Documents from last month indicate an Illinois-based applicant is seeking several variances to potentially bring a Texas Roadhouse restaurant to Cartersville.
A memorandum from firm GreenbergFarrow indicates the restaurant chain looks to open a new location within the Kroger Marketplace shopping center off Main Street. Records indicate the roughly 3.8-acre, commercially-zoned parcel is currently owned by Cartersville's South of Main, LLC.
The applicant seeks several exemptions to Main Street Overlay District standards. Among other variance requests, the applicant is asking for exemptions allowing the restaurant to construct a roof with a pitch lower than stipulated by the overlay and create two parking rows between the building and East Main Street.
“Those are all items that are a little stricter than our normal zoning ordinance because it’s in the Main Street Overlay District,” said Cartersville City Planner David Hardegree. “They’re just asking for some relief to a portion of those requirements, not to amend the entire requirement.”
City documents indicate the site, which is across Main Street from the entrance of the Avonlea Highlands apartments, is pad-ready.
The Kentucky-headquartered restaurant chain has more than 500 locations across the globe, with 2019 revenue surpassing $2.7 billion.
Conceptual site plans show the restaurant itself spanning about 7,500 square feet, with a parking lot footprint containing a little under 200 spaces.
Hardegree said the City has been in discussions with the applicant since last September.
Under normal circumstances, he said it would take about six-to-12 months for the application to move through the permitting process to construction.
“Since we’re in this period of time with the coronavirus and we had to postpone our variance hearing, that’s going to push the timeline out several months,” Hardegree said. “So it’s probably going to turn into something closer an 18-to-24-month period.”
A public hearing on the variance requests was initially slated for a March 23 board of zoning appeals meeting.
With April 20th's planned board of zoning appeals meeting likewise cancelled, Hardegree said the earliest the application would go before City officials now would be May 18.
At this time, he said the City has no data on the size of the proposed financial investment, adding he’s not aware of any tax benefits available for the outlot development.
As for the prospects of additional Main Street developments, Hardegree said he hasn’t heard much concerning potential projects near and around the Kroger Marketplace shopping center.
“There’s a Phase II that was planned with the master plan for Kroger, which was a strip mall area just to the east of the Kroger building itself,” he said. “At the very end of Main Street, there's a hotel being constructed right now — there’s always been talk, for the last 15 or 20 years, about developing the end of Main Street where the hotel’s being constructed, but as of right now, there’s no further plans for any section of Main Street from the Kroger area back to the interstate.”
In the wake of the COVID-19-spawned economic downturn, Hardegree said the applicant is relying on the local government to “guide the discussion.”
Since the consultant for the proposed project is out of state, Hardegree noted that travel restrictions could impede forward movement on the development.
“Their travel restrictions could extend past what we would allow for a public hearing, so we’ll just have to figure that out as we get closer to the May 18 meeting,” he said.