Plans for a hotel on Ikebana Path were postponed again at last Thursday’s Georgetown-Scott County Planning Commission meeting, this time as involved parties see what the state transportation department is planning for traffic patterns.
The state informed the city on Sept. 6 that crews would begin blacktopping Connector Road, and as part of that project, there would only be a right turn in and right turn out at Oxford Drive where Applebee’s is located. In other words, there would be no left turns onto Oxford from Connector Road, nor any left turns off Oxford onto Connector Road. To access Oxford coming from the Bypass, drivers will have to turn left onto Blossom Park Drive and use a new access road near Planet Fitness to get to Oxford Drive and those businesses.
Georgetown City Engineer Eddie Hightower said the state will also be putting in “quick curbs” to prevent left turns. Those curbs, which are hard rubber poles, will be placed from Oxford Drive stopping shortly before the Bypass.
The proposed hotel on Ikebana is planned near Planet Fitness and the former Golden Corral. It has sparked an outcry from Cherry Blossom residents concerned about increasing traffic, safety and other issues.
But hotel developers said they were postponing the hearing. Planning Commissioner Steve Smith noted the state’s work may make traffic in the area better.
“It’s possible the state will make some changes there in the traffic flow that will help us all out,” he said.
Hotel developers said they have met with the neighbors, the state and the city and some suggestions were made on traffic, so they felt it was best to postpone the hearing 30 days to see what is implemented and finish their traffic study. Development did say they have already met some residents’ request such as moving an entrance and a dumpster farther away from a home.
“I think that will be to everybody’s liking to make sure the neighbors in that area are satisfied with the traffic flow,” Smith said.
The traffic plans were also discussed at last Monday’s Georgetown City Council meeting, particularly the fact the state gave very little notice they were planning to change the traffic pattern before the city had a chance to inform local businesses.
“We were notified pretty suddenly that they were paving this week. We’ve touched on this before. It’s a big deal to the people on Oxford and the businesses there,” said Mayor Tom Prather. “We asked the state to give us time to work with the residents, traffic committee and businesses. But the state basically said, and it is a state road, we can ask them not to do it. But if that’s the case, they would want us to sign a contract that we would do it very soon and we’d pay for it.”
Councilman Todd Stone asked about a light installed in that area, something residents have requested. Hightower said the state says it is too close to current lights.
Councilman David Lusby said there are several businesses on Oxford that would be negatively impacted by the right turn in and out.
“I think we’ve discussed a more favorable option with the state. Why can’t we have some time?” he said. “It is going to have a bad impact on those businesses, especially the restaurant.”
Prather said the state says the accident numbers at this area are the highest in the city.
“No one is saying nothing needs to be done,” Lusby said. “You can’t make a left turn out of the gas station onto Connector Road.”
He said the state had shown a plan of widening the road in front of Applebee’s and putting two turn lanes.
If the city had to pay for it, Hightower estimated it would be about $50,000. He also said there has been talks of straightening out Connector Road, but that is years down the road.
“We were given two bad choices,” Prather said. “But if we tell them no, and we can, we are only saying no for a little while and we have to pay for it.”
Hightower said Friday the city had reached out to the state after the meeting and asked if they could hold off for a little while so the city could talk to some of the business owners and let them know what is going on.
“It is a state road. That’s important to remember because we don’t have much say in it,” he said Friday morning. “This is part of a much larger improvement process to Connector Road. The state is looking at doing a traffic study on Connector Road. They are looking on getting a proposal to help them evaluate this whole are and get longer term improvements to Connector Road.”
In other action at the meeting:
— Approved the rezoning of property belonging to the estate of Ruth Ishmael at 113 and 115 Etter Lane from A-1 to B-2.
— Approved a subdivision plat of 5 acres from a parent tract of 53.844 acres north of Harbor Village Drive and west of Cincinnati Pike
— Approved a zone change of Drake property at 1140 East Main St. Extended from A-1 to R-2
— Approved a preliminary development plan for Georgetown Internal Medicine to construct a 45,000 square foot medical office building at 1100 Lexington Road and 140 Mount Vernon Drive.
Steve McClain can be reached at email@example.com.