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Council defeats gas station at Seasons on Lanier

POSTED: May 31, 2008 5:00 a.m.
When a RaceTrac gas station on the Seasons on Lanier property seemed like nearly a done deal, Gainesville City Councilman George Wangemann came up with a strategy to defeat the controversial rezoning on its second reading.

Following a tie vote at Tuesday's City Council meeting, the plans for the gas station are dead - for at least six months.

If Easlan Capital of Atlanta wants to continue with a gas station on the corner of McEver Road and Browns Bridge Road, the developing company will have to restart the rezoning process with an application to the zoning department in six months.

Councilman Danny Dunagan's absence from Tuesday's morning council meeting ended in three tie votes on one controversial rezoning issue: the question as to whether the incoming developers of the bankrupt Seasons On Lanier development could rezone the planned unit development in order to build a RaceTrac gas station on the edge of the property.

Two weeks ago, three members of the council - Dunagan, Bruner and Mayor Myrtle Figueras - voted to approve the rezoning request only minutes after nearly 60 residents stood in opposition to the proposed gas station as they had done before at the preceding Planning and Appeals Board meeting.

After two motions - one to table the discussion by Councilwoman Ruth Bruner the other to keep the rezoning from having a second reading at all by Councilman Bob Hamrick - died with tie votes, Councilman George Wangemann asked the City Attorney James E. "Bubba" Palmour what would happen if Wangemann made a motion to approve the rezoning request that ended in a tie vote.

Palmour replied "the motion would fail."

Wangemann, who had voted against the initial rezoning, then made a motion to approve the rezoning, smile on his face.

Wangemann then asked if he could make a motion to approve, but then vote in opposition to the motion. Palmour said he did not think it was against the city's code.

"I don't know that we're obliged to follow any state or other rules of order," Palmour said.
After learning that he could second the motion to approve, but vote otherwise, Hamrick seconded Wangemann's motion to approve the rezoning.

Bruner and Figueras voted to approve the rezoning, but Hamrick and Wangemann did not. The vote kept Easlan Capital of Atlanta from building a RaceTrac for now, but it may keep Easlan Capital from acquiring the property at all.

Wes Robinson, a Gainesville attorney representing the developers, said he did not know if the council's actions were legal or if Easlan would pull out of the development without an approval.

"We'll just have to wait and see," he said.


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