Sunday, January 31, 1999
Concordia Partners Inc. has made more concessions in preparation for Fayetteville City Council's vote tomorrow night on its controversial Pine Trail Road shopping center plan.
The only sticking point between the company and city staff is that Concordia is asking for both entrance and exit to its center from residential Pine Trail Road, temporarily. Staff is recommending that use of a driveway into the shopping center from Pine Trail be limited to exits.
That would mean that shoppers driving to the center on Ga. Highway 85 from the north would have to make a U-turn at the main entrance to Fayette Pavilion, then head back north and duck into a right-hand deceleration lane leading to the shopping center entrance on 85.
"That's why we are asking for some relief on this issue," said Concordia spokesman Kent Rose during council's work session Wednesday. He said anchor tenants Barnes & Noble and Linens & Things would agree to limiting the Pine Trail driveway to exits only if a traffic light planned at the northern (rear) entrance to Home Depot is in place by the time they open for business.
But that light won't be in place until Piedmont Properties Inc. develops the 54 acres of commercial property to the north of the Concordia site, and no one can guarantee when that will take place. Piedmont can't say when it will be ready to develop its site. Rose said his tenants need south-bound traffic to be able to use Pine Trail Road and turn left into the center, just until the Piedmont development is begun and the traffic light installed.
"We don't agree with that," said city manager Mike Bryant. Shoppers can make that U-turn until access becomes available through the Piedmont development, he said.
Meanwhile, residents of Huntington Creek subdivision, who use Pine Trail Road for access to Hwy. 85 going north and south, continue to insist that it would be illegal for council to allow any driveway at all into the center from the residential street.
A city ordinance prohibits commercial center entrances from residential streets, and the city Planning Commission recently denied Concordia's development plan on that basis. The company has appealed the Planning Commission's decision to City Council and, after a series of meetings and negotiations, has made concessions leading to tomorrow's vote.
"Y'all wrote it [the ordinance], you approved it, and we would appreciate it very much if you would uphold it," protest leader Pat King told council last week.
Don Russell, manager of Office Depot across Pine Trail from the Concordia site, joined the fight Wednesday, arguing on the residents' side. "Lunch is my busiest time," said Russell. Since an entrance to Office Depot is directly across from the proposed Concordia exit, and since a Chili's restaurant would be right next to the driveway, lunch time would become nightmare time, he said.
Concordia has agreed to abide by 18 conditions recommended by staff, including building a frontage road that would eventually connect to the Piedmont property. Piedmont spokesman Marvin Isenberg said his company plans to build a commercial center at the front of its 54-acre tract, and put apartments toward the rear. The site backs up to Morning Creek.
City staff hope to later connect the Concordia and Piedmont sites, via the frontage road, with Guthrie Plaza to the north, relieving traffic on Hwy. 85 still further.
Council is expected to act on the development plan tomorrow, one way or the other, but there's no guarantee. It has been on the city's plate since early in 1998, and has been tabled numerous times by both the Planning Commission and City Council.
Council meets at 7 p.m. at City Hall.
The group is expected to delay action on Bob Adams Homes' plan for a 100-home subdivision at Beauregard Boulevard and Grady Avenue.
The proposal has sparked protest from neighbors, and council members expressed doubt about the project when they discussed it in Wednesday's work session. The city Planning Commission Tuesday voted to recommend that the council deny the request.
Members of council said Wednesday they like Adams' plan to build homes on small lots for empty-nesters, but they would like to see the project closer to downtown. Neighborhoods surrounding the site have lots of a half acre and more.