Forsyth Planning & Zoning Commission/Design & Review board heard updated plans on June 25 for construction on the former Regency Motel property on Highway 83 at the I-75 exit 187. Tushar Patel of Royal Seven Group said that a convenience store, gas station, Papa John’s Pizza, Moe’s Grill and Huddle House will be one unit, and Zaxby’s will be in a free standing building, Plans no longer include a car wash.

Patel presented a form from the Towaliga Soil & Water conservation District saying the erosion and sediment control plan for the 3.59 acres meets the requirements of the erosion and sediment control ordinance in Forsyth. Patel said Royal Seven Group has brought in new architectural plans for the site. Plan designer Paul Kelly also attended the Planning & Zoning meeting.

Patel said the station will be a BP, with gas pumps out front. There will be two pumps at each island except for the gas island on the end, which will have three pumps. There will be restrooms located centrally to serve all businesses in the main building. 

Huddle House is the only business in the main building that will have a separate entrance. Georgia Department of Transportation has approved the entry to the complex, but has only approved the interstate signage so far. The convenience store will be open 24/7 and will have a walk-in beer cooler. Zaxby’s restaurant will set its own hours. 

P&Z chair Martin Presley asked if plans for grease collection have been approved in view of there being several restaurants at the location. Patel said they have. He said that plans are about nine months behind but that site work is done and Royal Seven Group is ready to start construction of the buildings. The Royal Seven Group website projects the end of 2019 as opening date, but that will probably be delayed a few months. 

Planning & Zoning member Silas Peed asked what the highest point of the building will be and Kelly said 28’ at the highest point. The siding will be metal with a wood look, not cinder blocks. There will be a flat, low-slope roof. In response to another question from Peed, Patel said they are planning enough trash receptacles. He said the building will be much like the BP station at the Jackson-Griffin I-75 Exit 205 (Highway 16). The outside area will be grass rather than concrete. P&Z member Ainsley Hall said that she likes the plans except for the metal siding. 

Royal Seven Group’s website says it has operated convenience stores in the South Atlanta area for over 11 years. It operates Papa John’s Pizza retaurants inside the Shell Station at Exit 205 and in Williamson and Thomaston. It operates the Huddle House at Exit 205 as well as planning one in Forsyth. 

“You’re going to have a lot of traffic coming down Highway 83,” said Presley. 

“We keep it clean and nice,” said Patel. “People like that, and the community likes it.”

The Planning & Zoning Commission/Design & Review unanimously approved the plans contingent on the building inspector reviewing them and specific plans for signs being approved. Board members present were Presley, Hal Clarke, Peed and Hall. Board members Cason Ogletree, Jennifer Taylor, and Steve Coleman were not at the meeting.

In other Forsyth P & Z board news: 

• Presley asked Forsyth Economic Developer Tammie Pierson about the status of the motion P&Z approved at its April 22 meeting to amend the criteria for P&Z commission members. He asked if the motion had come before city council for approval. The motion is that people who have businesses within Forsyth city limits are eligible to be appointed to P&Z even if they don’t live in the city limits.

“I don’t do anything with board member criteria,” said Pierson. “I think you need to talk to [City Manager] Janice [Hall].”

“We approved the motion so it should go to council. Do I need to get on the agenda?” said Presley. “It is now limited to those who live in the city limits. We have talented, capable people who would serve.”

Presley noted that at the April 22 meeting P&Z had also discussed whether there should be a requirement that board members attend a certain percentage of meetings in order to stay on the board. P&Z has cancelled some meetings because a quorum of members did not attend. Presley said it is especially embarrassing when business people come with a presentation and there is not a quorum present. 

City Attorney Bobby Melton said there is nothing in the city code about attendance. City council would need to amend the code to address attendance through a regulation. However, all city board members serve at the pleasure of council and can be removed at any time. 

P&Z Commission member Hal Clarke said that as they look at ordinances, they should consider one that restricts the backs of houses in subdivisions from facing a main road. 

“We don’t want a nice [subdivision] entrance framed by the backs of houses,” said Presley. 

“They need to move away from the entrance or have a dirt berm,” said Clarke.