Grant Zoning change (if necessary) for Publix on South Broad Street
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Publix and a local developer wish to build and integrate a brand new grocery store on the land. They have requested a zoning change which would allow them to build in a Suburban form which has the parking in front of the store.... To which we are accustom. The store entrance would face Lookout Mountain.
There is opposition to this request based on fears of additional traffic, not being bike friendly, changes to Riverwalk extension, the design would not integrate well and that this addition would put pressure on Food City. We feel that Publix has always shown themselves as a responsible designers that create inviting, aesthetically pleasingly and functional facilities that benefit the areas they open in. Looking at North Chattanooga, the design would be similar and that has become a major asset to that area. We deserve the same opportunity!
If the rezoning is not granted we will likely lose this opportunity and will again be passed over for progress on South Broad Street. What will likely be built there will be more 4 story apartments that further cut away into the beauty of the mountain and another piece of the "Scenic City" will be available to only those who can afford the high rise condo/apartment. The representative for Publix was very clear at the St. Elmo neighborhood meeting in May that the "UGC" urban design code currently zoned is simply not feasible as it restricts the size available to build by less than half the size they need of 32,000 square feet to build the proposed complex. We believe that Publix and the zoning variation should be granted. With the assistance of traffic engineers, the riverwalk designers and Publix we have faith that this would be a valuable asset and lifeline to the residents surrounding South Broad Street. Looking around the country at Publix facilities you will see that they are well maintained, well paying and economically beneficial to the communities they choose to be part of.
Pushing away a potential like this for not only St. Elmo but, Alton Park, Lookout Valley and the thousands of commuters and tourists, due to a zoning issue (that has so far not been developed under in this area) is sending a clear message that we are not willing to compromise toward or accept progress here. And that is a dangerous and irresponsible message that could have dire consequences for this areas future. We must think of all our neighbors... There are those of limited mobility, advanced age, restricted transportation and those who simply cannot make the trek up to Food City and would welcome and utilize a reputable, fine grocer such as Publix.
In conclusion, we ask that the rezoning request be permitted if there is no way to accommodate existing guidelines and that Publix is allowed to build the best facility that they can offer our side of town. Thank you.
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