A planned convenience store at the corner of Gaines Ferry and McEver roads in Flowery Branch is drawing heated opposition from area residents, particularly those living in neighboring Four Seasons on Lanier subdivision.
“This is going to be a nightmare,” resident Mary Willis said during a public hearing Thursday, Jan. 20, before the Flowery Branch City Council.
She was referring specifically to traffic at the intersection — a primary concern of the many residents who spoke at the meeting. Opponents filled the meeting room to speak against McEver Site LLC’s request to change city rules to allow gas pumps to be placed in front of the store.
The 5,000-square-foot store would face McEver Road but could be accessed from either McEver Road or Gaines Ferry Road, according to a map of the project.
Also, the store would back up to Four Seasons’ amenities area.
“This development will impact an already bad traffic situation,” said Ralph Taylor, a Gainesville attorney representing Four Seasons’ homeowners association.
McEver Site LLC says it is seeking a variance because the city's requiring pumps at the back of the store “imposes a hardship.”
“It will be impossible at times for fuel delivery (and other delivery) vehicles to navigate the layout of the site,” McEver Site’s lawyer, Steven L. Jones, has said in a letter to the city.
“Additionally, the application should be approved because it will allow the applicant to permit the existing monument sign for the adjacent neighborhood, as well as most (if not all) of the surrounding landscaping to remain in place.”
Four Seasons’ sign is at the corner of Gaines Ferry and McEver.
Addressing McEver Site’s request, Taylor said, “If the hardship the applicant is maintaining is they can’t (get to) their fuel pumps, then maybe that means this isn’t the appropriate site for a gasoline station.”
The statement prompted huge applause from residents but also a request from Mayor Ed Asbridge “to hold applause so we can keep moving along” with the hearing.
Flowery Branch City Council is set to cast its first vote on the proposal on Feb. 17.