The developers of a Seaside property intended to house a new Grocery Outlet got what they were asking for Tuesday night from the Planning Commission: approval to build an 18,000-square-foot retail building at Avenue N and U.S. Highway 101.
But the developers — Main & Main Capital Group of The Colony, Texas — may not like the conditions, which require a recommended left-turn lane in accordance with the state Department of Transportation.
Construction of a turn lane, originally proposed as part of a state highway upgrade scheduled for 2020, was delayed indefinitely because of a lack of state funds.
Developers would need to come up with the $3 million estimated to add the turn lane.
The new store is a permitted use under the city’s zoning, but the city’s highway overlay requires a Planning Commission review of any project that will generate a significant number of vehicle trips.
With an estimated 1,300 daily trips, commissioners were wary of adding to already long traffic backups without the southbound left-turn lane.
Jeff Hazen, executive director of the Sunset Empire Transportation District, asked the commission to consider the impacts of the store on the surrounding area.
“My concern is bus delays, especially in the summer months,” Hazen said. “We just want to make sure you take that into consideration and the board recommend that the conditional approval of a left-hand turn lane be put on the applicant.”
Michael Ard, an engineer representing Main & Main Capital, argued that the turn lane “was not essential.”
The multimillion-dollar cost to extend the turn lane is “a burden well beyond what Grocery Outlet can handle.”
Ard said the city could approve the project “even absent that turn lane, and that’s what we’re requesting tonight.”
Commissioner Bill Carpenter gave developers another option, proposing a right-turn in, right-turn out configuration with a barrier to allow traffic to flow through the intersection. That proposal would also require state approval, Planning Director Kevin Cupples said. “I don’t know what ODOT would say to that but they’d have to approve anything done in the roadway,” he said.
Chris Hoth, the commission chairman, and Commissioners Carpenter, Teri Carpenter, Lou Neubecker and David Posalski unanimously approved the request, with the conditions of a turn lane or right turns only out of Avenue N.
“If they don’t like the conditions of the proposal, they can appeal it, or come back to us,” Posalski said before the vote.