County commission approves Friendly Express site plan

September 2 – Glynn County Commissioners on Thursday approved a permit allowing the construction of a Friendly Express gas station at 5514 Frederica Road on St. Simons Island.

The station would have six gas pumps and the convenience store would maintain a business schedule of 18 hours a day. Once the new station opens, planning manager Stefanie Lief said the company plans to close the existing Friendly Express on Frederica. A Friendly Express representative said the company plans to remove the underground fuel tanks from the old location as soon as it closes.

Cap Fendig, Commissioner of District 2, said the property in question is very important on the north end of the island and could have long-term traffic impacts on Frederica Road.

Commissioner Allen Booker asked if the company would have security cameras at the rear of the building. A Friendly Express rep said they would likely have them all over the property.

St. Simons Island resident Hugh Borque said the county is not planning enough for traffic. During rush hour, turning left into Frederica at any time is a waiting game. The gas station site plan did not address this issue at all.

One of the Friendly Express representatives said entry and exit mimicked those required by the Georgia Department of Transportation on state highways. Additionally, he said the new site plan solves most of the parking and exit issues of the old store.

Another St. Simons Islander, Julian Smith, said he thought it was a good location for a convenience store with fresh produce. Really, it should be a grocery store with gas pumps, he added. He objected to a request from Harris Teeter to install petrol pumps at the supermarket, but he felt the location was good for such a venture.

“The only thing I heard tonight was that Frederica must have a solution. Turn, third lane, four lanes, whatever,” Commissioner Walter Rafolski said.

The commissioners eventually approved the permit 5-1, along with a request to remove a 22-inch live oak tree. Commissioners Booker, Rafolski, Bill Brunson, David O’Quinn and Sammy Tostensen voted to approve the application, and Fendig cast the only opposing vote. Commissioner Wayne Neal withdrew from the vote.

In other matters, commissioners voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the county ordinance allowing the sale of alcohol from “beverage carts” on golf courses.

Cap Fendig, commissioner of District 2, said the request was made by golfers and neighborhoods around the island’s golf courses expressed no opposition.

The commissioners also:

—Voted to approve the abandonment of a paved road at 220 and 300 Needwood Road, waiving all rights of public access.

—Approved permits allowing the placement of native plants beyond the dune development setback at 110 E. 27th St. and 117 E. 18th St., both on Sea Island.

— Appointed Lucas Ramirez and Abra Lattany-Greene to the County Police Advisory Board.

— Appointed Commissioner David O’Quinn Vice-Chair.

—At the end of the meeting, the committee voted to open a closed session to discuss ongoing litigation. Commissioners voted to approve Glynn County District Attorney Aaron Mumford’s recommendations regarding ongoing litigation upon returning to open court and adjourned.

Aurora J. William