HANCOCK COUNTY – Plans are moving forward on a commercial development on the Mt. Comfort Corridor, but concerns remain over adding congestion to an already high-traffic area.
The project consists of a 10,313-square-foot building with four units at the northwest corner of Mt. Comfort Road and CR 300N. An approximately 5,000-square-foot Don Rigo Mexican Grill & Bar will anchor the property.
Trent Baxter of Versatile Construction, representing the development, said at a Hancock County Area Plan Commission meeting this week that the remaining tenants have yet to be determined.
The building will have a drive-thru as well and plans for the property also identify an area with public art, benches and landscaping.
“It’s really on a principal corner of our Mt. Comfort Corridor,” said Kayla Brooks, county planning director.
She praised the architectural renderings associated with the project.
“They are very much in keeping with the high-quality architecture that we are requiring along that corridor,” Brooks said. “It’s going to be a very nicely decorated building – lots of differences in projections and heights, entryway features, we’ve got multiple surfaces, entryways clearly defined. They’re definitely making this very attractive.”
Access to and from the site will be off CR 300N about as far as possible from the road’s roundabout with Mt. Comfort Road to the east. Gary McDaniel, a plan commission member, asked if a divider would be placed on CR 300N in front of the entrance and exit, preventing eastbound CR 300N traffic from turning left into the site and preventing those leaving the location from turning left onto CR 300N. Gary Pool, county engineer, told the Daily Reporter there are currently no plans to place a divider there.
McDaniel expressed safety concerns over making left turns in and out of the location in such a busy area and suggested requiring that only right turns in and out be allowed. But Michael Long, a plan commission member, said public safety agencies would likely frown upon reducing ways in which the site could be accessed. McDaniel, a former Greenfield Plan Commission member, acknowledged the Greenfield Fire Territory prefers more than one way to access properties.
The Hancock County Area Plan Commission approved a development plan review for the project by a vote of 4-1, with McDaniel, Long, Tyler Edon and Renee Oldham voting in favor and Scott Wooldridge voting against. Wendell Hester and Byron Holden were absent.
“I’m concerned about congestion in this area,” Wooldridge said. “…I understand if it’d be one restaurant – it makes more sense. But four different stores – and who knows – you could get something really good in there like a Five Below or something, that place could be packed.”
The Hancock County Board of Zoning Appeals approved variances from county development standards requested for the project this week as well. Those included reducing the front setback from 50 feet to 40 feet and reducing the landscape buffer area from 20 feet to 11 feet.