Athens Review, Athens, Texas

January 16, 2014

Let the remodel begin

Chandler Brookshire's moves ahead after council approval

Chad Wilson
The Athens Review

Athens — The Brookshire's grocery store in Chandler will look a lot different in less than a year after the city council approved expansion plans.

Brookshire's Project Architect Keith Lybrand spoke to the city council during its regularly-scheduled meeting Tuesday, before a unanimous decision was made to move forward with the project.

Council approved the final plat for two lots on 6.091 acres located north of State Highway 31. The two lots needed to be created to expand the existing grocery store, and will construct a new gas station.

A .433-acre tract of land located along Kidd Drive is being acquired by Brookshire's to be used as part of this development. It will be platted as part of lot one in the proposed plan. Lot two is the gas station.

Brookshire's is planning to donate .345 acres of land to use as the right-of-way for the extension of Saw Mill Road. The proposed road will result in 60 feet of right-of-way, as called for in the adopted master thoroughfare plan.

While the plat was submitted without much discussion, council spoke with Lybrand on several items regarding the final site plan for the store.

Once discussions were complete, council approved the site plan as presented, contingent on the access drive on Kidd Drive  to not be opened until the final inspection on the remodel is complete.

Located at 703 State Highway 31 East, the existing 29,990 square-foot grocery store is projected to receive a massive make-over, similar to what was done in Athens and Flint.

A 10,315 square foot expansion was approved, which will result in a 40,305 square-foot store.

With the added lot on Kidd Drive, 233 parking spaces are proposed.  That is 135 more than the store offers today.

The Chandler Planning and Zoning Commission made several recommendations during its meeting on the site last week.

Those recommendations included: building facade materials be approved as submitted allowing deviations from the required architectural standards for masonry coverage; a landscape plan be approved as submitted with the addition of six crepe myrtles on the frontage of State Highway 31 approximately spaced on 60-foot centers; sidewalks be shown on the east side of Saw Mill Road and on the north side of State Highway 31, if permitted by the Texas Department of Transportation and feasible, based on site engineering.

Other planning and zoning recommendations included that  gas kiosk and canopy plans be submitted for review and the Kidd Drive contingency.

Council agreed the building materials were satisfactory and an improvement on the current location's design. The gas kiosk was also approved as presented.

Brookshire's added crepe myrtles to the site plan that council approved while sidewalks were found not to be feasible by Lybrand.

“In our opinion, the sidewalk along Highway 31 in not feasible for two reasons,” Lybrand said. “Number one, we have done some preliminary investigation into it, as far as grades or slopes of the sidewalks are concerned.”

Lybrand said ADA standards require the slopes have no more than a maximum of a 5-percent grade along the running slope and 2-percent on the cross.

“When you get toward the east end of the project, we are over five percent,” he said. “We would have to build retaining walls to cope with that. When we come across our existing drive, the cross slope is 6-percent, and we would have to tear the whole drive out and replace it.”

Lybrand's second feasibility issue was the numerous utility lines on the property where the proposed sidewalk would be located.

“In our opinion, there are a lot of conflicts that would prohibit this being a common-sense approach to installing a walk that currently would be one of the only walks in town on 31.”

Council members felt a sidewalk down 31 would be nice, but questioned the purpose, if it did not have other walkways to connect to in the city.

“Brookshire's has got deep pockets. They could do this. But some of this smaller businesses that are going in, and would have to bear that kind of expense might not be able to afford it,” Councilman Gene Giger said. “I am a sidewalk person. I have pushed real hard to get them in the subdivisions, and I will continue to do that. But, I am concerned what it might do to a smaller business, and I don't think we can require them on one without all.”

Brookshire's Vice President of Real Estate John Broderhausen said the company would like to start the project in February.  With a project of this size, Broderhausen said it could take nine months to complete.