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DeKalb commissioners vote withdrawal for potential liquor store
by Christine Fonville
August 05, 2014 11:37 AM | 1685 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DeKalb County residents and business owners who have been working to keep a liquor store from occupying a vacant building at 2788 Lawrenceville Hwy. in Decatur, said although the board of commissioners voted to support a withdrawal without prejudice of the special land use permit for the potential business at a recent meeting, they are “a bit confused” over this action by the board.

“As a community, we’re a bit confused about how the withdrawal was allowed to be submitted at the 11th hour when the current choices on the table were approve or deny,” said Debbie Maddox, a resident who has spoken out against the proposed liquor store at various meetings.

According to Maddox, property owner Mathew Miller spoke on behalf of the applicant for the business at the meeting and said his applicant, Basil Gordon, wished to withdraw his application.

The board then voted to support a withdrawal without prejudice. 

“To our great dismay and astonishment, Commissioner [Jeff] Rader originated a motion to withdraw the SLUP application and added insult by amending his motion to include ‘without prejudice’ and the motion carried,” said resident Beryl Berquist. “The options before the board were to approve or deny the SLUP and only denial of the application would have given out-of-state owner Matthew Miller the incentive to actually work with the neighborhoods in DeKalb. To have the combined neighborhoods’ strength eviscerated by an unsolicited motion to withdraw belittles everyone’s efforts to build a better community.”

Rader said the board took no action to approve or deny the special land use permit because the applicant requested a withdrawal and a denial could further impede development on the site.

“If a zoning proposal SLUP is disapproved, there can be no other proposals for rezoning made on the property for two years,” he said. “This is a vacant parcel and we would like to see something go in there without the risk of having to wait for two years.”

Rader said the reason for the two-year wait after a proposal is denied is because often times, property owners would continue to submit the same proposal repeatedly.

“Now when an applicant withdraws a proposal, he or she is likely to come back with something different,” he said. “Our interest is in the community and bringing new, attractive development and attracting those businesses to our county.”

Although Miller said at the meeting his applicant had found approval to open the liquor store in another location, he did not disclose where that location is or if it is in the county.

Now, residents and business owners in the area said they will continue to work actively to see improvements in and around the Lawrenceville Highway corridor.

“We will be watching the property closely for new notices and are working in good faith with Mr. Miller to help provide ideas on businesses that would satisfy his business needs and our community’s wishes,” said Maddox.

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