Holly Springs residents stand against gas station
by Joshua Sharpe
December 14, 2013 11:25 PM | 2358 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Holly Springs City Council is set to vote Monday night on a proposed gas station on Hickory Flat Highway that has some residents fuming.

Macon-based developer Jim Rollins is asking the council to annex and rezone 3.2 acres at the north entrance of Harmony on the Lakes, after withdrawing requests in October for the same Flash Foods gas station amid issues raised by residents.

Harmony on the Lakes resident Ana Silbernagel said not much has changed for her and her neighbors.

“I think that it’s still not a good place for it,” she said Friday. “It doesn’t preserve the character of the neighborhood.”

To show her opposition, Silbernagel said she has signed a petition circulating around the neighborhood, which has been delivered to the city of Holly Springs.

City Clerk Karen Norred said Friday the city had received the petition and it had about 200 signatures.

“The city has also received a number of emails in support,” Norred added.

In an email provided by the city, one resident wrote that he and a group of at least 17 other families thought the gas station was a good idea, as long as Flash Foods would only install eight pumps, build it as designed, have no gaming machines and take steps to keep traffic down.

“(Rollins) seems like a reasonable man, and I think the station will serve the community well and look nice if it turns out like (as proposed),” the resident wrote.

In spite of this show of support, Silbernagel said many in Harmony on the Lakes simply don’t want the gas station there.

They aren’t the first residents the developer has had against his plans for gas stations in Cherokee County.

In November, the Canton Planning Commission shot down Rollins’ requests to build a gas station outside the Estates at Brooke Park subdivision after residents came out in full force against it.

Other residents continue railing against his potential plans to tear down the historic Bell’s Store on Highway 20 for a gas station, although Rollins has offered to let the building be moved off the land.

Much like in the Estates at Brooke Park, the

complaints from residents in Harmony on the Lakes have been about traffic, visibility, the environment and crime that could result from the store’s potential 24-hour operation.

Rollins, though, who couldn’t be reached for comment Friday, has consistently argued the gas station wouldn’t cause any problems that don’t already exist outside Harmony on the Lakes, or wouldn’t come eventually.

But in a letter written to the city of Holly Springs on Dec. 10, he said Flash Foods would be willing to close down at 1 a.m. for the first few months and evaluate if staying open 24 hours would be worthwhile.

“Please understand that under no circumstances will they agree to give up the option to open for 24 hours a day should, in their sole determination, business activity warrant a 24-hour-a-day operation,” Rollins wrote in the letter, available from the city.

When asked Friday, neighborhood resident Dan Asperger said one of his main concerns was crime.

“Convenience stores and gas stations are constantly on TV news broadcasts, showing the images of ‘that person who came in and robbed that attendant,’” Asperger said. “We would rather not have the probability of that kind of crime coming that close to our homes. We’d rather have it down the road.”

Silbernagel agreed crime is a worry if 24-hour operations are approved, as is late night traffic.

In the daytime, though, Silbernagel said she doesn’t know how Flash Foods expects to compete with the other gas stations already in the area, “one right after the other.”

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