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Howell Station neighbors call foul on plans for gas station near Beltline corridor

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The proposal, which includes a new convenience store, would neighbor part of the Beltline’s Westside Trail

a picture of an auto shop
This auto shop is expected to be razed to make way for gas pumps and a convenience store.
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An aging auto repair shop on Howell Station’s West Marietta Street is slated to be razed and replaced with a four-pump gas station, and some neighbors aren’t happy about it.

The property sits at the corner of West Marietta and Rice streets, just east of the under-construction Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry. It’s part of the Beltline Overlay District, neighboring a section of single-family homes.

A segment of the Beltline’s Westside Trail is expected to run just west of the proposed gas station in coming years, via what are now lanes of West Marietta Street.

Nina Gentry, a representative for the property owner, filed an application for a Special Administrative Permit with the City of Atlanta zoning office May 13.

But some neighbors living near the proposal, namely members of the Howell Station Neighborhood Association, say plans for the new gas station and convenience store need to fizzle out.

“Obviously, this is not a use we support due to the quality-of-life issues presented by a gas station abutting single-family residential, proximity to the Beltline, as well as traffic at that intersection being already difficult to navigate,” reads an email the organization’s board sent to city and Beltline officials and provided to Curbed Atlanta.

The board concedes that service stations are allowed in the Beltline Overlay District, but a member of the board, who asked to remain anonymous, said they’d previously told Gentry the proposed project “is clearly the opposite” of what they’d like to see at the property.

Gentry could not be reached for comment by press time, and this story will be updated should we receive a response to inquiries.

Additionally, per the neighborhood source, the current zoning designation prohibits the construction of a gas station.

Via the zoning code:

Transitional uses: Where a lot in this district abuts a lot in any R-1 through R-G district at the side along the same street frontage, and without an intervening street, the first lot within this district, or the first 100 feet of such lot if it is wider than 100 feet, shall not be used for any secured-storage facility, drive-in facility, car wash, service station, mortuary or funeral home, sales lot for automobiles, or body shop.

“Unfortunately, service stations are allowed in the Beltline Overlay, but they must conform to all of the streetscape regulations, including not locating pumps between the building and the street,” said the source. “This site may not be considered to be bound by three streets as a single-family residential property extends [next to] the existing body shop.”

The source asserted that the developers are attempting to “creatively replat the lot to pretend there’s a buffer lot adjacent to the [residences], and they’re trying to claim the existing body shop is actually a service station and therefore grandfathered in.”

Have a look below at initial site plans for what’s called the JC Superior Automotive Redevelopment, per filings with the city.