On a last-minute item submitted after publication of the December 4 City board meeting agenda, the Board of Aldermen gave the go-ahead to development of the Big 10 Tire Company site at Pinehaven Road and Northside Drive. The City approved the site plan for development and conditional use; however, delays on the developer’s part had halted progress at the site for the past eighteen months.
Big 10 asked to continue developing at their site and to be allowed to build a driveway, parking lot and (to install) drainage at the same time the (City’s) roadway work is being done, City Engineer Bill Owen explained to the board. “This allows the work to be done before wet weather in January-February.”
“This is a bit unusual, and not the normal way we have of doing things,” Mayor Phil Fisher said, adding that this will bring the project up to the plat phase. Big 10 also asked to go ahead with construction on a building on the site, however, this will be at their own risk, as “they can’t get a building permit until the final plan is approved an d so recorded by the board,” Fisher said.
The entire development, including the lot Big 10 is planning to building on, was initially submitted by the owner for approval as a preliminary plat for a commercial subdivision (Mid Point Landing, three lots), which requires that improvements be made per the City’s Subdivision Regulations. According to Owen, a subdivision in the City of Clinton requires that all infrastructure improvements (streets, drainage, water and sewer utilities) that are to be dedicated to the City of Clinton, as well as any storm water detention facilities that are to be constructed as part of the development, be completed and final plat accepted by the Board of Alderman prior to the selling or development of any lot within that subdivision. However, the owner sold a portion of the land to Big 10 before the final plat for the entire subdivision was submitted to the City for Approval.
The preliminary plat for the Mid Point Landing Commercial Subdivision, along with the site plan for Big 10 Tire, was approved by the Board of Aldermen at theri May 16, 2017, board meeting.
At that time, the owner/developer of the property was to have provided an approvable set of construction plans that met all City requirements for the infrastructure improvements (street, drainage, water and sewer utilities) and any storm water detention facilities, so that construction could be completed and a final plat accepted by the City. Once those were completed, Big 10 Tire could begin construction of their improvements. Final documents for the construction of street, drainage, water, sewer utilities and storm water detention for the three-lot development were received and approved October 3, 2018, but the entire subdivision plat has yet to be submitted. Until the entire subdivision plat is approved, no building permits for any of the lots on the property, regardless of ownership, can be issued.
Big 10 has requested that they be allowed to perform some preparatory work now, so that the winter weather doesn’t keep them from moving forward once the developer does what he is required to do by City ordinances.
“The situation [for the delay] was not their fault. Big 10 has anxiously been waiting to come to Clinton, and we want to make sure we have done this properly. We will do this [make an exception], but we will never do this again,” Fisher said.
Alderwoman-at-Large Ricki Garrett expressed opposition to granting the exception to Big 10, and reference discussion at the board’s December 3, 2018, planning meeting regarding “following the rules.” Garrett said: “Even though we say this is a one-time exception, I do have some concerns about setting that precedent to allow for that [exception for Big 10]. I realize this is not Big 10’s fault, but there are numerous instances of people going into business with people who create problems for them and ultimately pay a price for that partnership,” she said. “I think this sets a very dangerous precedent, even though we say we’re not going to do it anymore, although I sympathize with Big 10.”
“The reason that we’re even having this conversation now [is] if you have an owner that in good faith purchased a lot, traditionally, you have the final plat approved before the first lot is sold. To the extent that we are holding the building permit, we are in line with our subdivision [bylaws],” City Attorney Chelsea Brannon said.
Owens explained tht Big 10 cannot begin building any structures until after a final plat has been submitted and accepted by the City. The only improvements that Big 10 is being allowed to construct on their site prior to that acceptance is the drive, parking and drainage improvements.
After discussion, the board approved allowing Big 10 or its representative to construct the roadway and do the preliminary plat simultaneously, with the understanding that a building permit will not be issued until the final plat is received from the owner of the subdivision property. The Big 10 construction includes the first layer of asphalt on the site. The board vote was 6-1, with Alderwoman Garrett the dissenting vote.