Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Extension remains iffy

Traffic solutions sought as McCrory Creek business park moves forward By Andy Humbles • THE TENNESSEAN • January 14, 2009 How the proposed Harding Place extension may or may not fit into plans for a new business park to be built on 184 acres near McCrory Creek Road and Elm Hill Pike is still uncertain. But residents who live nearby and developer Bert Mathews have been working together in attempts to come up with their own workable solutions to the traffic needs that will be generated by the planned McCrory Creek Business Park. "The Harding Place extension would be very beneficial in regard to the Mathews project,'' said Charles Dyck, one of the nearby residents comprising a steering committee that has been working with Mathews. "In my opinion we need a plan to accommodate traffic assuming the Harding Place extension does not happen,'' Dyck said. "We've been working with Mr. Mathews and the city to develop a workable plan, including upgrading Stewarts Ferry Pike and Elm Hill Pike.'' The McCrory Creek Business Project has gone through the Metro Planning Commission and passed two of three required readings for approval by the Metro Council. The project is planning about 2.5 million square feet of office space with a retail component and hotels as well. The project has a Specific Plan (SP) zoning designation, which requires a development be done strictly by the plan approved or go through the approval process again. The Harding Place extension is a proposed road project that would connect Harding Place to Interstate 40. There are still questions about the path the Harding Place extension will take if it gets built. Metro Councilman Bruce Stanley wants the Harding Place extension's route to be able to access the McCrory Creek Business Park. The Harding Place extension would be a state project. "The Harding Place extension would be a wonderful thing to have happen, but it's been on the plans for decades,'' Mathews said, "and we want to make sure our project isn't, in the short term, dependent. "The steering committee has asked for a number of specific items in the SP Zone, and we've worked through a long process to get there. It includes buffering; very specific land uses on different parcels. We worked extensively on pre-blast surveys, and we are continuing to talk about a couple of off-site traffic upgrades.'' Stanley is also seeking movement with Metro officials to expedite a widening project for Stewarts Ferry Pike, from two lanes to five lanes, that has been designated as a long-range project. The councilman believes Stewarts Ferry Pike is operating well above capacity. "This will be a substantial corporate center,'' Stanley said. "The residents have been supportive if there is appropriate access, and I'm appreciative of Mr. Mathews for working with the residents. It's time for city and state officials make these (roadway) improvements immediately in conjunction with that business park.'' The final vote was deferred for a second time on Nov. 18 and is now scheduled for Jan. 20. The deferral by Stanley was because he wanted to use the time to attain additional support and commitment from the state and regional planners regarding improvements of the Harding Place extension, Stewarts Ferry Pike and Lebanon Pike. The councilman believes planned upgrades to those three roads would positively impact the McCrory Creek Business Park. Stanley has recently sponsored two resolutions passed by the Metro Council requesting state authorities and regional planners commit to these infrastructure upgrades when funding is available. Stanley said he will ask the council for final approval of the McCrory Creek Business Park based on the collaboration of residents and Mathews.

No comments: