By Angie Mayes
Special to Mt. Juliet News
A question about ingress and egress into a new mixed-use community in Mt. Juliet caused Mt. Juliet planning commissioners to discuss the final master development plan and site plan of Vintage Station North at their recent meeting.
The development will be on North Mt. Juliet Road on 6.94 acres.
Proposed for the land is 16,088 square feet of commercial space, 192 multi-family units and 28 townhomes that would be broken up into two phases, said Jennifer Hamblen, city planning director. There would be 312 parking spaces, more than the required 289 spaces, she said.
The Mt. Juliet City Commission approved the development in June, Hamblen said, recommending approval.
Commissioner Art Giles had concerns about the lack of a right-turn lane into the property.
Plans reviewer and project manager Neal Hall, who sat in place of assistant public works director Andy Barlow, said the original agreement was to provide a northbound right-turn lane on North Mt. Juliet Road.
“The existing access at Sellars Funeral Home – as we were looking at that – the condition was that if right-of-way was available for the right turn lane, and it is not available, when we reviewed it, we realized that it would have a negative effect on the existing access,” Hall said. “In lieu of that, we’re asking the developer to work with staff and bring a plan in that would improve the intersection and add a westbound turn lane at the intersection of East Division and North Mt. Juliet Road. They would have to bring that through staff and satisfy any comments we might have.”
The measure would then have to be sent through the city commission, he said.
Hall said the development has two other entrances, one off Industrial Drive and one off Fiberglass Drive.
“Industrial has access off North Mt. Juliet Road,” Hamblen said. “Fiberglass comes off East Division. Or you could loop around and come to North Mt. Juliet Road, if you wanted to. I feel like they would rather drive through the site, rather than go around.”
She said the developers have done everything the city as asked, “without kicking or screaming. It was really nice of them to do that.”
Giles asked if the other entrances off North Mt. Juliet Road would be “easier to get use for the residents and also the commercial development?”
“The existing roadways right now,” Hall said. “Fiberglass Drive will dead end into this development. Industrial will have an existing entrance and exit on North Mt. Juliet Road.”
Giles said the planners “should have known that upfront that they couldn’t. Of course, you know I voted, no on this project, so it’s nothing new. But there again, it may have swayed someone else’s vote and giving them information if they had known. So, you’re telling us that there will be a lane on Division?”
Hall said in lieu of a northbound turn lane on North Mt. Juliet Road, there would be a westbound turn lane on Division.
“That helps people coming down Division, but it doesn’t help anybody going north or south on Mt. Juliet Road,” Giles said. “[People] who travel Mt. Juliet Road every day, that has nothing to do with these apartments. When you cross the railroad tracks, it is traffic calming a bit because most people slow down at the tracks. You’ve got all these people slowing down, and you have all of these people trying to turn into an apartment complex without a turn lane. It’s absurd.
“I’ve walked that. I see what happens to the traffic. It’s not just during the day. It’s in the middle of the night. And, so here we are going to let apartments come in there. We should have been told this a long time ago. And, couldn’t they buy right-of-way from the railroad?”
Matt Gardner with Image1co Development said moving the development further into the land is not the point.
“It’s not that we don’t have enough room on the property,” he said. “It’s just that the site is not wide enough parallel to North Mt. Juliet Road to get enough egress.”
Kimley Horn engineer Zac Dufour said, “Essentially, there is not enough room to slow down to get into the intersection.”
The measure slimly passed 4-3-1. Commissioners Luke Winchester, Lori Thompson, Chuck Turner and Ted Floyd voted yes. Commissioners Larry Searcy, Bobby Franklin and Giles voted no. Commissioner Kelly Morgan abstained.