Fischer Road residents oppose county fueling station

Thu, 05/21/2009 - 3:39pm
By: Ben Nelms

Approximately 60 east Coweta residents concerned about a proposed county fueling station to be located next to the fire station on Fischer Road near I-85 met Tuesday at the fire station adjacent to Northgate High School to express their opposition. Group members said they will attend the June 2 commission meeting to continue that opposition.

The meeting, and two others scheduled later in the week, followed the comments of area resident Leonardo Romero at the county commission earlier in the month. Romero and others at that meeting noted their objections to the installation of the fueling station based on concerns such as visual and safety issues and on the likely smell of fuel wafting across Fischer Road and onto their property. Residents at the commission meeting and those at the May 19 meeting also cited issues such as potential health effects from gasoline or diesel fumes, ground contamination from possible fuel leaks, a decrease in home value, traffic congestion in a residential area, likely accidents caused by county and school system vehicles entering and leaving the station and other accident concerns with drivers mistaking deceleration lanes for the main road.

Residents have maintained that, essentially, they are not opposed to the station as long as it is not located on property adjacent to the fire station at Northgate.

Local resident Ken Newsome was one of those attending the May 19 meeting at the fire station.

“They are putting it, basically, in a residential area. From the turnout here you see that people don’t want it,” he said. “The whole thing here is that we feel unsafe. The street out here is a two-lane street that they can’t make any bigger. And it’s going to create a safety hazard. Plus, they don’t have enough room over there to accommodate the school buses and police cars. It’s just not that big an area. I don’t see how they could consider it, but here we are.”

Area resident Jim Miller was also at the meeting to express his disfavor with the proposal. Among other concerns expressed by residents at the fire station and at the commission meeting, Miller and Newsome questioned the effectiveness of having a berm install along Fischer Road to shield the fueling station from view. They said it would likely not prohibit the view from homes across the street even if the berm was planted with tall plants.

“It‘s a poor choice by location. It’s a poor choice for use,” Miller said. “It’s not justified that anybody can demonstrate yet in the county budget or in the school board budget, as far as the cost-justification goes. There are already ample fueling area around the county and there are also other proposed locations that are more centrally located, we believe, for this use. This location is at the northeast corner of Coweta County, which is not centrally adjacent to anything and no one yet has demonstrated any need. End of story.”

Commenting Monday night on the proposed fueling station, county administrator Theron Gay said county staff would be bringing more information on the proposal to the next commission meeting.

“The board had asked us to be able to bring back some additional information for their consideration. The staff is working on that, getting information from the county and also from the school system. And we plan on bringing this to the board at the June 2 meeting, Gay said.”

Concerned residents also met Thursday night and plan to have an additional meeting at the fire station Friday night at 7 p.m. in hopes that representatives from the county commission will attend. Residents said they intend to be present at the June 2 commission meeting to press for having the proposed site reconsidered.

The proposed fueling site is located at the north end of Fischer Road as it takes a sharp right turn at the right-of-way of I-85. It is located on property bordered by the fire station on the south and I-85 to the north and west. Approximately three homes are positioned directly across Fischer Road from the site.

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