The developers of a new Fricks Market soon may be able to move forward with plans to build the grocery store.
The parks, building, development and public service committee is recommending that aldermen change its code to allow for an exception to the distance from an intersection to a street access.
The change will allow for engineers of the new Fricks Market site to continue with plans for a new store at Church Street and Central Avenue.
In January, the Union Planning and Zoning Board recommended aldermen amend city code to allow for the store access to be placed 105 feet from an intersection. Current code calls for a minimum of 150 feet.
That board’s recommendation included a “three-fourths entrance” on Church Street, which would allow delivery trucks to enter from northbound and southbound Church Street, but vehicles could only exit right to northbound Church Street.
However, earlier in February, a city committee tabled the recommendation until aldermen could further discuss the request.
The full board of aldermen must approve the change to the city code.
Fricks representatives said the initial plans called for an entrance and full exit onto church street.
“We would like to have full access for convenience of customers,” said Elliott Reed, with Cochran. “We negotiated that down at P and Z (planning and zoning meeting).”
The proposed access onto Church Street was included into the site plan due to the steep grade of site. There will be an access to the store lot from Central Avenue, but Vondera Avenue has too much of a slope to put in an access, engineers had said.
Officials have said the major concern is the threat of a car crash between a vehicle turning southbound on Church Street from Vondera, and a vehicle exiting the Fricks parking lot onto Church Street.
According to City Attorney Tim Melenbrink, aldermen would have to change the city’s code to allow the Church Street entrance at that location. He explained that others who request an entrance that close to an intersection should be given the same opportunity or the city could face a legal challenge.
City Administrator Russell Rost said there are now no exceptions to the city code to allow for special circumstances, including specially designed intersections, and situations in which the site access is near a hill crest.
The committee is not recommending that the code be changed to allow for all accesses to be allowed within 105 feet of an intersection.
Alderman Dustin Bailey said there still are safety concerns with an intersection that close to a site access.
“I’m fearful of having an exit at this specific site,” he said. “Based on the limited site distance on Vondera.”
Reed presented the board with a list of intersections within the city limits that had a distance of less than 150 feet from the intersection to the site access.
Rost noted that the intersections were along Highway 50.
“Those are all controlled by MoDOT (Missouri Department of Transportation),” Rost said.
He later added that there may be intersections approved by the city prior to the current code.
Police Chief Norman Brune said the proposed three-way stop at Church Street and Grandview Drive will slow traffic.
“It will definitely slow people down,” he said. “I don’t think it would cause a problem to have an entrance there.”
Brune noted that an exit on Church Street also would not create safety hazards.
Now there is a stop sign southbound on Church Street, but no stop sign eastbound on Grandview nor northbound on Church Street.
Reed last month said that there are “conflicting car movements” at the Grandview and Church Street intersection. He explained that a vehicle could make a left turn onto Grandview while northbound on Church Street, and at the same time a vehicle that is eastbound on Grandview could make a left turn onto northbound Church Street which could cause a car crash.
City Administrator Russell Rost said aldermen have no opposition to creating the three-way stop.
Fricks Market will move from its current 21,000-square-foot building to the new location following construction.
The project will provide space for Fricks to expand, as well as to have a larger parking lot.
The new facility will have a 164-parking space lot, which is nearly double the number of spaces at the Locust Street location.
Plans began for the new Fricks location after an agreement with the Jim Trenary Automotive Group in Union.
Trenary divided its 8-plus acre property to provide a new location for Fricks Market, and built a new state-of-the-art facility at Central Avenue and Highway 47.