Snellville approves rezoning along Scenic Highway

SNELLVILLE -- City leaders voted unanimously Monday to approve the rezoning of two parcels of land in the city -- a 6.41 acre parcel located at 1580 Janmar Road, and a 4.58 acre parcel at 1575 Scenic Highway. A vacant car dealership and Home Depot Landscape Center formerly occupied these two sites.

The land will be home to an Academy Sports and Outdoor retail center and two other outparcels intended for restaurant or retail use.

"This will be a much nicer appearance coming down (Highway) 124," said Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Bender after the matter was put to a vote.

This redevelopment of what several council members called Monday "an eyesore" didn't come without much deliberation. Located behind the planned development are medical and dental offices, as well as land slated for residential development. At issue were both Academy Sports' receiving area and potential truck traffic on Janmar Road. Some residents said that they wanted to be assured of proper screening of loading docks, and others said they simply are not happy that heavy trucks will be using Janmar Road, a city street.

Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer said when Lowe's moved into its location along Scenic Highway, that company paid to rebuild the entire length of Janmar Road to accommodate heavy trucks.

The developer of the project said that his company is in talks with a "national restaurateur" to move into one of the outparcels. This news is music to Snellville city leaders' ears and comes on the heels of the voters' decision to allow Sunday sales of alcohol in the city, a big draw for restaurants.

Several variances were granted to the developer in an effort to make this re-development work. Joe Anderson, a former Snellville councilman and District 9 state senate candidate, said that he has never seen so many variances granted to an applicant in 20 years.

"This was a real tough rezoning. I want to thank everyone for coming together on it," Oberholtzer said.

Tourism and Trade

Don Britt, president of Snellville Tourism and Trade, updated Oberholtzer and city council members Monday on the progress of the fledgling organization. Designed to attract visitors and businesses to the city, STAT now has 21 members.

Already in the works are a fall festival planned for Oct. 23 and the annual Christmas Celebration. The organization is selling Christmas ornaments at the weekly Farmers Market, with all proceeds going to the Christmas event.