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CID director: Kill project before spending money on reservations

SNELLVILLE - If politics are going to kill a road project in Snellville, an official with the U.S. Highway 78 Community Improvement District asked the City Council Monday to kill it now.

Brett Harrell, executive director of the CID, said he saw benefits in a proposed $1 million project to connect restaurants along U.S. 78 near Ga. Highway 124 by building a road behind them.

But he said he'd rather not spend $150,000 on engineering and traffic studies if the council will buckle to political pressure from the surrounding neighbors.

Last month, one councilman proposed the city hold a public hearing on the project and four others the CID has plans for within the city limits. But the CID declined to participate.

On Monday, Harrell and other officials did a presentation for the council during a work session, but citizens weren't allowed to speak.

"I'm not impressed at all," said Dave Foster, president of the Nob Hill and Millbrook subdivisions' homeowners associations, after the meeting. "There were questions that could have been asked."

Foster said he's concerned that Restaurant Row, which would connect Knollwood Road to Oak Road, would bring commercial or high-density residential development into the Nob Hill neighborhood.

He's also concerned about people cutting through the neighborhood because of traffic on the road.

Council members Barbara Bender and Bruce Garraway asked questions about the possibility of changing the route to end before Oak Road, limiting it as an access road to the restaurants.

Harrell said the possibility existed, but he urged the council to refrain from changing the route until the traffic studies are complete.

The CID needs council approval before any work begins on the project, and Harrell pointed out several times that the council could decide later on not to build the road.

But he said he didn't want to waste money on the study if the council was already swayed against the project.

Harrell said he hopes to get the businesses to dedicate the land needed for the road and wants to use state and federal grants that have already been promised to the CID.

Councilman Robert Jenkins said he wasn't ready to commit to the idea.

"We don't really have enough information to make a good decision," he said.

Other projects the CID hopes to accomplish within the city limits include a realignment of McGee Road that would help neighbors leaving the area when the Georgia Department of Transportation installs a median along U.S. 78 and a greenway along Scenic Drive.

Despite the possibility of a project to transform the U.S. 78 and Ga. 124 intersection in five years or so, Harrell said the CID also wants to move forward on a $250,000 landscaping project at the intersection.

There was no vote at Monday's meeting and no indication of when the City Council would make a decision on the projects.