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The planning commission examined a large-scale development for an expansion of the Harps grocery store at Towncenter during its work session last Thursday, Sept. 27.

The proposed development includes a 9,606 square-foot addition to the structure, performed by Crafton Tull, and significant changes to the parking area for the grocery store, which sits on a 7.82-acre parcel owned by Cooper Realty Investments Inc.

Community Development Services director Kevin Gambrill said this is a relatively straightforward expansion and remodel of an existing grocery store.

"It's a simple reinvestment and redevelopment of an existing grocer," he said.

The city council will be discussing whether to vacate a portion of Memorial Drive to make space for the modified parking, he explained, and the board of zoning adjustments will need to grant a variance for the proposed parking layout which has four fewer spaces but should still allow for adequate parking.

Because of the parking difference, he said, the board of zoning adjustments will need to consider granting a variance during its Oct. 16 meeting.

The city council is also going to be considering a right-of-way vacation on Memorial Drive related to this project, he said.

Commissioner Shawki Al-Madhoun said he wanted to be sure the property drains correctly after this project to avoid another situation like Sunset Drive.

"Make sure the sucker is safe, that's all," he said.

Barry Williams, the landscape architect for the project, said the drainage will be largely unchanged. Water is not going to be deviated, he said, though the project does include some corrections for locations where water currently backs up.

In addition, he said, the parking should not be an issue. While the plan came in three spaces short for the zoning requirements, he said, there is adjacent property under the same ownership with parking available.

Williams said Cooper is also working on a facelift all around the retail spaces nearby.

"When this is all said and done, you're going to have a new Harps, a new retail facility," he said.

During open discussion, Gambrill took a moment to discuss the situation on Sunset Drive.

Currently, he said, officials are waiting on a geotechnical report from the applicant, which will need to be reviewed by Garver, an engineering firm hired by the city.

"We still need to know ... what the cause of the failure was and what will be the plan going forward," he said.

No action can be taken until that report is acquired and verified, he said.

The report will summarize the cause of the failure, Gambrill explained, and officials will examine the retaining wall included in the application to ensure it is adequate for a project like this. The information collected here will help the street department decide how to proceed, he said.

Vice-chair Doug Farner asked what the planning commission should learn from this incident.

"When I saw them cut the dirt back there, I thought 'man, that's steep,'" he said. "I have learned to ask questions."

Gambrill said the plans for this project did not include a detailed plan that included how the slope will be stabilized in construction or how long after the cut the wall would be installed.

"At the permit review level, we need to be looking at a schedule of construction," he said.

At this point, he said, work has stopped on the site and the repairs are expected to be at the construction firm's expense.

General News on 10/03/2018

Print Headline: Planning commission considers Harps expansion, renovation

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