Following one of three public hearings at its most recent meeting, the Woodstock City Council denied a conditional-use permit request for a used car dealership on Georgia Highway 92.

The site listed in the permit application is at the corner of Highway 92 and Hickory Ridge Trail and is the site of an unoccupied gas station, according to Process Planner Dakota Carruthers. She explained the building was last occupied in 2018 when Play Systems, Inc. was on the property. Carruthers added that a permit for the site was submitted to the city in 2019 for a coffee roasting and manufacturing business, as well as a coffee shop, but that it was withdrawn before the city planning commission could weigh in on it.

Based on the site plan submitted for the permit, Carruthers said there were projected to be 30 parking spots on the lot, while employees and customers visiting the business would be parking under the facility’s canopy. The application also said there would be no mechanical work done on site and that vehicles being sold on the lot would be driven there, instead of being loaded and unloaded from tractor-trailers delivering them to the property.

When submitting their recommendations to the council, city staff noted a handful of concerns about the use of the property as a dealership. This included a potential conflict with the redevelopment taking place on some of the surrounding properties, possible traffic issues the dealership could generate and the fact that another used car lot is located almost directly across Highway 92 from the location.

“Staff (the development process committee) did recommend denial of this request,” Carruthers said. “We took this to the planning commission on Dec. 3, and the same recommendation of denial was made there.”

The applicant was not present for the hearing, and nobody signed up to speak either in support of or in opposition to the matter. However, there were a couple of questions the council was interested in having answered.

“Are the gas tanks still in the ground from the prior existing gas station? Have they taken them out? Do they have to by code? I’m just wondering how that works,” Councilman David Potts asked.

“The gas tanks are still underground, but the gas has been removed for some time,” Carruthers responded. After checking with the city fire marshal, she said their still being on the site would not present a problem.

With no additional questions coming from the council, a motion to deny the request was put on the table and approved in a unanimous vote.

“I think staff and the planning commission has rightly judged the criteria here. I had kind of looked forward to seeing the other side from the applicant on the criteria, but without them present, I think they made the right decision,” Councilman Colin Ake said.

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