A new commercial development, likely with a grocery store and several restaurants, was approved Dec. 16 by the Jefferson City Council.
The project will include both corners on the east side of the Jefferson bypass at the intersection of Old Pendergrass Rd. The site was at one time considered for a Walmart. The council approved a package of rezonings and variances to make the project possible. The development is being done by Capstone Property Group of Gainesville.
A tentative plan for the development calls for a 47,000 sq. ft. anchor store, 11,200 sq. ft. of shops attached to the store, two sites for freestanding retail stores and three out-parcel sites for restaurants. The total land involved is around 21 acres.
The development was opposed by some area residents who said traffic on Old Pendergrass Rd., which feeds into the Jefferson City School System, would become much worse. Councilman Jon Howell voted against the rezonings while Mayor Steve Quinn voiced opposition, but only votes to break ties on the council.
Howell and Quinn said they wanted the developers to build an access road through other undeveloped property north to Holder Siding Rd. to provide access and to not have access to the development off of Old Pendergrass Rd. Quinn hinted that the city might be willing to pay part of the cost of such an access road, which would eventually serve other development in the area.
But a spokesman for the developers said that such a requirement would kill the entire project since potential tenants want the closer access off of Old Pendergrass Rd. and the cost of building a longer road to Holder Siding Rd. would be over $1 million.
Upgrades will be done to the existing intersection, including longer turning lanes. The traffic signal at the intersection will also be updated by the Georgia Department of Transportation.
The development will be across the bypass from the existing Kroger shopping center area, which also includes a CVS and an Aldi store. The area has been controversial for its traffic problems and a large number of serious wrecks.
In other action Dec. 16, the council approved:
• a variance for a sign at North Jefferson Business Park to be 90 sq. ft. rather than 64 sq. ft.
• a conditional use for a Verizon cell tower at 1740 Washington St.
• an amendment to the city's land use codes updating architectural building requirements and another amendment adopting the state's minimum standard codes.
• a series of budget amendments for FY2019, including $125,000 to buy land for recreation.
• naming Sabrina Sanderson and Jim Bailey to the town's downtown development authority.
• allowing the mayor pro tem to sign the contract to install speeding cameras around city school zones. Mayor Quinn opposed the project and said he didn't want to sign the documents on behalf of the city.
• recognizing outgoing council member Don Kupis.
• calling a meeting Dec. 30 to swear-in new council member Clint Roberts.