70,000 sq. ft., but prohibits grocery stores and shopping centers. The proposed commercial development would serve nearby residential developments and employees of the industrial corridor.

Council member Michelle Penkava said, “I just wonder why the whole piece has to be rezoned when the grocery is the complicated piece, and retail and restaurant is already allowed in the industrial zoning.”

Jack Haylett, Branch senior vice president, responded, “In today’s day and age, unanchored shopping centers are just not as successful. They need a grocer. They need a national, main chain like we are bringing here. That’s what brings the vibrancy to make the restaurants and banks and everything around it successful.”

The proposal includes more than 500 parking spots, a walking trail, and tree-lined entries. Branch plans to demolish all existing buildings except for one that they “don’t have a plan for yet,” according to Haylett. He also said the development would be “extremely high end.”

Council members expressed concerns about an increase in traffic, lack of traffic lights, asbestos removal on the site, the property fitting into the city’s comprehensive plan, and sprawl.

Mayor Frank Auman asked, “We are going to be faced with more great things like this, as opposed to industrial uses. Is there anything we can do about that? If we want to grant this, but carve it out and say, ‘No more?’ How do we prevent the next and the next and the next?”

Two neighbors spoke in favor of the development, citing walkability and jobs growth as a plus. The second read of the application will be in February.

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