The City Council approved some paperwork Monday night for the road work taking place at Highway 431 and Highway 79-S that Mayor Leigh Dollar called “just a formality.”
But the man who owns the property where the Lakeview Grocery & Tackle is located says the traffic plan associated with the new Publix grocery store threatens to put his store out of business. Larry Martin of Rome, Georgia, owns the property and Mike Patel operates the business.
Mr. Martin said the convenience store is losing 4 of its 5 access points under the state’s traffic plan for Publix.
Mayor Leigh Dollar said it’s true that some access points are being closed, but she said she didn’t think the store would lose that many.
She urged Mr. Martin to come by City Hall during working hours to take a closer look at the plans. The city is reworking the intersection at 431-79-S in conjunction with the state through the state ATRIP grant program.
Mr. Martin said he’s had difficulty getting answers from the state about exactly what is going on with the project. He said decisions about his access points were being made without his input.
He said the store was built to utilize the existing access points, including Stevenson Street, which is being at least partially closed.
He said he thought he would be able to replace his Stevenson Street access with an access from the Publix driveway, but it now looks as though that is in jeopardy.
He questioned whether gas tanker trucks could even get into his property to fill his tanks if he loses some of his access points.
“I’m completely in the dark about what is going on,” he said. “We have a dilemma. If we lose our traffic, it could close our store.”
Another property owner in that stretch, Ray Bassett, said he also has serious concerns about the access issue too.
“I’m not opposed to the Publix,” he said. “But I am opposed to Stevenson Street being closed. It’s where my property is located.”