Members of the Sixes community are banding together yet again, this time in opposition to a gas station planned across the street from the historic Gresham Mill.
While the application for a new RaceTrac has not yet been submitted to the city of Holly Springs, residents are organizing to speak out against the proposed convenience store at a public information meeting Tuesday evening in Woodstock.
In a letter sent to surrounding residents earlier this month, attorney Parks Huff, who represents the Georgia-based gas station chain in their application, wrote that the new convenience store is slated for the intersection of Sixes Road and Gresham Mill Parkway.
The property is already zoned General Commercial, he explained, but RaceTrac is requesting a conditional use permit for fuel sales.
Area resident Barbara Kriner, a member of the Sixes Coalition who heads the Falls of Cherokee Homeowner’s Association, said Friday that another gas station is the last thing the area needs.
“There are already two gas stations less than a half mile from that intersection,” she said, “a Chevron and a QuikTrip.”
Among some of the concerns expressed by Sixes residents is the fact that they don’t want to see the bright neon lights of a modern gas station from their yards if the RaceTrac is approved.
“It’s going to be right across the street from the mill,” Kriner said. “We are hoping to go with an old, country-style theme right there that would be consistent with the mill, but this would be a very modern building with pink bricks and bright yellow awnings.”
Representatives from RaceTrac met with several residents last week, but Kriner said they didn’t seem very willing to deviate from their building plans to accommodate the community’s concerns about the proposed structure and lighting.
“It’s in real juxtaposition to the kind of construction we would like to have there,” she explained. “It would also be the first building to go in there, so it sets a precedent for what could be built in the future.”
Sixes resident John Seufert said he isn’t opposed to the gas station, but said his neighbors just want businesses that fit with the theme of the area.
“They aren’t unattractive buildings, but they’re a little more modern looking than some people would like,” he said. “Hopefully, we can work with RaceTrac to get some of the elements changed to reflect the mill more.”
Falls of Cherokee resident Debra Frieden said Saturday she’s not in favor of any modern structure going in across from the Sixes Mill.
“The RaceTrac proposed directly across from the mill is not ideal; it’s modern,” she said, arguing that any new commercial development in the area should preserve the integrity of the Sixes corridor. “Holly Springs will not be able to retroactively correct ultra-modern or cheap-looking commercial buildings once they are up. The time is now to raise the bar.”
In an email sent Thursday, a RaceTrac representative said the Sixes location would feature one of the company’s newer building designs that include a large coffee bar and a frozen dessert station.
The company said they were working with community members to finalize their designs for the store and looking to begin construction sometime in early 2018.
But Kriner said the last thing her community wants to see is Sixes Road “become another Highway 92.”
“It would be the first thing you see when you come off the interstate,” she said. “I’m really concerned with that because we’re trying to keep the entrance to our Sixes corridor looking classy.”
She said she isn’t opposed to working with the store, but would like to see them open to the idea of changing their design plans to something that better suits the theme of the area.
“I don’t think we’re a hard group to work with and we are willing to accommodate having a RaceTrac,” Kriner said. “But we would like them to consider that we live here all the time. They come in and they build something and they leave, but we’re here looking at it every time we come home.”
Seufert said he hopes to work with the developer to get some of the gas station’s elements changed in order to give the structure more of a “country look.”
Tuesday’s public information meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. in the Woodstock Public Library at 7735 Main Street.