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Rezoning request denied for potential Chick-fil-A site

Rezoning request denied for potential Chick-fil-A site

Traffic concerns and opposition from several residents thwarted the rezoning of a dormant property on Poplar Ave. that would have likely been the site of Germantown’s second Chick-fil-A restaurant.
Last week, the city’s Planning Commission denied a commercial rezoning request for 3.69 acres on the north side of Poplar, just west of Forest Hill-Irene Road.
A zoning change would allow the property to be used for commercial purposes.
Referred to as the Skinner Property, the land is divided into two parcels and is currently zoned as agricultural and residential.
A Chick-fil-A was being considered for construction on the Poplar parcel.
The property borders the Exxon Mobil gas station to the west and north.
Representing the property owners, Harvey Marcom of the Reaves Firm said the Skinner family has owned the land for more than 90 years and currently owns a home, which was built in 2014, to the north of the property.
“The intended use of the property is consistent with the growth that has taken place along Poplar Ave.,” he noted. “This site plan did not come about over night.”
He said that the agricultural parcel was labeled such in the early 1980s.
“It was indicated that the property should be zoned ‘agricultural’ until such time as a use is defined,” he said. “I think that time has come. There has been a world of change out there.
However, neighbors expressed concerns over possible traffic problems that the restaurant would bring to the area.
Dr. Esmond L. Arrindell Jr. and Adrienne Arrindell live on nearby on Belle Fleurs Cove.
“Rezoning this property will create an undue burden on surrounding residents with respect to traffic, property use and property values, and will create a zoning precedent that will harm the character of Germantown going forward,” they wrote. “The traffic generated by rezoning this land will create unmanageable traffic problems at this intersection and will reduce the safety of our residential property.”
Alvin and Carla Ray, who live on Forest Hill Lane, shared similar concerns.
“We have been homeowners since 1995,” they wrote, “and have certainly enjoyed the tranquil setting we have gotten accustomed to for these 24 years of living here. One of the attractions that drew us to this street and house was the quiet, serene atmosphere about this street, and certainly hope that it remains this way.
“In the area where Forest Hill Lane meets Forest Hill-Irene during the school time it’s almost impossible to get out of the community, due to Forest Hill Irene being a two lane road with a tree line, to make a left turn from the community is extremely dangerous,” they added. “We do not need any additional traffic.”
Bill and Donna Adams also live on Forest Hill Lane.
“The proposed rezoning seems to be advancing one individual to the disadvantage of many, potentially the whole of Germantown. Forest Hill is a beautiful two lane ‘country road,'” they wrote, “which was not designed to carry the volume of traffic it has now, and especially not the increase in traffic that a popular restaurant like Chick-fil-A would bring. This increase in traffic will potentially force the city to widen Forest Hill.”
More than 80 residents have signed a petition against the rezoning request. Among the signatures was Rodney and Denise Tubbs.
“This would create huge problems for my street and others,” they noted. “And by their own admission, the traffic study did not take into consideration the new school further down Forest Hill-Irene. The traffic congestion and issues this proposal would create is undeniable.”
Other residents were in favor of the promise of a commercial development at the intersection.
“A physical review of the site demonstrates that it is in an area that is not acceptable for residential development,” wrote Philip K. Smith of Johnson Road. “The site fronts Poplar, is bordered by existing commercial real estate and is directly across from well-established commercial development.
“we as citizens of Germantown seek quiet, safe and secure neighborhoods,” he added, “but welcome corporate and commercial development that meets our needs, supports our communities, provides important tax revenue and fulfills the longstanding, restrictive and unique development objectives of our city.”
Chick-fil-A representatives were present at the meeting but Chairman Mike Harless said that the Commission was only considering zoning matters.
“We’re here to consider the rezoning of this property. We are not here to discuss what goes on the property if it was rezoned,” he said.
Germantown currently has one Chick-fil-A at 1230 S Germantown Road.

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