A proposed athletic equipment warehouse and a storage complex on Monday became the latest new developments to get site plan approval from the Pooler Planning and Zoning Commission.
Planning commissioners signed off on a site plan for CAP Barbell, a proposed 200,000-square-foot warehouse facility complete with a truck court and employee parking at the North Point Industrial Park, 1611 Dean Forest Road. They also recommended approval of the site plan for Pooler Storage, a 4-acre complex that includes a three-story storage building and three additional one-story buildings at 240 Park Ave.
These new site plan proposals mark the 10th and 11th to be reviewed by city officials since the start of the year, which outpaces the number of site plan submissions during the same period of 2015.
Among the other site plans reviewed so far this year are some new restaurants, a car dealership and some retail and warehouse space.
Most recently, the Planning Commission reviewed site plans for a new Publix supermarket at the Savannah Quarters development — a highly publicized and debated proposal.
This time last year, the Planning Commission had reviewed seven site plans — a new restaurant, a storage facility, a hotel, an assisted living facility and three new warehouses. The submissions slowed down in the months that followed. During all of 2015, only 14 site plans were reviewed by the planning commission.
Pooler Zoning Administrator Kim Classen said its difficult to explain last year’s lull — she’s heard it may have been related to the municipal elections — but she expects the stream of new site plan applications to continue during the second half of 2016.
The zoning director said Monday the site plan process is the last administrative hurdle developers must clear before they can apply to the city for a building permit.
The plans are submitted to city staff, where they’re reviewed by building officials and the city engineer for comments. When the bulk of the comments are addressed, Classen said, it is put before the planning commission for review.
The planning commission then makes a recommendation to the city council, where the site plans are voted up or down. Then it’s back to city building officials for another meeting to correct any outstanding issues before the building permit is issued.
According to city documents, the point of this rather detailed site plan review process is to provide city officials and the public with information about how a proposed new development will affect the surrounding area, and the city as a whole.
After the meeting Monday, Pooler City Councilwoman Rebecca Benton, a regular attendee of the planning commission’s meetings, said she, too, expects more development, especially along Pooler Parkway in the rapidly growing “new” area of the city.
“People need to know it’s not rural anymore, it’s urban,” she said, adding that the only way opponents of the additional development can prevent it is to buy up and limit construction on the remaining undeveloped property.
Pooler site plan reviews
Site plan reviews for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and at this point in 2016, according to the city of Pooler’s archive of Planning and Zoning Commission minutes:
• As of May 9, 2016: 11
• Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2015: 14
• Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2014: 17
• Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2013: 32
• Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2012: 15