Publix Store Does Not Warrant Opposition - And Response

Sunday, December 9, 2018

I am certain if the Publix grocery store were placed on a voting referendum, the masses would vote for Publix to be constructed at the St. Elmo site as presented in the current building and layout designs.  


I wish that my favorite store filled with the best baked goods, fresh seafood would abandon St. Elmo and build closer to me.


I drive all the way to Hixson to fill my cart with goodies.

There are much friendlier settings for Publix to build in, such as Soddy Daisy, Lookout Valley, and so many other places that would roll out the welcome mat for a Publix grocery.  I have identified many sites within five miles of where I live that would be perfect for the new Publix grocery, huge exposure and near Corridor J.  


Head north Publix grocery or in any direction to leave the city of Chattanooga zoning zealots behind.  Others will welcome that beautiful building and layout.


I have been following the story of opposition literally picking Publix apart on big nothings, such as window area and a very reasonable layout.  I have reviewed the Publix building rendering and site layout.


Opposition, you don’t have a case for complaints.


There are one or two residents of St. Elmo in opposition to the Publix that had the nerve to redesign the Publix store layout. Opposition actually presented their redesign to the Board of Zoning Appeals for the city of Chattanooga. I understand that one resident of St. Elmo is a former city of Chattanooga employee and now is a competing consulting engineer, and actually participated in redesigning the Publix store layout.  That is extraordinarily inappropriate for an engineer to redesign the contracted work of another, and publicly deem the design layout work of Publix as marginal.


I have never seen an engineer do such a thing. 


Opposition to Publix, you folks are out of bounds.


It is not your land, your project, or are you a regulatory entity.  Opposition can and should comment, and be very vocal, but having a consulting engineer in the group redesign the project is going too far.  No company or person wants to spend major capital on their vision, and have third parties exceed regulatory requirements and completely redesign their vision.


The primary spokesperson for opposition does not live in St. Elmo or do the majority of the opposition group. Let’s us think about that for a moment.


Place yourself as the owner of the parcel.


You own a commercial parcel and worked hard to acquire ownership. It is your money and capital. There are zoning and variance laws to protect adjoining property owners. I get that. The design I reviewed harms no one. 


Publix wishes to purchase your property, and the property is zoned appropriately. However, for the company to have consistency in their brand in the building aesthetics, adequate parking, building area, and logistics of tractor trailer delivery, there are minor zoning variances needed.


That is why we have a zoning appeals board to help find a fit with the urban challenges of redevelopment. The purpose of the zoning variance board is to address hardships related to commercial redevelopment.


Publix should be allowed to maintain the aesthetics and build their vision of their brand. That store rendering is beautiful. I cannot fathom any objection to that building or the layout proposed.  Publix did a fantastic job.  The building and layout submitted by Publix that I reviewed would actually improve St. Elmo’s aesthetics. 


Third parties should not be allowed to redesign projects of zoning appeals applicants, or should zoning boards entertain designs that do not originate from the applicant.  Not even the planning agencies will redesign, they make recommendations.  So, it is offensive for these third-party opposition groups to redesign projects. Publix has a brand and vision for their stores, and understands their needs for egress and movement of large tractor trailer delivery.


Finally, there is no construction more challenging than redevelopment in confined spaces in urban areas.  The area available to work with is finite and limited, and has constrained layers and layers of zoning rules.  Many would say over constrained and over regulated. 


No one knows the grocery store business better than Publix. Why should they compromise their brand and vision for their store for minor setbacks or window area?  The rendering of this store is beautiful, and placement is appropriate for their logistical needs.


Opposition that does not live in St. Elmo, how do you speak for the masses of residents in St. Elmo? As for the consulting engineer and former city employee that redesigned the Publix store site layout, your actions are inappropriate. 


Object loudly opposition, it is your right, but redesigning the Publix store by non-vested third parties is offensive. It is not your capital investment, or company brand. It belongs to Publix grocery.


There are developments worth opposing. The Publix store does not warrant opposition.


April Eidson

Soddy Daisy


* * * 


Ms. Eidson

I agree with you entirely, except I would invite Publix to move to the grocery store wasteland of Highway 58. If I choose to shop at a Publix, I must go to Ooltewah or to Hixson. The only redeeming food source on 58 is Linda’s Produce. 

Publix, please build on Highway 58.

Gary Wilkes

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