It looks like local residents have won their quest to stop RaceTrac from building a new 18-pump gas station on Lawrenceville Highway.
The property owner, which had negotiated a conditional sale with the Atlanta-based gas station and market compnay, withdrew its request from DeKalb County late last week to rezone almost four acres along the highway between Orion and Hollywood drives. RaceTrac and the landowner were seeking to have the acreage rezoned from residential to commercial. They also wanted the county to approve special land use permits for the gas pumps and the sale of alcohol.
But in a letter dated last Friday, the land owner, SHP III Lawrenceville, through a Prudential real estate representative, notified the county's planning department of the withdrawal. No reasons were given.
Residents from the adjacent Sargent Hills neighborhood and representatives of the Little Creek Farm Conservatory had been fighting the rezoning for months. Many of them, dressed in red, showed up at a District 4 Community Council meeting earlier this month where the council recommended denial of the rezoning, citing the overwhelming community opposition.
Allen Bell, an engineering project manager with RaceTrac, sent out an email confirmation of the letter to residents who had signed up to receive updates from the company at recent community meetings. Bell did not provide any additional reasoning behind the withdraw and did not immediately return an email request for comment.
After the news, however, Sargent Hills residents were already gearing up for the Nov. 1 planning commission meeting. The rezoning request still has to be officially withdrawn, and a representative from District 6 Commissioner Kathie Gannon's office said in an email residents would be wise to have representation there. The withdraw also doesn't stop the landowner from seeking some sort of new rezoning for other commercial interests.
Residents also repeatedly asked RaceTrac to move the store farther southwest along the highway where many abandoned car dealerships and other blighted buildings rest. But RaceTrac said the traffic counts weren't sufficiently high there, and they wanted their station to sit at an intersection with a traffic light. The proposed RaceTrac station would have also sat directly across from its prime competition, QuikTrip.