Cobb BOC denies request for oil change business in Canton Road area


The Cobb County Board of Commissioners at its zoning meeting last Tuesday refused an application for permission from an oil change business on Canton Road, which is prohibited by corridor stipulations put in place in 2007, when the area was rezoned Neighborhood Retail Commercial.

Audience Overview

What was the request?

The application was to authorize the construction of a three-bay oil change facility at 2023 Canton Road.

Why was the request necessary?

Light automotive repairs are prohibited under the land use guidelines for the corridor.

What do the neighbors think of the app?

Thirteen neighbors showed up at the hearing in opposition, with a petition signed by 96 residents of adjacent housing estates.

What was the plaintiff’s main argument?

The person speaking in support of the application, commercial real estate broker John McCormick, argued that conditions along Canton Road made preferred neighborhood uses (restaurants, cafes) unfeasible and that a new sewage facility oil would be an improvement.

How did the commissioners vote?

The vote went 5-0 to deny the request.

What happened at the hearing?

The property is located at 2320 Canton Road, at the southeast intersection of Canton Road and Liberty Hill Road.

According to the meeting agenda file:

The subject property was zoned Neighborhood Retail Commercial (NRC) in 2007 for retail. The applicant would like to amend the zoning stipulations to allow for a light auto repair facility on the property. The existing building will be demolished and a new one-storey four-sided brick building with three service bays will be constructed. If approved, all previous provisions not in conflict with this revision shall remain in effect.

District 3 Commissioner JoAnn Birrell requested that the plaintiff, Lonnie Shor, ask him to come to the podium and explain why he wanted the case continued, since there had already been one.

Shor said, “We got some new information that we need to research.”

Birrell asked if the prohibited use he is requesting changes.

Sho said no.

Birrell asked Carol Brown, who was representing Canton Neighbors at the hearing, to come to the podium and say what she thought about continuing the case until a next meeting.

Brown said 13 people were meeting in opposition and the petition opposing the oil change facility had 96 signatures from neighbors in the immediate area.

“It’s the use that’s wrong,” Brown said. “And unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough change in this whole area since the 2007 zoning where these steps were put in place. “

“If people have made the effort to come here this morning, and if the practice does not change, we would prefer the case to be heard today,” she said, “if it suits this commission.” That’s all I have to say really, I don’t think anything will change.

John McCormick, who describes himself as a commercial real estate developer, presented the case for the application allowing the construction of the oil change facility and said 136 signatures had been collected in support of the application.

McCormick listed a number of places that attract people to restaurants and cafes, such as Marietta Square, Downtown and The Battery, and said conditions on Canton Road make it unlikely that such businesses will thrive there.

“The community says, ‘Oh, we want this, we want that, we’re going to support it.’ They are not. They’re going to downtown Marietta. They’re going to downtown Woodstock. They choose to walk. There is no possibility of walking here. What there is is 8 or 10,000 more cars than when the full report was written. Because it’s a hallway.

Brown took to the podium to oppose the app.

“The NRC has 33 authorized uses and 14 special exceptional uses for a total of 47.” she says. “Two sub-categories, convenience stores and professional offices, list 60 possibilities.”

“That’s a lot of potential uses,” she said. “The stipulations we got in the 2007 zoning excluded 12 uses. Among them were a full-service gas station and light auto repairs.

“It was one of the excluded uses present in the zoning stipulations when Mr. Shor acquired the property in 2011.”

“The area is overused by automobile uses, and that was the case in 2007, which was one of the reasons, along with the Canton Road steering committee report, which found there were too many uses automobiles on this corridor,” Brown said. “And that really hasn’t changed.”

“At present, there are five automotive uses plus the popular Racetrac, and if approved, there would be six.”

She requested that the application be dismissed.

Birrell made a motion to deny the request, and the BOC backed his motion 5-0.

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