City will not disturb private property in building of Walgreens

By Julie Fann
Star Staff

Elizabethton Planning and Development Director, David Ornduff, on Tuesday said the city will not disturb private property if a Knoxville development company and the owner of the North American Corporation site decide to build a Walgreens Drugstore at the intersection of West Elk Avenue and Hudson Drive. "What we do not want is for an entrance to the property to be built directly onto West Elk Avenue. The proposed entrance would be located too close to the traffic light at the intersection of Hudson Drive and West Elk," he said.
   Ornduff said the city also did not agree to build a temporary access road connecting the proposed store to West Elk Avenue. "What we are saying is that they can use the access road that is already existent at the site." Ornduff said any decision to build a marginal access road from Hudson Drive to Williams Avenue would need to be made and financed by the developer and the property owner, but that the city would not be involved in that decision or process.
   Ornduff explained the hazard that would exist by removing 40 feet of curb space to build an entrance to the proposed Walgreens directly onto West Elk. "If there were an entrance there, and a car turned right onto West Elk Avenue, and an emergency vehicle was traveling through that light to get to its destination, that car would be crushed by oncoming traffic," Ornduff said. Ornduff also pointed to the fact that several businesses already have direct access to West Elk and that adding another entrance would create severe traffic problems.
   The Major Thoroughfare Plan proposed by the city has already made great strides to improve any build up of traffic congestion on West Elk Avenue, including installing a new traffic signal at the intersection at Hudson Drive, and relocating the North American Corporation entrance from West Elk to Hudson.
   Ornduff said he does not know when the Knoxville-based developer will contact him regarding the new business.