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New Cracker Barrel Restaurant Moves Forward in Cold Spring

The property has been a lot of things in recent years - but most locals remember 4210 Alexandria Pike in Cold Spring as Buckskin Bev's, or even earlier as Grayson's Inn.

Soon, the site - also once known as Guys & Dolls, and more recently and briefly as Reflections on the Lake - could be known as a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. Developers behind the project that would bring the popular national chain to the city appeared before the municipal planning and zoning commission on Wednesday evening. The historic building would be razed and replaced by a new building.

As the meeting began before a crowded room of interested Cold Spring residents, Vice Chairman Mark Stoeber made a motion to table the discussion entirely until another evening, much to the audible groans and chagrin of the audience.

“Mr. Chair, at this moment, I’d like to ask for a process motion… I have found there to be quite a few legal complexities in this particular public hearing that are both complex legal and have complex city history to them. (Substitute city attorney) Jack (Gatlin), no offense," Stoeber said, "I would feel the public in this body would be better served if this meeting was tabled until a time when Brandon (Voelker, Cold Spring Legal Counsel) could be the representation because Brandon has been with the city for twenty years. He knows our zoning rules and regulations, so at this time, I’d like to put forward a motion to table this meeting until a future date.”

Stoeber’s request was met with silence from commissioners and the meeting continued.

Several people pointed out how the location has struggled with stable establishments in more recent years and logistics could be a key reason. Making a left turn on to Alexandria Pike (U.S. 27) can be difficult due to the amount of traffic and the slight hill creating a blind spot for vehicles. Stoeber added that 80 percent of Cold Spring’s population lives north of U.S. 27, creating the consistent logjam at the nearby intersection of Bunning Lane and Granite Springs. Campbell County Planning & Zoning Director Cindy Minter said that Cracker Barrel’s site proposal includes the realignment of Matinee Drive by the city.

“The drive will be closed to thru traffic but will be used as a buffer area and access point for the utilities that are in the corridor. The proposed building is a little over a 10,000-square foot building. It does have a 17-foot concrete loading pad, transformer pad and a dumpster enclosure. The site layout plan does include a 24-foot wide curb cut off of Bunning Lane and a 30-foot wide curb cut off of Alexandria Pike,” Minter said.

Regarding the Erosion Control & Sediment Plan, Stoeber questioned “technical issues,” surrounding the lake nearby on the property. “It’s clear they are surrounding the lake with drain pipes and catch basins. All of those catch basins and drainage pipes are going to be outlets into the lake...This is not a storm water question. This is just an obvious statement. Whether or not it meets the storm water requirements is irrelevant to this question. The site plan grading is funneling all of the water on the property into the lake, correct?,” he asked.

Will Craig, of Design & Engineering Inc., said that was indeed the existing position and that is also the proposed condition.

“The difference in the proposed condition is, it exits through pipes, which is significantly less destructive to the site, so we’re using catch basins and storm water pipes,” Craig said. “All I’m trying to do is make sure I’m reading this correctly, that basically, the southern side of the property is going to drain into the lake and the northern side of the property is going to drop to the back, be collected through catch basins and exit to a new exit point,” Stoeber clarified.

However, the lake was turned over to the city, so it is not in the developers’ hands. “As I believe, our subdivisions require the developer to control and maintain the water around their property?,” Stoeber asked Gatlin.

“By looking at this grid, the lake is eventually going to become city property. The issue is, would there be any kind of exposure or liability to Cracker Barrel (if) that they don’t unduly accelerate that water,” Gatlin responded. “It’s no different than if you buy a house downhill from a house uphill, you’re going to be absorbing some water.”

“You are referring to the fill-in terms of sedimentation?,” Minter asked Stoeber. “There are two different types of flow. It is a very shallow lake and I use the term lake loosely, so it is shallow,” she added, to clarify some of his concerns surrounding the project.

In the community, residents are generally looking forward to the popular restaurant known for its southern home-style meals. However, some are concerned about the potential traffic issues. “It seems to me that the cart was before the horse,” Linda Brinkley told the Planning & Zoning members. “A traffic study wasn’t done. I don’t understand that. I researched this a little bit and the only study I could find was in 2004 from OKI and they did a projected study to 2030, and traffic and population has increased exponentially. Now obviously, they are behind the mark here. There should’ve been, I feel, a more recent study done because many of us who have lived here – I’ve lived here since 1975 – and I know what’s happened. I’ve always said I didn’t want Cold Spring to become Florence,” she said.

After Brinkley spoke, the planning and zoning commission gave its OK to the site plan for Cracker Barrel, with the following conditions:

1) The storm water plan be approved by the City of Cold Spring.
2) Minor adjustments be permitted reflecting the final negotiations with the City of Cold Spring regarding transfer of the lake parcel.
3) That the applicant prepare a traffic study of the proposed development for review by the city of Cold Spring.
 
The vote was 6 to 1 in favor, with only Stoeber objecting. Members Peter Glenn, Samuel Conner, Michael Foulks, Robin Hahn, Steve Popovich, and Ron Schumacher supported the plan.

Other Notes From Around Campbell Co.:

Campbell County Fiscal Court met briefly Wednesday evening where guests of the Court, Dale Edmondson and Tiffany Nichols, of the Campbell County Dispatch Center received citation awards from state Senator Will Schroder for their years of service to the community.

The Court also accepted the recent retirement request of assistant Police Chief Todd Straman, effective December 1.

Written by Jason Finnell, RCN contributor

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