Green Street Circle residents have a chance to talk to Gainesville City Council members tonight about their concerns with a new burger restaurant coming to town.
The Yonah Burger, which currently has locations in Cleveland and Dahlonega, is proposed for a location that has served as a retail phone store, dental lab and medical billing office. The restaurant will use an entrance and exit at 1195 Thompson Bridge Road and an exit on Green Street Circle.
Gary and Brenda Haynes took over the historic Cleveland eatery in 2003 and the Dahlonega restaurant in 2009. The third location would serve breakfast, lunch and dinner between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Residents aren’t happy about the idea of increased cut-through traffic and voiced their concerns to the city’s planning and appeals board meeting on Oct. 12, as well as a neighborhood meeting that a few city officials attended Oct. 25.
“I talked to a few more residents on Friday, and they continue to be concerned about the traffic and impact of the drive-in window,” said Mayor Pro Tem Danny Dunagan, who attended the Oct. 25 meeting. “They’re not happy that the restaurant is coming there, period, but they’re as happy as they can be about it.”
Today the City Council will consider a special use request for the restaurant to install a drive-through window. If the special use isn’t approved, the Hayneses plan to move forward with the restaurant anyway, Dunagan said.
The city’s planning board approved the request unanimously on Oct. 12 but added four conditions after hearing concerns from residents. The drive-through speaker must face away from residential areas, a natural buffer of trees and plants must be added behind the restaurant, the exit onto Green Street Circle must be a left-turn only and the new owners must install a concrete median at the exit to enforce the left turn.
Rusty Ligon, director of city planning and the Community Development Department, said Thursday he would research decibel levels for the drive-through speaker for residents who are worried about the noise. Dunagan asked city traffic engineer Dee Taylor to monitor the traffic on Green Street Circle during the weekend before council members make a final decision.
“I installed a traffic counter on Friday, and I’m going out today to pick it up and have the results to the council,” Taylor said Monday. “It’ll show the council the number of cars we have on that road now.”
The Hayneses must still undergo several permit phases before opening the restaurant, Ligon said. During these phases, the property owners could be required to repave the parking lot, submit plans for interior and exterior changes to the building and limit the noise level of the drive-through speaker.