Holly Springs strikes down gas station request
by Joshua Sharpe
December 17, 2013 11:55 PM | 2137 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HOLLY SPRINGS — Residents of Harmony on the Lakes burst into applause Monday night after the Holly Springs City Council stopped a developer’s plans to build a gas station just outside their neighborhood.

The city council denied Macon-based Jim Rollins’ request to annex 3.2 acres at the north entrance of the vast subdivision off Hickory Flat Highway, as about two dozen residents against the plans looked on.

Rollins was requesting Monday night to have the land brought into the city for a 24-hour Flash Foods, after withdrawing requests for the same gas station in October in the wake of strong concerns raised by residents.

Before the vote, several residents addressed the council, making it clear they were still opposed to the plans.

Eileen Gonzales told the council she had been out all weekend collecting signatures of Harmony on the Lakes residents against the gas station, which she said would be a “quick and easy” target for armed robberies.

“This particular location would be the worst. It meets all the criteria for an armed robbery: it’s isolated, very few employees, a lot of cash on hand and items you can steal and quickly sell,” she said. “It seems like the worst possible location.”

The council members made no comments on why Rollins’ request for annexation was being shot down before or after taking the 3-0 vote, with Dee Phillips and Jeremy Smith absent.

The residents in the crowd, though, seemed pleased.

“Thank you very much!” one woman called out after the vote, with others offering similar thanks.

Rollins quickly left the meeting after the denial, but he said Tuesday the vote against his plans was merely politics.

“What else?” he said. “We agreed to everything they asked us to agree to. I don’t know what else it could’ve been. It’s not unusual to be out-politicked.”

Rollins had agreed to not have any gaming machines in the store, limit the number of gas pumps to eight and not operate 24 hours a day, at least for the first few months, Nancy Moon, Holly Springs’ community development director, said during the meeting Monday.

For the residents, though, those concessions weren’t enough.

Monday night’s defeat wasn’t Rollins’ first in recent weeks in Cherokee County.

In November, the Canton Planning Commission voted against his requests to build a gas station outside the Estates at Brooke Park subdivision after residents pushed to stop it. Before that, the Cherokee Planning Commission voted against his plans for the same gas station, spurring him to ask Canton to annex the land.

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

Considering the reception he’s had so far, Rollins said he won’t be making anymore annexation or rezoning requests with his name in Cherokee County.

“I’m looking for stuff that’s already zoned,” he said.

Also during the meeting, the city council:

• Voted unanimously — with Phillips and Smith absent — to appoint Smith as mayor pro tem;

• Unanimously approved appointing Steve Adcock, Phyllis Long, Smith, Scot Turner, Fred Weir, Councilman Kyle Whitaker, Lee Wynn and Phil Young to the Main Street board;

• Unanimously approved appointing Sharon Shelton, Mike Herman, Bob Kovacs, Bobby Murphy and John Wiegand to the planning commission;

• Voted unanimously to approve the municipal complex parking lot design and seek bids;

• Unanimously approved a commercial lease agreement between Sustainable Solutions Group and the city;

• Voted unanimously to consolidate city bank accounts with Community Bank and Trust; and

• Unanimously approved the city’s short-term work program.

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