By John Schaffner

About a dozen residents of the small, dead-end extension of Wieuca Road west of Roswell Road and of Lake Forrest Lane are raising a large number of objections to a proposed Pollo Tropical restaurant at 4402 Roswell Road.

They appeared at the September meeting of the Neighborhood Planning Unit B Zoning Committee as the restaurant sought a special exception to allow for a drive-in facility in the first 100 feet of a parcel that abuts a residence.

After almost an hour of discussion, the committee took no vote on the application at its Sept. 28 meeting, leaving the decision up to the full NPU-B board. The board is expected to consider that application on Oct. 5.

Residents worried about noise from the drive-through speaker at the restaurant and traffic that would exit onto Wieuca Road in order to use the traffic signal for left turns onto northbound Roswell Road.

The new restaurant is planned for the property where Lucy’s Market now is set up. It would stand next to a building that houses Batteries-Plus, U-Haul and Subway and is located on the corner of Roswell and Wieuca roads.

The site, which totals 1.726 acres, is zoned C-1 for the front 1.128 acres and R-3 for the half-acre at the rear. The rear area bumps up against residences on the back and side property lines. Those residences front on the short, dead-end Wieuca Road extension and on Lake Forrest Lane, which circles off Lake Forrest Drive.

Attorney Jessica Hill, who represented the restaurant pointed out eight conditions her client had already agreed with the Chastain Park Civic Association and the neighbors to the property, but some of those attending the committee meeting said they were not aware of those conditions.

One of the conditions was to locate the drive-in speaker so that it would be 100 feet from the corner of the residential property at 168 Lake Forrest Lane. The applicant also agreed to add 75 more feet of 6-foot-tall, board-on-board wood fencing along the southern lot line to help buffer any noise from the speaker.

The restaurant also agreed to provide a landscaping plan including fencing and screening to ensure remediation of acoustical concerns related to the drive-through speaker projecting into the adjacent neighborhood. The fencing and landscaping would go along the rear of the C-1 portion of the site and the R-3 portion would be left as a grass buffer area.

Amy Fike, who lives at 4742 Wieuca Road N.E., led most of the objections to the traffic exiting the restaurant using access through the U-Haul business’ parking lot onto Wieuca Road.

“We residents are already living under duress in a dangerous situation,” she said. “This will just add more traffic to an already busy street.”

The Sandy Springs fire station is located on Wieuca Road almost across from the U-Haul business.

The committee made it clear to the residents that it could only decide on whether the applicant made a case for being granted the “special exception” based on the city’s ordinances. “The committee is tied to dealing with the law,” Zoning Committee Chairman Cory Tibbs said.

Committee member Sally Silver said the main criteria the applicant needs to meet for a special exception is an unusual hardship. “They have an unusual hardship because of the split zoning of the property,” she said.

The applicant’s attorney and representatives of the community were urged to meet before the full NPU-B board meeting to iron out their differences and to bring any resolution they reach to the Oct. 5 meeting.

In other action, the Zoning Committee approved an application by GDC Tuxedo LLC for a special exception to reduce the off-street parking requirements at Tuxedo Festival shopping center, 3655 Roswell Road, from 301 parking spaces required by the ordinances to 210 requested.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.