Commissioners delay McDonald’s vote 30 days

5/30/2014, 6:08 a.m.
Gwyneth Zachary told commissioners she is opposed to the restaurant. “I eat there all the time," she said, "but I would like a choice of other restaurants. Two McDonald’s in the same vicinity is just ludicrous to me.” Photo by Curtis Parker

A decision on whether McDonald’s Corp. can build a second restaurant on Wesley Chapel Road won’t come until June.

The DeKalb Board of Commissioners unanimously deferred the vote for 30 days and is expected to vote on it at its June 24 meeting.

Both districts 3 and 7 Commissioners Larry Johnson and Stan Watson, who represent the area, said they needed time to get more input from the company and to talk with the operator of the existing store that has been located near the Wesley Chapel/I-20 West ramp for 30 years.

McDonald’s is seeking a special land use permit to build dual drive-through lanes on a proposed new store on a 0.82-acre site in the Kroger shopping center at the intersection of Wesley Chapel and South Hairston Road.

Waylon Hoge, the project’s civil engineer, said the new 4,218-square-foot restaurant at 2739 Wesley Chapel Road is six-tenths of a mile from the existing store on the other side of I-20.

He said that customers on the north side of the interstate won’t cross I-20 and the median to get to it.

He told commissioners that the new store will bring 60 to 80 jobs and will improve the Wesley Chapel Square shopping center.

“We will sit in the identical footprint of the old Hardee’s restaurant that used to be there,” he said.

Beth Von, a member of the District 3 Community Council, said the council asks for a full-cycle deferral of 60 days to give McDonald’s the opportunity to bring the operator to the council to answer questions about hours of operations and staffing issues.

Gwyneth Zachary, a 25-year resident of Sterling Forest subdivision, said she is opposed to the restaurant.

“I like McDonald’s,” she told the commissioners. “I eat there all the time, but I would like a choice of other restaurants. Two McDonald’s in the same vicinity is just ludicrous to me.”

Watson said he wanted to make sure that over the 30 days, they involve the operator of the current McDonald’s.

“We need to sit down with him,” he said. “We need to make sure this person remains whole as well. We need to see what we can do to help him move forward with his business and see what plans he has for development or remodel.”

Johnson said they are trying to balance need, economic development and not having a dilapidated or vacant space on the corridor.

“What realistically can you put on 0.82 acre to have the type of quality that we want,” he said.

Johnson said the 30-day deferral will give them the time to look at all those things in totality.

“Do we keep a vacant lot or create traffic and jobs,” he said. “That’s the dilemma we have.”