To permit the establishment of the Foxborough Avenue McDonalds, the county has irreversibly established a most terrible precedence. You too can wake up one morning to find a Fast food store being built in your front yard.Like many of us, he wondered what the county government is thinking:
I cannot comprehend how the county can possibly benefit from allowing such an establishment to be built in a quite county residential neighborhood. Is it because it provides unskilled low paying jobs? Will this McDonalds look good on a resume? It was my understanding that Valdosta and Lowndes County wanted to attract a more skilled, professional work force. The real estate on Foxborough Avenue the county permitted McDonalds to build on would have been, and is prime real estate for just such a professional enterprise….Good questions.
Here’s the video:
Residential home owners of Lowndes County take notice —Vince Schneider @ LCC 14 June 2011
Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 14 June 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.
After Vince Schneider finished reading his letter, Chairman Ashley Paulk handed him a paper, which was apparently a communication from County Engineer Mike Fletcher.
Appended is the text of the letter Vince Schneider read to the Commission.
14 June 2011
Vincent H. Schneider Jr.
Lowndes County Board of Commissioners
Ashley Paulk, Chairman, At-Large
Joyce E. Evans, Commissioner, District 1
Richard Raines, Commissioner, District 2
Crawford Powell, Commissioner, District 3
327 N. Ashley Street-3rd Floor Valdosta, GA 31601 Office: 229-671-2442
Dear Sirs, Ma’am,
Once again I thank you for providing me this opportunity to address the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners. Before I begin, I wish to express my gratitude to Lowndes County Clerk, Paige Dukes for her tireless efforts and patience in answering my many open records requests.
My topic this evening concerns several issues I have with traffic. But before I begin I must digress back to the last time I stood before the Board. In relation to the Lowndes County Ordinance on Noise, Ordinance 97-0704, on 24 May 2011 I made an appeal to the Board to take under consideration establishing limits to hours of operation for commercial establishments operating adjacent to and in close proximity of residential properties. A decision in favor of limiting the hours of operation would lessen the impact of noise, lights, smells, and traffic that such an enterprise brings to a residential community. Has the Board had an opportunity to consider this request? If so, what is the Board’s decision? If not, again I respectfully request that the board take into consideration and vote in favor of limiting commercial enterprises’ hours of operation when such enterprises share boarders with and are in close proximity of residential property owners. The commercial enterprise hours of operation proposed were/are 7:00am to 10:00pm Sunday through Thursday and 7:00am to 12:00am on Friday and Saturday. Concurrently with the afore mentioned request, I respectfully requested of the Board to consider and decide in favor of lights out at the same proposed commercial enterprise’s times of operation.
Residential home owners of Lowndes County take notice. To permit the establishment of the Foxborough Avenue McDonalds, the county has irreversibly established a most terrible precedence. You too can wake up one morning to find a Fast food store being built in your front yard. Although the construction of the Foxborough McDonalds is underway I am still fighting to stop this precedence. I have not admitted defeat. I will never admit defeat. Four years ago when I was preparing my family for post Air Force retirement I searched for opportunities to continue and broaden my acquired aerospace knowledge base. Many companies from coast to coast and points in between courted me. None of them matched my ideal vision of post Air Force retirement. That was until I was offered a position at Moody AFB. The employment opportunity at Moody AFB was appealing. What signed the deal was the appeal of the rural atmosphere of county living. Our search for the ideal home to finally establish roots after 25 years of nomadic living led us to the community of Foxborough. The community of Foxborough provided the ideal setting to enjoy the quite rural life of county living. Now, McDonalds with the support of the county has shattered my dreams and ended my enjoyment of county living. I cannot comprehend how the county can possibly benefit from allowing such an establishment to be built in a quite county residential neighborhood. Is it because it provides unskilled low paying jobs? Will this McDonalds look good on a resume? It was my understanding that Valdosta and Lowndes County wanted to attract a more skilled, professional work force. The real estate on Foxborough Avenue the county permitted McDonalds to build on would have been, and is prime real estate for just such a professional enterprise. For many reasons a professional enterprise would have been (will be) more readily accepted by its residential property neighbors. A professional establishment would not likely operate 24hrs a day and 7 days a week. The noise and lighting of a professional establishment would most likely be limited to day time business hours. And the traffic to and from a professional establishment would be (will be) exponentially less than traffic to and from a fast food store.
Traffic congestion is a highly undesirable condition in Lowndes County. One not need to take my word on this statement. The contributors, authors and signers of the Lowndes County Unified Land Development Code (ULDC) have made many references throughout the code to this fact. Take for instance paragraph 1.04.00 Purpose and intent of the ULDC.The purpose of these regulations is to lessen congestion in the streets; prevent urban sprawl; assure the adequate provision of safe and convenient traffic access and circulation, both vehicular and pedestrian; promote desirable living conditions and the sustained stability of neighborhoods; and protect against blight and depreciation.Additionally, the ULDC is partnered with the Lowndes County Comprehensive Plan (paragraph 1.05.00), which isthe official development policy and implementation guide for the County to coordinate and direct physical and economic development, related public investment, and, to provide reasonable regulations for the development of private property in the interest of public health, safety, and welfare.After numerous hours of on-line research I have yet to find where a McDonalds store fits into any one of these categories. With the addition of McDonalds to Foxborough Avenue I asked Lowndes County Engineer Mike Fletcher if a survey or report was accomplished to determine a new estimated traffic volume. Traffic volumes shall be estimated in accordance with the latest edition of Trip Generation published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE). He replied that no survey had been accomplished. I respectfully request the Board to consider the accomplishment of a traffic volume survey. Closely related to street traffic congestion is congestion within the perimeter of a commercial enterprise.
Earlier I expressed my gratitude of Paige Dukes. After nearly $100.00 spent in acquiring open records request documentation of Lowndes County over the past several weeks, I still have not found in the development plans of the Foxborough Avenue McDonalds provisions for a fire lane, a off-street loading (supply truck unloading) space, and am not totally convinced that the requirement for an eight vehicle minimum stacking space and by-pass lane have been met. I reference ULDC paragraph 6.01.02 Streets and Rights-of-Way: D. Access: 4.Alleys or fire lanes shall be provided at the rear of lots in commercial developments.Although not listed in the Lowndes County Engineering Plan Review Checklist as being requirement for receiving a permit, ULDC Paragraph 6.01.03 Parking Standards and Design;A. Parking space requirements; 1. No application for a building permit shall be approved unless there is included with the plan for such building, improvements, or use, a development plan showing the required space reserved for off-street parking and loading. E. Loading space design standards; 1. Commercial operations shall provide loading spaces as follows: a. Commercial uses with less than 10,000 square feet of gross floor area shall provide one (1) off-street loading space.And finally, paragraph 6.01.04 Drive-Through Facilities and Stacking Lanes:A. All uses and facilities providing drive-up or drive-through service shall provide stacking lanes in compliance with the standards of this section. B. Restaurants with drive-up or drive-through facilities shall provide a minimum stacking space to accommodate eight (8) vehicles. A by-pass lane shall be required.
In conclusion, I greatly appreciate the support of Paige Dukes. I ask the Board to consider in favor for the adoption of reasonable business hours of operation for establishments such as McDonalds when such businesses share property lines with and are in close proximity of residential homes. I ask the Board to consider authorizing a traffic volume survey on Foxborough Avenue. I ask the Board’s consideration to a total reevaluation of the Foxborough Avenue McDonalds with the goal of ultimate cancelation of the permit based in part to it’s conflict with the Lowndes County Unified Land Development Code and in part because it’s the right thing to do. As always, I thank you for your time.
Vincent H. Schneider