At Issue: Gwinnett residents fear annexation has silenced their voice


A proposal to build a Waffle House on Main Street in downtown Woodstock has divided the community between those who oppose the chain eatery in their town’s historic center, and others who see no problem as the restaurant has promised to respect local architecture and abide by other restrictions.

Here’s what readers had to say:

No, we don't need another Waffle House in Woodstock. There is a Waffle House less than a mile from Main Street. There is a Waffle House at every exit on I-575 from I-75 to Towne Lake Parkway; I count four Waffle Houses in that short distance. Enough! Please, don't trash our downtown area. — Jo Grabrovac

I was the chef/owner of several popular Georgia restaurants in the past, two of which could hardly be considered "high end." To those 1,300 petitioners who believe that an iconic Georgia institution would not live up to the historic town's high standards, they may want to take a step back and realize the amusing irony: The Waffle House would replace a restaurant formerly known as Hot Dog Heaven. — Les Carloss

Regarding the new Waffle House in Woodstock, why most of us complain is that there is currently a Waffle House three blocks away on the same street the new one is to be built. I love to eat at Waffle House, but the current one is never busy, so why do we need another one in the historic district? — Jim Barrett

It seems to me that if the operators are willing to comport with architectural and operating covenants and restrictions, there is no reason to prohibit a Waffle House from locating in a historical district. Although I'm sure the town of Woodstock would prefer some sort of Mom-and-Pop cafe or bistro, I think a Waffle House that's willing to abide by the aforementioned restrictions would be a valuable asset. — David Hughey

Should Waffle House have the right to open in Woodstock's historic district? It's replacing a Hot Dog Heaven. Enough said. Throw in the accommodations they're making to their usual storefront, and it's clear the Planning Commission made the right decision. — Melvin Westmoreland

Please don't put a Waffle House in the downtown area. There is already one about a quarter-mile away on Towne Lake Parkway. Let's keep downtown Woodstock unique. — Bob Synowicki

Should Waffle House have the right to open in a historic district? Well first, downtown Woodstock is not a historic district. I could find no record of such on national and local sites. Second, Waffle House was founded in Avondale Estates and has a new location in downtown Decatur – both similar towns to what downtown Woodstock desires to become. Third, J. Christopher's, a regional upper-end breakfast chain, is located in downtown Woodstock, as well as other regional and national chains, not to mention at least one national retail franchise. Finally, I find it interesting that a chain like Waffle House, which is looking to open restaurants in walkable areas like downtown Woodstock and upgrade its image, is getting such push-back from what appears to be just anti-Waffle House folks. I wonder what the locals would have said if this was going to be "Christine's Boutique Downtown Diner" with a more silver-and-glass brash look? — G. Martin

David Ibata for the AJC

Homeowners in Gwinnett’s Indian Crossing subdivision accessible from Indian Trail Road were notified in March of plans to tear down a nearby strip mall to build a new Quik Trip concept store. Residents of the subdivision began attending County Planning Commission meetings to voice their concerns.

The proposed gas and convenience store on 1.92 acres at the intersection of Beaver Ruin Road and Indian Trail Road would replace a smaller Quik Trip located a half a mile away at 2185 Beaver Ruin Road. Residents fear increased traffic at this already busy intersection. It feeds access to Interstate 85 and the proposed structure will make it nearly impossible to enter and exit their neighborhood. They are also concernde it will increase vehicle accidents and put a burden on neighborhood roads.

While waiting on the county to rule on the request, and unbeknownst to homeowners, Indian Trail Retail Associates LP in association with Quik Trip filed a request May 12 for annexation into the city of Norcross. Norcross officials moved quickly and at a special called meeting held June 20 voted to approve the annexation.

Since the approximately 75-home subdivision lies outside city limits in unincorporated Gwinnett, residents say they have no leverage with Norcross officials to prevent the development or influence intersection improvements. Any proposed access or work along Beaver Ruin is subject to prior review and approval by the Georgia Department of Transportation. Gwinnett DOT would have approval to changes to Indian Trail.

What should the Indian Crossing residents do? Are they just out of luck? Is it possible they can influence Norcross officials? Are their concerns about the problems the new QT will cause unfounded?