Plans for a new, 46,000-square-foot Publix grocery store at the entrance of the Savannah Quarters community got approval for development Monday from the Pooler City Council.
Council members voted unanimously in support of the site plan for the Publix on Blue Moon Crossing, with the understanding that a traffic signal would need to be installed at Blue Moon’s intersection with Pooler Parkway before a certificate of occupancy for the store would be issued. The development also includes 5,600 square feet of additional commercial space.
Leading up to the council meeting, the city planning and zoning board had reviewed and recommended approval of the site plan, and prior to that a performance bond and major subdivision plat for the project, which was approved by the city council on April 18.
Some residents of the Westbrook community in Savannah Quarters had been critical of the proposal, specifically a facet of the plan that calls for the public use of Westbrook Lane — a private road that has previously only been used by Westbrook residents.
A regular fixture at the last three discussions of the development, Savannah Quarters resident Jeff Jepson on Monday asked the council to require a traffic study on the effects the new commercial site would have on nearby road conditions.
“It would really be beneficial to the community,” he said, “to get that traffic study done in advance.”
But City Manager Robbie Byrd said that since the developer has committed to the traffic signal, the engineer for the project didn’t see the need for the study.
Representatives of the Savannah Quarters development and the managing firm for Publix, LStar Community, reported they have met with residents of Savannah Quarters and its Westbrook community on the project to address the public’s concerns about the effect of adding commercial property to the area.
In a letter to Savannah Quarters homeowners, provided to Pooler officials with the site plan, LStar reported its intent “to mitigate any additional traffic impact on the residents of Savannah Quarters.”
Among the additions to the plan that LStar proposed was the installation of signs and perhaps speed bumps to discourage commercial traffic from using the private street Westbrook Lane to access the Publix. LStar also reported that Publix and the other commercial tenants would make payments to the local homeowners association for the future maintenance of Westbrook Lane.
J. Adam Ashbaugh, a representative of LStar, told the council members on Monday his company will work closely with Publix to make sure there are “no detrimental effects” on Westbrook Lane.
Meanwhile, Richard Phillips, vice president of the Westbrook at Savannah Quarters Community Association, wrote in a letter to the city that the homeowners association would provide for right-in commercial access on Westbrook Lane, but would specify with signs that any right-out traffic would be limited to residents of Westbrook.
The main access road for the grocery store and its official address will be on Blue Moon Crossing, the site plan approved by city officials Monday indicates.
Pooler Councilwoman Rebecca Benton, a resident of Savannah Quarters and regular user of Westbrook Lane, said Monday that while she preferred to have the traffic study conducted, she hoped the project’s developers would keep their word and work with the public on the future maintenance of the street.
After the meeting Monday, Benton said she’s hopeful the outcome will be to each side’s satisfaction.
In other business Monday, the council:
• Approved the final plat for the expansion of Bethel Cemetery on Little Neck Road.
• Signed off on a request to recombine two lots on the Reynolds Dairy Tract on Raymond Road.
• Accepted the site plan for a Dunkin Donuts at the site of the former Cancun restaurant on Canal Street.
• Voted in favor of a special construction agreement with AT&T for the relocation of existing facilities for Pooler City Hall at an estimated cost of $122,640.56.
• Approved special event permits for Alliance Coach of Georgia to sell recreational vehicles in the Food Lion parking lot from May 27 to June 5, and for Rincon Chevrolet to sell autos in the Wal-Mart parking lot from July 12 to July 16.