After brief discussion Monday night, the Spring Hill Planning Commission unanimously approved a request from developer NorthPoint of Kansas City to expand the footprint on one of its buildings on Beechcroft Road from 189,000 to 258,720 square feet.
After brief discussion Monday night, the Spring Hill Planning Commission unanimously approved a request from developer NorthPoint, of Kansas City, to expand the footprint on one of its buildings on Beechcroft Road from 189,000 to 258,720 square feet.
The vote comes just five days after Governor Bill Haslam’s office announced the identity of the building’s future occupant, Comprehensive Logistics of Ohio. The auto supplier will soon relocate to Spring Hill as a neighboring supplies facility to Magna International at NorthPoint’s ongoing industrial parks development.
Spring Hill City Planner Dara Sanders briefly summarized the staff’s nine minor conditions for approval of NorthPoint’s application for expansion. The commission had already approved a far smaller footprint in August.
“Staff finds that the applicant is proposing an abundance of parking spaces that exceeds the minimum required parking for this use,” Sanders said. “We’re recommending approval subject to the nine conditions [listed in our report].”
Among the conditions were a reconfiguration to provide enough green space to conform to the city’s commercial design standards, a closer hewing to city permeable surface requirements, and a 40-foot curb cut on Beechcroft.
City Engineer Jerome Dempsey also noted that a few of the proposed new storm water drainage pipes exceeded capacity.
NorthPoint project manager R.J. Agee appeared for his company and indicated that they have no objection to any of staff’s comments or requirements.
“I’d also like to thank all of you for the opportunity to make this request, it is very much appreciated,” Agee said. “We have no comments or concerns with any of staff’s conditions.”
Fitterer asked if there were any comments from commissioners. Jonathan Duda sought clarification of staff’s requirements on the status of the building’s roof. Sanders spelled out more of staff’s concerns on that point and Duda eventually moved to strike the requirement from the original amendment. That motion passed 5-0.
Agee asked about the possibility of NorthPoint receiving its building shell permit so that they can stick to their plan of beginning to pour footings Tuesday. He addressed his question to city codes director Chris Brooks.
“We just need to review the square feet,” Brooks said. “It’s a storage facility, so there’s not a great deal needed on that. I began it twice today but had other things that called me away. If anything goes astray, staff can step in and tell us to hold all inspections if their issues aren’t being addressed. There are only a few things we’d be checking for so that shouldn’t be a problem.”
Fitterer said that to accommodate the shell permit request, the commission would need to amend the original item again. That amendment also passed 5-0.
The commission then held some discussion of the amendment’s impact on facility parking. Sanders pointed out that parking could be expanded such that it would more than meet zoning requirements. The question of how many spaces will be built is contingent upon the question of right of way on Beechcroft and the location of utilities as the road is improved by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Utilities Director Dan Allen summed up the situation.
“When we’re talking about improvements to state routes like Beechcroft, there are policies in in effect,” Allen said. “If you have utilities on the edge of a right of way, it’s important to think about what to do with those. If the utilities are outside the right of way in their own easement, then TDOT is responsible for relocating them in the event you need to work there. If you allow widening without moving the utilities, then it’s the agency’s responsibility to relocate those. In this case we’d be making that a city responsibility. We are still working out details on the width of roads and what would be required to move those utilities with dedicated easements. Shifting this row of parking back allows us more flexibility.”
Dempsey also commented.
“If we leave those utilities as they are,” Dempsey said, “We’re talking about loaded trucks transferring that load onto the existing utilities on an hourly basis. That’s not really a good scenario.”
Agee let the commission know that NorthPoint has wrapped up the traffic study based on staff comments.
Dempsey said that a through lane will warrant a deceleration in the eastbound direction, and a left turn lane in the westbound direction.
“That road has a school out there,” Dempsey said. “With school bus traffic, it’s very important that we address that.”
Following all the commission’s discussion, they voted 5-0 to accept staff comments as amended.
Agee then commented on NorthPoint’s response to its own traffic study.
“We’re now working on the safety of the area,” Agee said. “Work includes preliminary designs from our engineer on reaction times, braking times, and times for a truck to speed up and to slow down.”
Agee also said that NorthPoint is still on track to have full report on its traffic findings by the time of next commission work session on Oct. 27.
Fitterer also asked what Agee knew about the question of building a dedicated road for truck entrance from the facility to the General Motors plant.
“We have weekly conferences on the subject of connector roads,” Agee said. “But it would be irresponsible for me to comment further at this point. The long term plan is to create a dedicated road into the plant for the trucks. It would not run directly into the plant, it would be on the safe side of the security gate. But there are too many parties involved in the conversation for me to say more. They include GM, the city itself and TDOT.”
Following Agee’s closing remarks, the request for permission to expand the Comprehensive Logistics building passed 5-0.
Staff writer Greg Jinkerson covers Spring Hill for Home Page Media Group. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Greg_SHHP