The Lines Orchids site on Signal Mountain is going back on the marker, Walden Mayor Lee Davis said Thursday.
The mayor said he was informed this week by real estate developer Stuart Bush, the surviving member of the Lines Orchids LOP, that previous plans for development of the property have been discarded.
The new plans will conform with Walden’s new land use plan, according to Mr. Bush, Mayor Davis said.
“I view it as a very positive development,” he added.
Previous plans – strenuously defended by Bush’s late partner in the LOC, landowner/developer/attorney John Anderson – were rendered moot when Bradley County Judge J. Michael Sharp ruled on August 2, 2021, that Walden town officials’ 2019 decision to rezone a piece of property so it could be used for a grocery store complex was “illegal, arbitrary and capricious.”
As proposed by Anderson, the development would have been located on the former Lines Orchids site, and would have contained a 43,000-square-foot grocery store, 10,000 square feet of retail and/or office space, a gas station and a parking lot for 220 vehicles.
The judge agreed with plaintiffs’arguments that former Mayor Bill Trohanis and Alderwoman Sarah McKenzie erred when they voted in 2019 to approve the VC-1 rezoning request, despite the fact that the project failed to include five of the six required components. For example, plaintiffs pointed out, as proposed the development included neither residential properties nor an internal network of streets, both of which are mandatory in a village center.
In a related development, Mayor Davis said he was contacted several times on Thursday by people who reported reading on Facebook that the town of Walden has been negotiating with Publix about possibly building a grocery store on the former Lines Orchids property. That came as news to him, he said, noting that he has not been involved in any such negotiations.