Board approves Development Agreement with company for new Wendy’s restaurant

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By Bill Short

The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously approved a Development Agreement with a company for construction of a new Wendy’s restaurant on Highway 51.
Board members took the action during their Dec. 14, 2020 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Bethany Huffman and seconded by Alderman Don Lowry.
Charles Goforth, planning consultant for the city, said the agreement is a contract that provides for construction of the new restaurant and public improvements on a 0.94-acre tract at 7985 Highway 51 North that is owned by WEN Tennessee Inc.
Goforth noted that the contract includes approximately $4,800 in fees and a bond of $45,889 that must be approved by the board prior to its release.
At its Nov. 16, 2020 meeting, the Millington Municipal Planning Commission unanimously approved the Site Plan for the new Wendy’s.
Goforth told the commission that the building will have slightly less than 2,600 square feet. Although 17 parking spaces are required, there will actually be 31.
He said the planning staff has worked with the Millington Fire Department to ensure that there will be “adequate access” to the drive-thru.
A driveway at the rear of the property will be slightly curved and limited to no right turns. And there will be a three-lane entrance driveway off of Highway 51. 
While noting that the building will have a “very good landscape plan,” Goforth said a 6-foot-tall wooden fence will be installed at the rear of the property to provide screening. And the site will have lighting with a maximum of 5 foot-candles.
At the commission’s July 20, 2020 meeting, WEN Tennessee requested that a .1-acre triangular tract on Martha Road be re-zoned from R-2, Residential, to B-2, General Commercial, so the company could purchase it to use as a rear entrance.
During a public hearing at the meeting, several residents of the Martha Road area voiced opposition to the re-zoning request. While calling the site a “bad spot” for a restaurant, they also expressed concerns about traffic congestion and unpleasant odors from dumpsters.
When the hearing concluded, the commission voted unanimously to recommend that the city board reject the re-zoning request.
At the board’s Aug. 10, 2020 meeting, consulting engineer Keith Moore spoke on behalf of WEN Tennessee during a public hearing.
While noting that the Wendy’s restaurant at 4761 Navy Road is a “lease location,” he said the lease is set to expire and will not be renewed. So, another location, “preferably in the city,” had to be found.
Moore said the company chose the new site, because it is on the highway at a “central” location in Millington.
He acknowledged that the re-zoning request was not necessary for the Wendy’s development itself, but for the planned rear entrance. And he said it will allow customers to exit onto Martha Road and return to the highway.
Because the .1-acre tract is a “wide-open asphalt area,” Moore said the company plans to narrow that down to a “more defined drive” with landscaping on one side. He also said the remainder of that asphalt area has not been maintained for years and is “really deteriorating.”
“That’ll be ripped out and replaced with grass,” he said, “and it’ll look a lot better than it does today.”
Moore noted that the dumpsters currently on the property will be removed, and the restaurant’s dumpster will be in an “enclosure” that no one else can use.
When the hearing concluded, the board passed an ordinance on first reading that would re-zone the .1-acre tract from R-2 to B-2.
Alderman Bethany Huffman requested that a traffic study be conducted in that area before the ordinance was scheduled for final reading.
At the board’s Oct. 12, 2020 meeting, Goforth said the study concluded that the traffic generated from the new Wendy’s would be at “an acceptable level” to the surrounding streets.
Along with the entrance off the highway, he said, the traffic engineer recommended a second one off Martha that would be restricted to left turns only.
The board passed the re-zoning ordinance on final reading. 
At its Dec. 14, 2020 meeting, the board unanimously passed an ordinance on first reading that would abandon a portion of the unused right-of-way for the “unnamed alley” depicted on the City Map between Martha Road and Highway 51.
It would also quitclaim the right-of-way to the adjoining property owners.
The ordinance was unanimously passed on final reading at the board’s Jan. 11 meeting.
Goforth has said one of the commission’s conditions for approval of the new Wendy’s Site Plan was that its Final Plat retain a 20-foot access easement where the road was and a 20-foot utility easement, because the city has utilities in the area.
At its Jan. 19 meeting, the commission unanimously approved a sign design application submitted by WEN Tennessee. The company requested a 30.19-square-foot pylon sign and a 30-square-foot building sign.
“The restaurant actually qualifies for 60.4 square feet of signage,” Goforth noted. “So, obviously, it’s getting the maximum that it can there.”

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