Developer withdraws Brooke Park request
by Joshua Sharpe
November 26, 2013 11:55 PM | 2041 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For the third time in recent months, a Macon-based developer has withdrawn a request to build gas stations in Cherokee County following objections from residents.

After previously pulling back requests from Cherokee County and Holly Springs, Jim Rollins on Monday offi-cially withdrew his request to have the city of Canton annex 9.03 acres at the entrance of the Estates at Brooke Park for his plans of building a Flash Foods gas station.

Rollins said he decided to withdraw his request after the Canton Planning Commission voted amid passionate re-sistance from residents in the neighborhood to recommend the city council shoot down his plans last Monday.

“My impression was that the city council wouldn’t approve the application,” Rollins said Monday. “Politicians react to a vocal majority of the people.”

That “vocal majority of people” from Brooke Park also turned out in June to express their concerns to the Cher-okee County Planning Commission about the same gas station, before the board voted to recommend county commissioners reject the plans.

Rollins has said pointedly he asked Canton to annex the land because of the “warm reception” he got from the county.

Al Bensimon, who has acted as the spokesman for the Estates at Brooke Park, said Monday he wasn’t yet con-vinced the developer wouldn’t be back to try and move ahead with the gas station at some point.

“As I understand it, this reserves the right for them to refile in six, 12 months,” Bensimon said.

When asked if he and his neighbors would protest again if Rollins or his company the Summit Group try, Bensi-mon said they would.

“Does the sun rise in the east?” he joked. “You betcha. We’re more determined than ever.”

Rollins said simply because Cherokee County and Canton don’t seem to want a gas station at the entrance of Brooke Park doesn’t mean the land won’t be developed.

In the week since the Canton Planning Commission voted against his plans, Rollins said he has had five or six inquiries from people wanting to use the land for businesses that would be allowed without annexation or rezoning. Those proposed developments have included 24-hour emergency medical clinics, retail shops and restaurants, he said.

Meanwhile, Rollins said he will be going before the Holly Springs City Council on Dec. 2 to ask for approval of his request to annex and rezone land at the north entrance of the Harmony on the Lakes subdivision to build a 24-hour gas station. He withdrew the same request in late October after residents in the neighborhood fought against it.

Holly Springs Community Development Director Nancy Moon confirmed Monday the city council plans to dis-cuss Rollins’ request Dec. 2, although no vote will be taken, because the meeting is a work session.

But Rollins’ potential plans to tear down the historic Bell’s Store in the Buffington community to build a gas station on its site might move forward, because the land is already zoned to allow a gas station. He has, however, offered to give the building to the Cherokee County Historical Society or Lisa Meyer, who runs a market in the building, if they’ll move the aging landmark somewhere else.

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