Supervisors want for information before voting on access road

By NIKKI ROWELL,

The Madison County board of supervisors has delayed their decision on whether or not to allow another access point onto Church Road from property located south of Church Road and west of Calhoun Station Parkway.

Local business owner Ron Hutchinson is seeking to remove a condition from an earlier agreement that determined the Church Road bypass end in a cul-de-sac.

District One Supervisor Sheila Jones requested that Hutchinson provide more information at the next meeting before she will feel comfortable moving forward on the matter.

“I think we need more information because your traffic count from 2018 is just a car count from Gluckstadt Road,” Jones said to Hutchinson.

Hutchinson is asking for the bypass to be allowed to connect to Church Road.

The board voted to table the matter until the following meeting when more information could be available. District Two Supervisor Trey Baxter was absent.

Gluckstadt resident Tim Slattery spoke out against an additional access point on Church Road, citing traffic and safety as his main concerns.

“The agreement was made in 2015, and there was a lot of protest from the local community at that time,” Slattery said. “They came up with an agreement at that time to satisfy both sides…Now we are back some years later to see if this agreement can be partially rescinded. I just want to voice my objection to this whole matter.”

Slattery said it would affect the area’s safety, as the additional access point would not align with the existing road across the street, so turning it into an intersection could prove difficult.

“I think that the property can be developed economically and safely without extra traffic being put out onto Church Road,” Slattery said.

Jones suggested Hutchinson work with his engineer at Neel Shaffer, Johnathan Kaiser, to determine what businesses he wants to set up shop on that property so that they can estimate a car count and figure out how much additional traffic could result.

“So we can actually see a truer idea of what the traffic will be like, as you know Gluckstadt is pretty busy already,” Jones said. “Depending on the type of businesses, the engineers can calculate the amount of traffic those businesses will generate.”

Jones said six businesses had been added to that area since the last car count was done that Hutchinson presented to the board.

“We need more current information,” she said. “Our job is to keep traffic moving. We need you to tell us how much traffic we’re gonna have.”

“We want development. But our roads need to be able to handle the traffic,” she added.

Hutchinson got the go-ahead from the Planning Commission for the removal of the cul-de-sac requirement.

However, he also asked to remove the requirement of a three-foot berm to be located along the northern part of the property as well.

The board approved the request for access to Church Road but denied the request to remove the berm.

According to Hutchinson’s lawyers, the development he has planned for that property is intended to attract high-end businesses to the area, which they said would benefit the community “both aesthetically and economically.”

“Right now, all of the development has been along Calhoun Station Parkway because you have access,” he said. “There has been very little development along this road primarily because very few high-end businesses want to develop at the end of a dead end.”

They said the businesses will not include convenience stores, tobacco stores or truck stops.

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