Developer Told Publix Needs To Change Design For St. Elmo Store To Make It Fit With South Broad Plan

Monday, June 11, 2018

A developer group was told Monday that the plan needs to be changed for the proposed Publix grocery in St. Elmo to make it fit with the South Broad Street Plan.

The Planning Commission gave a 60-day deferral on a rezoning request to go from Urban General Commercial to Commercial 2.

The group was told to come back with a plan that fits the UGC guidelines that stress building up next to the street and having mixed uses.

John Bridger, executive director of the Regional Planning Agency, said a deviation might be granted that limits building size to 12,000 square feet, but he said the building needs to be moved close to South Broad.

Blythe Bailey, city transportation director, said the developers need to go back to the drawing board "and come back with something that is acceptable."

The planning staff said Publix has built urban-friendly groceries elsewhere.

Developers say they have gone through 18 different plans and cannot get the building up against the street or add any shops.

Jeff Blackwood of MAP Engineering, again showed a plan with three pocket parks and extensive landscaping, but with the grocery some distrance from Broad Street. He said that can't be helped on the four-acre site because of the irregular shape of the site and a 10 percent grade change.

The store is to have 32,000 square feet and includes 167 parking spots.

He said moving it by the street makes it difficult to get to the grocery itself and chops up the parking lot. He also said it brings problems with the rear loading area.

Ann Weeks, president emeritus of the South Broad Street Development group, said, "We want this grocery store." But she said it is also important to stay with the urban vision of the recently completed South Broad plan.

She brought up the idea of the 30-day delay.

Bert Kuykendall said the design and layout of the Publix in North Chattanooga was "half a victory." He said that was "a lot better than what we have here."

Helen Burns Sharp said the cheapest design for grocers is a large store set back from the road with lots of parking in front, but she said they should be able to achieve the model sought by many local residents.

 

 


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