Dresden Planning Commission Discusses New Downtown Business, Planning Grant

BY DAVID FISHER
david@dresdenenterprise.com
DRESDEN (June 25) — There is a new business possibly coming to downtown Dresden, according to information coming from the Dresden Municipal-Regional Planning Commission on June 25.
Donny Bunton, Community Planner for the Northwest Tennessee Development District, stated Jimbo Crawford and his business partner, Steve Pectol, wish to convert the old Coffee Cup Restaurant building, located on the court square, into a deli-meat market business. Bunton noted Crawford plans on building a deck in the alley next to the restaurant.
Crawford stated there is a side entrance to the restaurant building that can be used to provide access to a deck he plans on building that extends into the alley. He explained plans call for constructing an elevated deck with eight-feet of overhead clearance underneath. This will allow shoppers to continue parking in the rear and using the alley to access downtown businesses, as they always have.
A 10 ft. x 16 ft. walk-in freezer and grills to cook food for the restaurant would be located on the deck. However, the deck will not be used for customer dining. He added the deck would help supplement the floor space in the building.
Bunton said, “In any other zoning district, if somebody was going to go over a property line into an alley, we’d have an issue regarding encroaching on a setback. But, in a General Business District, there is no setback, so there is no need for them to go to the Board of Zoning Appeals to obtain a variance for a setback.”
“We don’t want to do anything to prevent ingress or egress to the alley,” Judge Moore said.
Mayor Washburn agreed saying, “I think the need to maintain the alley is absolute and without question.”
A set of drawings showing the deck project must be presented to the Dresden City Board, so board members will be able to see how it would look and function.
Mayor Washburn stated the City of Dresden owns the alley and may have to deed an easement to the overhead space, in order for the deck to be built.
Strawbridge recommended proceeding with the project. Other members of the Planning Commission agreed and voted to recommend the project to the Dresden City Board for its consideration.
The commission members also discussed a Transportation Planning Grant awarded to the City of Dresden by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT).
Ben Bradberry, Rural Planning Organization (RPO) Coordinator for the Northwest Tennessee Development District, appeared before the Planning Commission to explain the procedures involved in utilizing grant funding.
According to City Recorder Jennifer Branscum, the City of Dresden is uncertain of the dollar amount of the grant. She noted the Tennessee Department of Transportation will provide 90 percent of the cost for the study, and Dresden the remaining 10 percent. If the maximum amount is awarded, the grant will provide $112,500 and the City of Dresden will match of $12,500.
The grant assists rural communities with planning efforts to improve cohesiveness between multimodal transportation systems and local land use objectives in order to achieve statewide transportation goals. The grant also aids in the creation of planning documents that support improvements in traffic flow, safety, and overall efficiency of the local transportation system. Additionally, it provides governments with planning resources to achieve community visions related to transportation and land use needs promoting future economic growth.
The focus of the study includes widening the street and constructing curbs and gutters on Evergreen Street, beginning in the vicinity of the Church of Christ and continuing to Hwy 22; installing a merging lane at the intersection of Pikeview Street and Hwy 22; and installing a traffic light at the intersection of Linden Street and Hwy 22.
Bradberry stated a study funded by the grant will facilitate the flow of traffic through the area. He noted TDOT will assign a consulting firm to the City of Dresden. The city must form a steering committee for the grant. “You have to tell the engineering firm what you wish to learn about the area where improvements are planned,” Bradberry said. “They come and perform a study and have meetings to update the steering committee. They will explain what they have done and ask if the city has something else they wish for them to study. Then, they will submit their final report. Once the city adopts the report, it can use the planning document to leverage for grant money to correct the issues found during the study.”
Bradberry stated he estimates the planning document should be completed by the spring of 2021. This will allow the city to use the document to help procure a multi-modal grant, which can be as much as $1 million. A grant in the amount of $1 million would provide 95.0 percent of the project cost, which amounts to $950,000. In such a case, Dresden would pay the remaining 5.0 percent totaling $50,000.
Judge Tommy Moore, who chairs the Dresden Planning Commission, asked Mayor Jeff Washburn who he recommends to serve on the steering committee. The mayor said, since the Planning Commission initiated applying for the grant, they should serve as the steering committee.
Allen Strawbridge agreed members of the Planning Commission should be named to serve on the steering committee.
Mayor Washburn then officially appointed Dresden’s Planning Commission members to serve as the steering committee.

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