Holly Springs Hickory Flat Highway

Wilson Development Group is seeking rezoning for almost five acres off Hickory Flat Highway in Holly Springs to build two fast food restaurants and a mixed-use office building.

Holly Springs city council members will soon consider a development that is proposed to bring two fast food restaurants and a mixed use office building to Hickory Flat, which was met with opposition last week from planning commissioners and nearby residents.

The commission voted unanimously Thursday to recommend that the city council deny both requests.

The applicant, Wilson Development Group, is looking to rezone almost five acres located off of Hickory Flat Highway to develop two stand-alone fast food restaurants with drive-thru service. The applicant also proposes a multi-tenant building consisting of a coffee shop with drive-thru service, with an additional 2,500 square feet of leasable retail space. Matt Coutu, representing Wilson Development Group, is also requesting approval for a conditional use permit for the multi-tenant building.

Coutu said the project is planned to occupy an undeveloped site between the Crest Brooke subdivision and the Eclipse Azul Cantina and Taqueria. A single family home residential development is located on the south side of this proposed development. The development would take about one to two years.

The request was brought to the commission in March, but commission members asked city staff to conduct a traffic study before making a decision to recommend approval or denial.

A study conducted by city staff showed that a right deceleration lane and left turn lane are warranted for this driveway location.

The site plan would use one previous existing driveway to the east, and one full access driveway that aligns with the existing intersection on Hickory Flat Highway at White Column Boulevard.

Four Crest Brooke residents, Ken Davidson, Matt Schroeder, and MaryBeth and Philip Smith, voiced their concerns to the commission at the meeting. They all spoke in opposition to these requests, citing traffic and safety concerns in the area, specifically turning left out of the neighborhood. Other issues included the drive-thru aspect of the proposed restaurants, which all three speakers mentioned is not desirable for an area that already has a number of drive-thru restaurants. Lighting from these proposed developments shining into the homes near this proposed project was also an issue for Davidson and Schroeder.

“The big change here is allowing the drive-thru aspect of the restaurants in this location because we already allow restaurants with the current zoning,” Chairman Eric Rein said. “That’s a lot of fast food in one small area and it may not be desirable for a lot of people in the community. I’m on the Hickory Flat study committee and the consensus is the community would prefer a sit down style restaurant like a Longhorn or something like that.”

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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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