Though he fought hard — and lost — against developers who wanted to bring a gas station to the edge of his retirement community, Tuesday night John Snyder spoke on behalf of the owners of the future RaceTrac gas station at the corner of McEver and Browns Bridge roads.
Snyder, president of the Seasons on Lanier homeowners association, told Gainesville’s Planning and Appeals Board Tuesday that he thought RaceTrac’s proposal to build an internally illuminated sign was a good plan.
“If we’re going to have to have a RaceTrac there, I think these plans look good,” Snyder said. “They will not be as big a deterrent as some service stations I’ve seen. I believe some of the things that are happening will abate our fears somewhat in regards to noise pollution, light pollution...”
Four members of the planning board voted to recommend the City Council approve the zoning amendment that would allow RaceTrac to build the sign.
But the gas station developers did not get everything exactly as they wanted Tuesday. Attorney Wes Robinson, who represented the fuel station, asked city planners to remove a condition of their approval that would prohibit the station from installing red and green lights in the digital part of the sign where the prices would be displayed to differentiate between the price for regular unleaded fuel and diesel.
“It helps differentiate and prevent confusion when someone pulls in the gas station, they know one price is for gasoline and one price is for diesel,” Robinson said.
City code only allows digital signs to have amber lighting. Board chairman Dean Dadisman said he felt the board should uphold the code.
“I’m very concerned about any allowance of different colored signs,” Dadisman said. “...If we allow this group to put in other colors, then in my opinion we’ve pretty much destroyed that regulation, because it would be very difficult to require somebody else to stick with amber if they wanted a different color.”
Gainesville’s Principal Planner Matt Tate told the board that the station could still delineate between diesel and other fuels by installing different colored signs above the digital portion of the sign.
Robinson pointed out that the digital sign for the city’s Georgia Mountains Center had red lights. Community Planning and Development Director Rusty Ligon responded that those lights were installed before the code update that restricted colors other than amber in digital signs.
Planning board member George Hokayem voted against the zoning amendment that would have allowed the sign. After the meeting, Hokayem said he did not disagree with RaceTrac’s plans, but said he did not like the design of the sign.
In other business, the planning board voted unanimously to recommend approval to the City Council the annexation of 3.67 acres on New Harvest Road that will be part of the Gainesville Business Park and voted unanimously to recommend approval to the City Council of the abandonment of 177 feet of right-of-way at the end of Dean Street.