Planners rezone land for Walgreens development

By Thomas Wilson

The Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission voted 6-0 to approve a rezoning request and close an alley between Broad Street and East C Street Tuesday night that effectively green lights a property development for a Walgreens drug store.
Commissioners voted to rezone property at 213 East C Street from R-1 residential to B-1 business fulfilling the request submitted by Ed Street of Johnson City. The property was the only piece of real estate that is expected to be home for a Walgreens drug store on the corner of Broad Street and Lynn Avenue.
Commissioners also voted 6-0 to approve Street's request to close an alley lying between Broad Street and East C Street from Lynn Avenue to the Elizabethton Church of Christ.
A large portion of the alley was closed by the city in 1994, Ornduff said. Garbage trucks had used the open portion of the alley to collect trash since that closure, he said.
Ornduff also recommended the city retain its right-of-way easement through the alley for the existence of utility services. A sanitary sewer line extending beneath one property and the alley would have to be relocated as part of the development.
The Napa Auto Parts business presently located on Broad Street property is expected to be moved adjacent to Hardee's restaurant to accommodate the development, according to the department of Planning and Development. The commission voted 4-3 in May to rezone property included in the Walgreens footprint from residential to business for the Happy Valley Credit Union.
Commission Chairman Haynes Elliott along with commissioners Ken Markland, Jack Cole, Nancy Alsup, Sam Shipley, Manual Bandarra, and Victor Deloach voted to approve the rezoning and alley closure. Commissioner Jack Cole was absent.
The Broad Street Walgreens development comes almost one year after a Knoxville development firm sought to establish a drug store on West Elk Avenue on the former North American Rayon Corp. property. A proposal to build a 14,800 square-feet Walgreens drug store on a portion of the NARC land was derailed after the commission declined to approve a site plan with a "curb cut" a few feet west of the NARC egress on West Elk Avenue.
The Planning Commission also voted 6-0 to approve the rezoning of approximately 38 parcels of property in the Biltmore community lying outside the city limits but within the planning commission's urban growth boundary from A-1 agricultural to R-1 residential.
Carter County Director of Planning Chris Schuettler explained the commission's approval was needed under state law pertaining to urban growth and development on a city's fringe areas. The county Planning Commission approved the rezoning in December. The full County Commission will consider the rezoning request at its next meeting on Jan. 12.
In other business, the commission voted 6-0 to grant site plan approval for a duplex apartment development at 1825 West G St. to Bill Taylor. Commissioners also voted 6-0 to approve the site plan for a condominium subdivision made by Grace Lepkofker and Pauline Mattalino for their residences at the corner of North East Street and Elliott Street.