Photo by Alison James
The logistics of the future of the Craftmaster building continue to be an ongoing discussion for the planning commission; most recently, an examination of traffic flow and parking needs dominated the discussion.
By Alison James
Going with the flow was the main objective at Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting – the flow of traffic that is.
The Craftmaster building redevelopment by Alexander Lee and CIRG Metals is a multistep process the commission and planning staff have taken on. In addition to approving a potential variance on property line, the commission addressed potential problems with traffic load and parking for the new recycling and warehousing business.
Commission members expressed concern, at April 15’s work session, at the inclusion of six tractor trailer parking spaces on the plan for CIRG.
“I would like to see the truck parking at the back as much as possible,” said Chairman Keith Pridgen, expressing disapproval at the idea that trucks or trailers might be parked visibly along a stretch of Geneva Street.
Planning Director Jerry Kelley clarified that those parking spaces would be used in an ancillary way made necessary by the processing of materials being done by CIRG.
“But that’s something different than we heard two months ago,” Kelley agreed.
Brandon Bolt of Bolt Engineering spoke out to allay the commission’s fears.
“(Lee) indicated to me that his typical trailer parking load would need to be two to three space, but he didn’t want to be limited ... because during peak business times, he might need to have more out there,” Bolt said.
Although one citizen spoke up in concern for the road condition with the possibility of a high traffic load of trucks traveling in and out, Lee said he still anticipates an average of one to three trucks in and out per day.
With the reassurance that truck parking would be limited to six spaces only, and those located behind a historic home on premise that will be used for office space, thecommission voted its approval for conditional use.
“This is in our Gateway corridor area – this is a light traffic area, and we’re trying to make an exception,” Pridgen said. “We’re trying to make it fit without invading the low impact commercial that’s in the area.”
Another traffic dilemma the commission faced was related to the new Guthrie’s being built at Saugahatchee Square, formerly Midway Plaza, on Pepperell Parkway.
Through a combination of odd circumstances, approval was erroneously given to Guthrie’s restaurant owners to cut an entry to their restaurant from Pepperell Parkway; such was never approved by the planning commission.
Prodgen said the concern is the safety of people in traffic “having 100 feet on each side of an access (before the next access).”
“The requirement on an arterial road between turnouts is 400 feet,” Pridgen said. “Prior to the access being put in, there was only 235 feet. Now there’s 100 feet on each side.”
Pridgen and the commission agreed it was not the best solution was to require the access point to be closed completely, but reaching the compromise point might be difficult.
“(Owner) Mike Fimiani feels pretty strongly that he was granted the full access and he deserves to keep it,” said Sean Foote, SR&F architect. “But I think if the alternative was not to have any curb-cut at all, he would very much agree to the right in, right out.”
The “right in, right out” remedy – people could only make right hand turns both into and out of Guthrie’s – would ensure safer ingress and egress of traffic between Pepperell Parkway and Guthrie’s.
“Right now that access is a full access – they can turn left or right,” Pridgen said. “The resolution that I feel may be acceptable ... is a right in, right out. Wen they’re coming down the road, you can turn right, but you can’t turn back across traffic.”
Foote produced a rough draft for the implementation of a concrete “porkchop” traffic island in the access point to direct the right in, right out traffic.
The commission voted in favor of the right in, right out compromise.
The commission also
- approved preliminary and final plats from subdivisions on three lots of Frederick Road; two lots on Enterprise Drive in Tiger Town; and two lots at 4400 Stonewall Road;
- approved conditional use for the Broadway Group in the construction of a Dollar General at 1800 Columbus Parkway
- approved a resolution to the city council to remove the city warehouse on Geneva Street
By Daniel Chesser
One of Opelika’s native sons is utilizing his entrepreneurial spirit to take out the trash in Lee County.
Willie Philpot Jr., 23 and a 2009 Opelika High graduate, has always been into recycling and recognized a need for garbage disposal in the rural parts of Lee County.
“I want to provide Beauregard and pretty much the entire rural Lee County area with a great garbage and recycling pickup service,” Philpot said. “This service (1-800-Disposal) had not been offered before, so I did my research, obtained my permits and was approved by the county commission (in late December 2013).”
Lee County residents who do not live within the city-limits of Opelika and Auburn do not have the opportunity to take advantage of weekly garbage pickup offered by the municipalities and must dispose of trash and recyclable goods at landfills and depots scattered throughout the county.
Philpot is offering local residents a weekly garbage pickup and recycling service for a monthly fee of $16 through his business, 1-800-Disposal, and there is nothing he will not haul off except hazardous materials. Bulky items like couches, stoves and refrigerators are charged separately and picked up on different days than Monday.
“The only thing I do not do is provide the bags for the garbage,” Philpot said. “We pick up every Monday, and the client must have their trash out to the road before 6 a.m., and it must be in bags (no loose trash).”
Philpot said he would like to expand his services to run Monday through Saturday, but he works alone at the moment with the help of his Chevy Z71 pickup and a 7’ x 16’ enclosed trailer (both approved by the Alabama Department of Public Health).
“I want rural Lee County to depend on 1-800-Disposal just like city residents depend on city garbage pickup services,” Philpot said. “I want to have multiple garbage trucks and provide jobs to people in this area.”
So far he has impressed county officials in the early stages of his venture.
“(Philpot) jumped through the virtual hoops and did the right thing to start his business,” said Chris Bozeman, Lee County Environmental Services Director. “If he wants to do anything in the county, he calls to make sure it is OK first, he follows the rules and seems to be a good guy with strong mind out there trying to make a living.”
With the tagline “Let today’s disposal be tomorrow’s comfort,” Philpot is willing to accommodate anyone with his service, especially senior citizens, the disabled, churches, daycares and apartment complexes, but he also wants to improve the environment for the future while he is at it.
“I want to keep our environment clean, and I think ‘going green’ is the way of the future,” Philpot said. “We want people to know we are here, and there is no need for them to have to let trash build up or have to take it to the dump themselves anymore because we can do that for them.”