The Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission agreed, in a split vote Wednesday, to give conditional approval to a revised plan for the next phase of Main Street Oak Ridge.
The revised plan has been sent to Oak Ridge City Council, with the 10 conditions included, for its consideration on Monday night. Council has the final say and can accept or reject the Planning Commission’s recommendation, which was approved in a 5-4 vote, or make its own decision.
There has been some opposition to the revised plan because it would eliminate planned multi-family residential units from an area near JCPenney and close the access road from Rutgers Avenue to the roundabout at Main Street Oak Ridge. The mixed-use development that many in the community say they want could be included in a future phase along Wilson Street.
It’s not clear if the Oak Ridge City Council will agree with either the revised plan or the conditions attached to it by Planning Commission. Council members seemed split over the revised plan at a joint work session featuring the Planning Commission and City Council in November. Three of the seven Council members expressed concerns, and three seemed ready to proceed.
At least some officials have expressed concern that RealtyLink could move on to other developments in other communities if the next phase of its project here is not approved. They have emphasized the potential sales tax revenues that could be brought in by new retailers at Main Street Oak Ridge. That could include four new stores that could be built between PetSmart and JCPenney, requiring the access road to be closed between the roundabout and Rutgers Avenue.
Main Street Oak Ridge is the 58-acre redevelopment of the former Oak Ridge Mall. The first phase of the development is considered to be complete, according to a city memo. The revised plan is being considered as the developer, RealtyLink, prepares to welcome the next wave of tenants.
Phase II could include about 90,000 square feet of new retail buildings, an open space area near Belk, and new sidewalks and crosswalks, according to the city memo.
It’s not clear yet if RealtyLink will agree with the conditions attached by Planning Commission during a special two-hour meeting on Wednesday.
See the agenda for the special meeting of the Planning Commission on Wednesday (December 5) here.
See the agenda for the City Council meeting on Monday (December 10) here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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