The Canton City Council has placed a moratorium on convenience stores with fuel pumps in the city through the end of July.

The moratorium, which halts building permits for such convenience stores, is an effort to give the city council time to discuss how to move forward in the future in allowing these businesses into the city, City Attorney Robert Dyer said.

The moratorium was approved by a vote of 5-1, with council member Nick Estes voting against it. City Manager Billy Peppers said Friday that during the moratorium, the city council will look at ways to potentially change the zoning ordinance for convenience stores with fuel pumps.

City council member Sandy McGrew brought the idea to the rest of the council at Thursday’s meeting. She said too many convenience stores are coming to the city, specifically along Riverstone Boulevard from Walgreens to Walmart, where they are plentiful. She also said she is concerned with the close proximity of the convenience stores.

McGrew added that city residents have often complained to her about the city allowing convenience stores or asking why there are several stores in a row that are similar.

“I’m concerned with the saturation of one type of business in an area, and want to better plan for new businesses coming in,” McGrew wrote in an email Friday. “It is my hope that this will help prospective companies align locating their product to better suit the city council’s roadmap for the city.”

Advertising signs outside of the convenience stores block visibility from outside, which could be a public safety issue, McGrew said.

McGrew said she hopes the city council will be able to have constructive dialogue about this situation, and that they can determine fair solutions to help businesses flourish.

City Attorney Robert Dyer said Thursday that the city council will discuss these concerns at both of their July meetings. Council members could vote to extend the moratorium or issue a new one, should they decide to change the zoning ordinance. Convenience stores with fuel pumps are currently allowed in general commercial properties, and don’t need city council approval. McGrew proposed requiring a conditional use permit, for which business owners would need to apply to the council.

Also at the meeting, the council approved requests for apartments at The Mill on Etowah, as well as Laurel Canyon master plan amendments.

♦ The city council approved a request to add 30 apartment units to a proposed 250 apartment complex development. This project, which is a part of The Mill on Etowah master plan, will replace the former 3.5-acre Thomas Concrete mixing plant located to the north of The Mill on Etowah, 225 Reformation Parkway. The four to five story, two complex development will offer multi-family apartments, with rent ranging from $1,200 to $2,400 a month. Apartments will be a mix of studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom units. The project will include a gated parking deck consisting of 396 spaces, and amenities for the community.

♦ The city council approved a pair of amendments to the Laurel Canyon master plan to allow for development. This first amendment from Ballantry PMC Laurel, LLC will allow single family attached residential units as an allowed use for a section of Laurel Canyon. The developer plans to build three two-unit buildings on the 3.7-acre site. Council members also approved residential as an allowed use for a separate part of the neighborhood, 70 Laurel Canyon Village Drive. This will allow for single family attached and detached units such as townhomes, triplexes, quadplexes, and condominiums.

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Ethan is a reporter covering the cities of Holly Springs & Canton. He also covers city governments and lifestyle. He is a graduate of Kennesaw State University.

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