The Richmond Register

April 16, 2013

Two restaurants and pharmacy get city review

Student housing complex also reviewed

By Bill Robinson
Register Editor

RICHMOND — A Walgreens drugstore, IHOP and Cookout restaurants, plus a 792-bed student housing complex were among proposals reviewed Tuesday night by members of the Richmond Planning and Zoning Commission in its monthly work session.

Votes to approve or disapprove the proposals could take place as early as 5:30 p.m. April 25 when the planners meet for their monthly business session. Some proposals could be approved contingent upon other approvals.

Plans for a dental office, a mattress retailer and an eight-unit building on the Liberty Place Recovery Center for Women’s campus on Holly Drive were reviewed as well. A proposal to lift a ban on multi-family buildings in the Heritage Place subdivision off Barnes Mill Road to allow for construction of a senior adult apartment building was heard.

A Walgreens drug store is being proposed for the 26-acre Woodlawn Crossing property in the northwest corner of the US 25/Eastern Bypass intersection.

A preliminary plat that would create two lots of 1.9 and 2.6 acres each in the corner nearest the highways was presented, along with a site development plan for a 1,900 square foot drugstore on the larger lot.

The development would have two entrances. One would come off the westbound lane of the bypass opposite the bypass entrance to Kroger, allowing only right turns in and out.

Another entrance would come off US 25 opposite Northland Drive that runs by Clayton Homes.

The developer would create a left-turn lane on the highway so traffic could enter or leave the property in both directions.

In addition to approvals from the state highway department and the city, the developers will need approval from the Kentucky Division of Water, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, their consultants noted.

On the opposite end of the Eastern Bypass, another developer is proposing to build three commercial units between the southbound off-ramp of Interstate 75’s Exit 87 and Jack’s BP.

One would be an IHOP restaurant, one would be an office for Aspen Dental and the third would be for a retailer known as The Mattress Firm.

Planning Commission member Richard Thomas noted that both of these developments would have entrances very near intersections that already are frequently congested. Both are too near the intersections for the state to approve traffic signals, he also said.

A Cookout Fresh Hamburger restaurant is being proposed for the southwest corner of Killarney Lane and the Eastern Bypass. The 3,285 square-foot building would have a two-lane drive-thru and 34 parking spaces. Although many of the chain’s restaurants are drive-thru only, the Richmond outlet would also serve dine-in food, its consultant said.

In 2006, a developer won approval to rezone property and construct a privately owned 18-acre student-housing complex on Cycle Drive off Boggs Lane behind what is now the Baptist Health-Richmond hospital.

Work was never begun, but a new developer has acquired that interest and is proposing a 12-building, 792-bed complex on 25 acres in the same area.

It would be constructed in three phases and include a road from Cycle Drive to Kit Carson Drive that would give it direct access to the Eastern Kentucky University campus.

Work must start on the proposal within 12 months or the property will revert to agricultural zoning and an agreement with EKU to extend Cycle Drive to campus will expire, the developer’s consultant said.

In 2006, when the Heritage Place residential property was rezoned R-4 (Multi-use Residential) the city had imposed a moratorium on apartment construction, said Michael Eaves, attorney for the developer.

To obtain the new zoning, the owner agreed to a land-use restriction that would allow construction of only single-family homes and duplexes. No apartment buildings — although R-4 normally allowed only six-units per acre — could be built.

Now, the developer would like to build apartments for adults 55 and older on 5.8 acres around Heritage House, which was once a private residence and has been a bed and breakfast.

Although the city has discarded the R-4 zone, it remains in effect where it previously existed and allows less dense development than the R-3 (Multi-family Residential) zone where apartments may be built, said Jason Hart, the city’s planning director.

After the financial crisis of 2008 brought development to a virtual halt, work trailed off for the three municipal planning boards in Madison County. Judging by the number and size of proposals on the Richmond planners’ agenda Tuesday, the drought has ended, at least for commercial development.

Bill Robinson can be reached at editor@richmondregister.com or at 624-6690.