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Snellville council votes down access-road study

SNELLVILLE - Residents turned out in force at Monday night's Snellville City Council meeting to urge council members to vote against approving a preliminary engineering study on a proposed access road in the city.

The $150,000 study is a waste of money, said every resident who spoke Monday night.

The proposed access road would be built behind "restaurant row" in Snellville, from Oak Road to Knollwood Road and in front of Nob Hill subdivision. The study, which would be commissioned and funded by the community improvement district, would examine topography and the impact on area traffic, among other factors.

When Councilwoman Barbara Bender made the motion to give Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer the OK to proceed with the study, she reasoned that without the road the five fast-food restaurants along U.S. Highway 78 near Ga. Highway 124 would suffer financially. Bender's rationale for that loss of business is the median that will soon be built down the middle of U.S. 78.

"When that median comes through, all of those restaurants will lose about 50 percent of their business. There's an issue of declining economics there ... undesirable businesses coming in there will hurt all of our property values in Snellville," Bender said.

But David Foster, president of the Nob Hill Homeowners Association, said the proposed access road already has been promised to restaurants on the row as enticement to get them on board with the CID and its projects.

"I think we have to wonder why the CID is pushing this so hard," Foster said.

Other residents worried about one individual purchasing three homes, all of which would have frontage on the proposed bypass road. Outraged residents speculated that rezoning of those properties would come next, then high-density housing or commercial development. The owner of these three properties has since moved out of the area, according to one resident.

Oberholtzer admonished those who spoke against going ahead with a study of the proposed road to suggest other ways to relieve traffic in the already heavily bogged area around Oak Road. Some suggested the fast-food restaurants along the proposed bypass road give up some property in front of their establishments along U.S. 78 to ease traffic. Others pointed out that the planned median along U.S. 78 would have places for drivers to turn, allowing business to continue along restaurant row. But again and again, the question was asked, "Why build an access road to benefit five fast-food restaurants?"

The CID study of "Project 22," the restaurant row parallel road, was voted down 4-2, with Oberholtzer and Bender casting the only "yes" votes.

A CID study concerning alignment of the intersection at McGee Road and U.S. 78 was approved and will be under way soon.