A plan to build a Family Dollar store on the corner of South Fairview Drive and West Milledgeville Road was halted by the Harlem City Council after complaints from nearby residents and concerns about road safety.
Last week, council members denied a rezoning request from Barrett Edmunds and his three siblings for the 1.05-acre parcel next to Starling Funeral Home. It was the third time a rezoning request for the property has been denied in 10 years.
"The traffic issue is the main safety issue," said Mayor Scott Dean. "The road just doesn't support that kind of traffic."
A power pole on the corner already causes a bottleneck of traffic in and out of Fairview Drive, which is narrow and leads to the Shady Grove subdivision. According to Dean, it would cost $50,000 to move the pole.
James Finley, attorney for the Edmunds family, said the site plan for the property showed only an exit on Fairview and an entrance and exit on Milledgeville.
That was still too dependent on Fairview, Shady Grove residents said.
"Any access (to Fairview), an entrance or an exit, is still going to add too much congestion to that street," said Linda Bailey, a Shady Grove resident, at the council meeting. "It will just add more traffic problems. It is still strongly a safety issue."
Edmunds, his brother Charles and two sisters, Virginia Neal and Ella Dozier, inherited the property when Barrett Edmunds died in 1995.
"We would like to sell it," Edmunds said. "We need to get rid of it. We really want to sell it, but we really don't have to. We can let it sit there."
Dean said the site probably is more suitable for a professional development such as a doctor's office.
"It is not that we are being choosy. It is that we want to maintain the stability of that neighborhood," Dean said. "It is a stable neighborhood and it is a safety concern here. It would just increase the problem that is already there."
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