South Broad Street Publix developer withdraws planning commission case

South Broad Street Publix developer withdraws planning commission case

Group still intends to seek zoning variances to build grocery store

July 31st, 2018 by Mike Pare in Breaking News

This story was updated July 31, 2018, at 7:59 p.m. with more information.

The developer of a proposed Publix supermarket off South Broad Street is pulling its request for a zoning change before the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission this month, but it's still moving ahead with the project.

Mike Price of MAP Engineers said the development team "requested this case to be withdrawn to dispel rumors that an 'under the radar' attempt was being made to still try and get a C-2 zoning on the site" for the planned store.

Price said the developer, Alliance Realty Service, still intends to seek zoning variances from the Chattanooga Board of Zoning Appeals to move the store forward.

Price said no date has been set to go before that panel for the variances as the development group is trying to make sure what changes are required.

"We want to make certain we fully understand what variances are needed, which areas comply and which don't and address those items," he said.

During the planning commission's June meeting, the developer's request to rezone the proposed site to a C-2 commercial zone was deferred for two months and was slated to be heard Aug. 13.

Price said the team has requested the withdrawal of the rezoning case. He said at no time since the planning commission voted to approve a building size increase for the grocery store has there been an effort to seek C-2 zoning approval.

Bert Kuyrkendall, who lives in the nearby St. Elmo neighborhood, said in an email that the developer had planned to go before the planning commission this month and noted that no appearance before the Board of Zoning Appeals was sought yet by the company.

He urged people to contact Chattanooga City Council members to "remind them that we want to keep the walkable, mixed-use urban vision for the South Broad district."

Alliance Realty Service had originally sought a C-2 rezoning of the 4-acre tract for the planned supermarket.

But many people in the area objected to the developer putting the building at the rear of the lot with parking in front. They wanted to keep existing zoning, which would enable the store to go up close to the street and ultimately bolster property values in the neighborhood, they said.

In July, the Planning Commission voted in favor of a zoning variance related to the size of the planned store along with some small shop space at the tract at South Broad Street and St. Elmo Avenue. But the project still needs Board of Zoning Appeals approvals to move ahead.

Since July, Price said, efforts have been made to improve the plan and finalize details. These include determining the exact variances needed and beginning to prepare updated architectural elevations of the proposed buildings with input from the neighborhood, he said.

The development team is readying an updated landscape planting plan to finalize the street edge treatment required by existing zoning and to complete planning for other design elements, Price said.

"Once these elements are completed, the development team will meet with the city staff and planners to confirm compliance with city code and determine what specific variances are required," he said.

Price said if any variances are determined to be required, a request will be made to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.