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Azalea Street residents protest Taco Bell
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With the construction site of the new Taco Bell in Hinesville as her backdrop, Azalea Street resident Thomasena Grant protests the site's design along General Screven Way in Hinesville Friday. - photo by Alena Parker / Coastal Courier

Azalea Street Protest

Azalea Street residents protest new Taco Bell location in Hinesville
Azalea Street residents took to the streets Friday, hoping their protest over a Taco Bell being built near their Hinesville neighborhood will cause the restaurant's owners to change the site design.
"It's a great, beautiful day to have a nice friendly protest," homeowner and protest organizer Kathy Winn said while holding a sign that said "NO TACO BELL."
Winn and other residents have become increasingly upset over the last few weeks with the construction and site layout, especially the placement of an entrance and exit on Azalea Street and the lack of a complete fence to separate the neighborhood from the restaurant.
"All we're asking is two things; no entrance, no exit off of Azalea Street and we're asking for a fence line around Azalea Street and we'll be very great neighbors," Winn said. "With us coming out here with our concerns and our needs, hopefully the owner of Taco Bell would be a great neighbor and come and see just want our concerns are."
But according to Mike Dimond, president of Cardinal Development Corp., the development representative for Bravo Food Group, the franchisee who will own and operate the Taco Bell location, the company has been more than responsive to the residents' concerns.
He pointed to the company's recent concessions to add a driveway on Gen. Screven Way and put in more fencing along the Azalea Street side of the restaurant as evidence that owners "want to be good neighbors."
"We've been working very closely with the (Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission) and city staff there in Hinesville to try to accommodate all the changes, all the residents issues," Dimond said, adding there were at least two public hearings on the design of the site before construction began.
"When the residents came back with additional concerns, we've tried to address everything to the degree possible."
And with the new location set to open later this month, Dimond said it is unlikely any additional changes can be made.
"I'm sorry that not everyone is satisfied, but I'm at a loss as to what else we could do at this point," he said. "We look forward to (Bravo Food Group) being a good neighbor...and fitting in nicely with the neighborhood over time."
Winn, however, said she and her and neighbors will continue to protest and fight until their demands are met.
"Whether it be next week. Whether it be one month," she said. "Someone will be out here every day until our concerns are addressed by the owner of Taco Bell."
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