HOLLY SPRINGS — Sixes residents eager to speak out against a package store slated for their community at Thursday evening’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting never got their chance.
The commission’s vote whether to recommend a conditional use permit for a liquor store planned at 700 Sixes Road was tabled by planning commissioners until February because the applicant in the case was not present for the 6:30 p.m. meeting.
Applicant Vincent Infanti, who is hoping to open a “high-end package store” at the site of an abandoned gas station, called the situation a mix-up and said Friday he was under the impression that Thursday’s meeting began at 7.
Planning Commission Chairman Mike Herman explained to residents that they could not proceed with the meeting or open the floor to public comments without the applicant present, and the city’s five planning commissioners agreed to table their vote until next month’s meeting.
“Having the applicant present is a requirement so I would make a motion to table the item until a future meeting when they can be available,” Herman said.
The motion passed 5-0.
Infanti’s liquor store plans came before last year’s planning commission back in November, where it was met with solid opposition from Sixes residents who argued building a liquor store would detract from their community.
Infanti said the liquor store would serve residents of the Sixes community with high-end spirits, craft beer, a large wine selection and a cigar humidor offering Cubans.
But Sixes residents argued that the business would cause traffic issues along the divided highway and become a target for robbers looking to make a quick getaway on the nearby on-ramp to Interstate 575.
The 2016 planning commission voted 3-1 to recommend the conditional use permit, but the application was tabled at Infanti’s request and never heard by city council members.
Since then, Infanti said Friday, he has worked out a deal with the adjacent property owner and amended his application to also include a 9,425-square-foot multi-tenant building.
Infanti said he thinks the adjacent building would be a prime location for a restaurant, but city staff has recommended a denial of both the liquor store’s conditional use permit and the newly proposed multi-tenant building after a records search revealed tax liens on the property.
Infanti said they he was working on getting everything sorted by the commission’s February meeting, adding that he was optimistic about showing his plans to the zoning commission next month. Three new members were sworn into the five person board Thursday evening, the board’s first meeting of the year. New commissioners include Chris Amos Adams, Adrian Dekker and Jennifer English. Commissioners Mike Herman and John Wiegand will remain on the board from last year.
Infanti went on to say that the old gas station, which has been abandoned for years, is being demolished to make way for the new structure.
Sixes resident Debra Frieden, who has been opposed to the liquor since it was first proposed, said she didn’t like the new plans either.
“The package store has evolved into further encroachment toward the mill,” she said. “A very short deceleration lane and a left-hand turn lane is going to be a nightmare for residents.”
But Infanti said the new development would be good for the area.
“I think it will be awesome for the community,” he said. “And if we can get a restaurant over there this corner will be great.”
The plans are set to come back before planning commissioners at their Feb. 9 meeting.