Northtown Starbucks got back on track when Mt. Juliet city commissioners approved the popular coffee shop on first reading Monday night.
The 1,849 square foot Starbucks building proposed for 2.49 acres on Lebanon Road near Publix got a negative recommendation from city planners at their monthly meeting Jan. 15.
Planning commissioners and city staff expressed concerns about traffic flow into and on the proposed site that will also have two additional buildings at 2,700 and 2,500 square feet. Their uses had not been revealed as of Monday.
After the meeting, District 1 City Commissioner Ray Justice explained there had been many recent meetings with the Project Manager Scott Lumley and City Planning Director Bo Logan to iron out the layout for approval. The project is in Justice's district.
"We went out to the site and even took pictures to see how the plan could be revised to satisfy people," he said.
Logan explained the revisions at Monday's meeting.
"Two weeks ago the project got a negative nod due to internal traffic," said Logan. "The applicant changed the location of Building B to the west, and made a dedicated drive-thru [for Starbucks]. He also changed the parking to the east side of the building to allow ingress and egress."
He said the location of the dumpster was "tweaked" as well.
Additionally, the entrance to Starbucks was moved 20 feet to the west, off Lebanon Road, and the curb cut was revised.
"They addressed all the comments, and we now recommend approval," said Logan.
Justice said he was happy things worked out.
"We voted for it," he said. "This is a shot in the arm my district needs. Every single day positive things are happening."
After the meeting, Lumley said he was "very pleased" with the city commission's approval.
"The mayor wanted better flow of traffic," he said. "I think we gave that to him. Now we move to the final approval. We will be having a Starbucks in north Mt. Juliet. It's a great jump start to the north side of town that hasn't had any real major development since 2009. This, and other new projects, will bridge that gap."
City commissioners passed an amendment to see what could be done to get an easement to provide a "potential" sidewalk on the east side of the project. However, Logan said Publix would have to allow it.
"We can't make them," said Logan.
The vote will change the property's zoning classification and approves the preliminary master development plan.
In other business, city commissioners approved a resolution to authorize the city manager to place three properties owned by the city up for sale. Those buildings are the old Sellers Funeral Home, the "McKorkle" property, and the former finance building on North Mt. Juliet Road. Commissioner Art Giles lobbied to remove the finance building from the sell list.
"I think we should retain it for control as we grow and need more space," he said. "It could eventually be another city office. We could utilize it in the future."
Justice said it was "too small to do anything with."
He expressed his disapproval of what he said was "government competing with private enterprise."
"We should not be in the real estate business," he said. "Our emphasis should not be in brick and mortar, and we should be concentrating on service, not on the real estate business."
Writer Laurie Everett may be contacted at email@example.com.