The Richmond Register

January 25, 2014

Planners send convenience store back to drawing board

By Seth Littrell
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — A business that wants to replace the former Jack’s BP just west of Interstate 75 Exit 87 was told Thursday by the Richmond Planning Commission to revise its plans.

The advice came after the developer of a proposed Estepp’s C-Store disclosed its ideas for the site and asked for the planners’ response.

In addition to the convenience store with several fuel pumps, the plan included an attached restaurant with a drive-thru.

Planning and Zoning Director Jason Hart said the proposed restaurant does not yet have a tenant, but a donut shop has expressed interest, according to information provided by the developer.

Commissioners had several problems with the plan, including the developer’s desire for two full-access entrances on Barnes Mill Road. Hart noted that a motorist attempting to turn left out of either entrance would have to cross four lanes of traffic near a stoplight.

In addition, parking spaces in the front of the building would leave only eight feet between where the spaces end and the pumps begin, not enough for vehicles to maneuver if a space in front of them was full.

To reach the restaurant’s drive-thru lane or access the building’s rear, vehicles would need to pass through a narrow space between two sign posts, Hart pointed out. That space would not be large enough to qualify as a fire lane, which must be 20 feet wide, meaning emergency access to the back would be limited.

The commissioners were unanimous in saying the plan would need to be redrawn. Of special concern were the two entrances onto Barnes Mill Road, which they said would create traffic issues.

Planning and Zoning Inspector Kevin Causey suggested the commission revisit the right-in, right-out entrance to the nearby Mattress Firm and IHOP, looking at the possibility of widening those lanes so they could also provide access to the new development.

The plans will be returned along with the commissioners’ comments, Hart said.

In other business, the commission:

• Reviewed proposed changes to the city’s zoning ordinance that would allow churches and government offices as conditional use in the B4 (Retail Shopping Centers) zone. After hearing additional suggestions, the planners asked that museums and libraries also be conditionally allowed. Hart said the proposed ordinance revision would go before the city commission for a first reading Tuesday.

• Reviewed the subdivision plat for Woodlawn Crossing at the corner of the Eastern Bypass and Big Hill Avenue. The area will feature two lots, one of which will be the site of a Walgreens. The plat, as well as the site development plan for the Walgreens will be voted on at the commission’s business session 5:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.

• Reviewed a site development plan for a professional office building by Frazier Realty on Merrick Drive off the Martin Bypass.

Seth Littrell can be reached at slittrell@richmondregister.com or 624-6623.