Editor’s Note: The following update on a new 24-hour gas and convenience store being remodeled in north Midtown was sent by the Ansley Park Civic Association to the neighborhood residents. Despite strong opposition from the Ansley and Sherwood Forest neighborhoods, the store’s proprietor last month was granted a license to sell beer and wine by the city's License Review Board.
More on this developing story here:
Around-the-clock beer/wine sales proposed for old Shell station
By now you've probably heard of a plan to redevelop the closed gas station at the northwest corner of Ansley Park into a gas station/convenience store that sells beer and wine around the clock.
We hope what you've heard is accurate, but we know wrong information is circulating through our neighborhood. This communication aims to correct the record.
The prospect of a retailer selling cash and carry beer and wine in the middle of the night next to our homes raises concerns about increased crime and other trouble coming to Ansley Park's doorstep.
We want the applicant to agree to shut down operations altogether between midnight and 6 a.m. every morning, in addition to granting us lighting, site plan and other considerations.
Where we are now
We expect it will take three to five months for the applicant to trigger the next steps toward his goal of opening the new operation.
The applicant, Alex Panjwani, is in the process of reconfiguring the old Shell station site at Peachtree Street and Peachtree Circle. After the construction is completed, he will need letters from three city departments confirming he complies with pertinent ordinances. (Letters from the city fire department and buildings department and the county health department are needed - inspectors will wait until the relevant section is complete to inspect and, if it passes, issue the letters).
When these letters are presented to the Atlanta mayor, he may take up to 60 days to review the documents, as well as the recent positive recommendation issued by the city's License Review Board (LRB). The LRB is a six-member committee organized to advise the mayor whether to approve or deny an application to sell alcohol. It recommended approval of the license at a public meeting in December by close vote of 3 to 2 (one member did not vote).
After reviewing the letters, the mayor may approve the application, send it back to the LRB for further consideration, or deny it for "due cause."
How did we get here?
After filing his application with the city last fall, Mr. Panjwani met with various citizen review committees. Those include the Ansley Park Civic Association (APCA) Zoning and Land Use Committee, the Midtown Neighbors Association, Neighborhood Planning Unit E and the Design Review Committee.
These committees can make nonbinding recommendations and negotiate with applicants for physical site changes, such as lighting and location of curb cuts. Recommendations were made to the applicant in hopes he would mitigate some of our security concerns, as well as enhance the visual impact of the redeveloped project.
But the applicant and his representatives have maintained an attitude of non-cooperation. They rejected our request to meet further and negotiate. They refused to provide us with requested information. And they declined to incorporate almost all of our recommendations.
Leaders of the APCA and its Zoning Committee will monitor the city's inspection process and report back to you electronically when events warrant. The three departmental reviews will be positive - or not - based on objective criteria. For example, either the completed building will meet fire codes, or not.
We will be collecting supporting documentation in coming weeks about the problems selling alcohol late at night poses to Ansley Park. We will do our best to show there is "due cause" to deny the applicant a permit.
The good news is we have time to regroup, negotiate with the applicant (if he's willing) and work toward a favorable outcome for the neighborhood.
We hope this communication helps you understand what has happened so far and what we expect in coming months.
Thank you for your support and your continued commitment to Ansley Park. The APCA Board and its Zoning Committee would like to thank John McCosh for his input in drafting this message.
President, Ansley Park Civic Association
Chair, APCA Zoning and Land Use Committee