As work on the Robinson Road expansion and realignment project continues, Oak Ridge North City Council discussed recent difficulties with securing incoming development due to drainage requirements at its Nov. 14 meeting.

“The biggest issue is once these people realize what they have to do for drainage and the cost, that’s usually the kicker for them,” Director of Community Development John Beisert said.

Existing homes along a portion of Robinson may only be sold as commercial property due to new zoning requirements. As soon as an incoming business decides to make improvements to the property or building it must acquire a special-use permit, City Manager Heather Neeley said.

Dr. E Tabarini was approved for a special-use permit to open a dental facility, but according to Beisert he does not appear to be moving forward with the location he purchased at 27250 Robinson Road after understanding the cost of drainage improvements to meet with the standards of the Robinson project.

Neeley stated the cost of improvements needed to meet city drainage requirements varies depending on the scope of the improvements the business owner wishes to make.

According to the city’s municipal building code, commercial businesses must have a concrete foundation. All driveways and parking areas must also be concrete at least 4 inches thick and include welded wire mesh. Ditches must also be graded according to the local level and have sod, according to the code.

During the meeting, Beisert also stated his department has not heard back from four other businesses who requested and were granted a special-use permit.