"We won!" were the words of a Mt. Juliet city commissioner after a court ruling by judge C.K. Smith on Friday that said a city-issued work stoppage order on a South Mt. Juliet Starbucks strip mall will be upheld.
The court hearing took place in Wilson County Friday after months of dissention and discussion between the City of Mt. Juliet and developer Boyle Investments about the city's view Boyle should uphold their original commitment to construct a second access - a bridge - to Boyle's development in South Mt. Juliet that incudes Starbucks, Moe's, China One and Supercuts. Already Edible Arrangements is open because, as District 4 Commissioned Brian Abston said, it is a low-traffic business.
The judge's nod to continue the city's second stop work order on the development - which should have opened this month - comes on the heels of a clash with Boyle since January over the city's attempt to convince Boyle Investments to add a rear cross-access to their tenant Publix's center. The city contends this was approved in the original 2004 plan for the development. The city's stance is the development needs a second exit/entrance to prevent major traffic problems in an already congested area.
"Without the cross access, the traffic will be problematic, to say the least," Abston said.
Boyle's case was the bridge promise was not brought up during the months after an initial commitment. Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty said previously he knew the court would rule in the city's favor.
The court did side with the city Friday.
"We knew we were right the whole time," Abston said after the ruling. "I'm as happy as can be. We were right from the beginning. It was in the first plans. This is great for the city."
While the stop work order is in place, progress at the strip center is at a standstill. City officials hope the second access to the center will now be built.
A certificate of occupancy will not be granted until the issue is resolved, said Abston.
The court ruled the dispute will now track again to the Mt. Juliet Planning Commission.
Writer Laurie Everett can be contacted at email@example.com.