Today is Tuesday, September 23, 2014

MJ OK's new 'memory center'

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MT. JULIET -- Carrick Glen developers can start work on their proposed new “memory center” since changes they made in their site plans found favor with the Mt. Juliet City Commission Monday night.

The “memory center,” planned next door to existing Carrick Glen retirement facilities, will provide residential services for people with Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders.

Carrick Glen owner Jerry Keckly agreed to route all traffic into the new 39-bed facility through an existing driveway, eliminating a driveway onto Rutland Road.

Neighbors, Mt. Juliet planning commissioners and city commissioners had previously expressed concern over the driveway, which Carrick Glen planned to have enter Rutland at a 90-degree curve of the road.

But Monday night, Keckly appeared before the city commissioners and showed them a new plan that eliminates the driveway. He also said the drive not being built should help reduce drainage problems that neighbors had been concerned about.

“There will no longer be any culvert there, just a ditch,” Keckly said. “In fact, there is already a culvert under the road there that needs to be plugged.” He offered to plug it if city planners agree.

As a result, city commissioners unanimously approved Carrick Glen’s “memory center” plans on second reading.

The commissioners also approved, on first reading, changes to the ordinance governing the use of rock-crushing equipment on construction sites. Among other things, the changes would allow rock crushers to be 500 feet from the front door of occupied structures instead of the 1,000-foot buffer zone currently required.

Outgoing City Engineer Marlin Keel asked the commissioners to allow him to study proposed amendments to the ordinance and offer an opinion before the second reading of the ordinance that is set for May 12.

Keel added that he will make sure that his successor as city engineer, Jessica Gore, has all the needed information before he leaves his job at the end of this month.

In other action, the commissioners discussed the problems along Old Lebanon Dirt Road somewhat heatedly, but finally voted 3-2 to add a rumble strip along about 100 feet of the road near the historic Chandler Stone Wall, with District 1 Commissioner Ray Justice and District 4 Commissioner Jim Bradshaw opposed.

District 3 Commissioner Art Giles sponsored the ordinance, saying the rumble strip could alert drivers that they were leaving the roadway.

“It’s for safety,” he said. “It could slow traffic down and create more caution. I think it would be a deterrent.”

But Justice disagreed. “This is a Band-Aid,” he said. “Besides, there’s no room to add width for rumble strips.”

Justice also said the old stone wall that drivers have been running into is more than 800 feet long, so 100 feet of rumble strip won’t do much good.

However, Mayor Ed Hagerty said the real problem is the combination of a hill and a curve which only covers about 100 feet.

Hagerty also said that when the county commission was approached about helping to preserve the wall, which is in the county even though only the road beside it is inside Mt. Juliet city limits, the county refused.

“They said, ‘It’s not in our budget.’ Well, it’s not in our budget, either,” Hagerty said.

“We’ll have to make changes,” the mayor added, referring to finding funds to install the proposed rumble strip, which will cost $4,500 per 100 feet.

With a new pawn shop making preparations and renovations to open on Lebanon Road on Mt. Juliet’s north side, the commissioners also approved, on first reading, an ordinance prohibiting pawn shops and payday loan stores in all districts except those zoned industrial restricted (IR).

Carmelita Stafford, co-owner of Sisters’ Whimsy gift shop, told the commissioners that she and neighboring shop owners are concerned that their customers might feel unsafe near a pawn shop with a door 10 feet from the doors of their own stores.

“Pawn shops buy and sell guns,” Stafford said. “If one went off by accident, those walls are cardboard thin.”

After the meeting, Mt. Juliet Fire Marshal Dwayne Hicks agreed to go to the building and issue a stop-work order at the location where a pawn shop owner has acquired a lease, but hasn’t applied for any city permits or been through a fire safety inspection.

The commissioners also approved, on second reading, funding for three projects at Charlie Daniels Park, which will include paving an extension to the walking track, paving the Farmers’ Market and its parking lot, and building a pickleball court in the park.

The walking-track extension will loop around the new police headquarters and reconnect with the existing track, making it a full mile long.

The Farmers’ Market will also double as a “deluxe pavilion” when vendor farmers are not using it.

Pickleball is something like ping-pong, but played outdoors with larger balls and paddles. The court could also be used to play badminton.

Correspondent Connie Esh may be contacted at cewrites@yahoo.com.

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Carrick Glen, memory center, Mt. Juliet City Commission
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