Planning Commission to revisit commercial strip near Town Center; Quiktrip applies for new Smyrna location

Aug. 2—A new Quiktrip location near the Chattahoochee River just outside Smyrna is among the items Cobb’s Planning Commission will consider Tuesday.

The gas station and convenience store would sit at the intersection of Riverview Road and South Cobb Drive, just down the road from I-285. If approved, it would join more than 20 other Quiktrip locations across Cobb.

The site is largely undeveloped at present, with the exception of an auto shop on South Cobb Drive, while to the northwest is a Motel 6. Documents submitted to Cobb County indicate the store would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The commission is also set to hear a proposed commercial strip at Bells Ferry and Piedmont roads in northeast Cobb, about a mile from Town Center Mall. The plan is sponsored by Sam Awad, owner-operator of several auto shops around Cobb.

The property sits along a small, J-shaped road — Highoak Drive — which runs behind a CVS location. The parcels along Highoak Drive are undeveloped, and back up to the nearby Delacoure and Kendrick Farm subdivisions. Awad has proposed to build several commercial spaces including a car wash and car audio equipment store, which would be the “flagship” location of his Joker Audio chain.

Area residents have spoken in opposition to the project, dubbed “The Walk at Piedmont,” at several previous hearings.

The Bells Ferry Civic Association has highlighted the case on its website, saying that while they don’t categorically oppose the commercial zoning category, they objected to planned uses for auto-related shops and possible inclusion of restaurants or fast food joints. Residents of the subdivisions, meanwhile, have asked for increased buffers between their homes and the commercial district.

Others have criticized Awad’s negotiations with the community, or lack thereof.

“(The developer) did not provide elevations or viewscapes, as instructed at the previous meeting. They mentioned no agreement with stipulations. When asked about stipulations (including) the additional landscape buffer, the response was, ‘No but we can move the building closer to your property on the next site plan if that is what you want,” said a representative of the Delacoure subdivision in June.

“This was seen as threatening and intimidating to our residents,” he added.

Brad Russell, who is representing Awad, downplayed that characterization of the meeting, saying instead they suffered from “miscommunication.” He did confirm he had not submitted a stipulation letter to the county; Awad and Russell have submitted such a letter ahead of Tuesday’s meeting.

The Planning Commission will also revisit Pulte Homes’ plan to build 99 houses on Ebenezer Road, also in northeast Cobb. The case was previously held by the commission after receiving significant neighbor opposition.

Despite some revisions to the planned ‘open space community,’ a zoning category which allows a developer to build smaller lot sizes in exchange for setting aside communal green space, the East Cobb Civic Association says it remains opposed to the project. Pulte’s revisions appear mostly to address setbacks and landscaping concerns raised during previous meetings, but did not reduce the number of homes.

Finally, the Planning Commission may render a vote on North Point Ministries’ proposed megachurch and residential development at Johnson Ferry and Shallowford roads in east Cobb. Significant community engagement is expected at the meeting to speak for and against one of the year’s most hotly debated rezoning proposals.

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