WJTV News Channel 12 - RALEIGH: Overflow crowd votes to oppose North Raleigh Publix

Overflow crowd votes to oppose North Raleigh Publix

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522 people voted against rezoning.  23 voted for it. 522 people voted against rezoning. 23 voted for it.
Hundreds attended Thursday's meeting. Hundreds attended Thursday's meeting.
RALEIGH, N.C. - An overflow crowd of neighbors in North Raleigh attended a community meeting Thursday night, the majority of whom voted against a plan that would allow developers to break ground on a new shopping center, possibly anchored by a 50,000 square foot Publix grocery store.

The North Raleigh Citizens Advisory Council, a group of neighbors that advices the city of Raleigh on community issues, held a non-binding vote at Durant Road Middle School on whether to support rezoning of land on Falls of Neuse Road between Whittington Drive and Dunn Road.

The final vote showed 23 people in favor of rezoning with 522 opposed.

"We've got a Harris Teeter about two miles from our home," Nancy Nacrelli said. "We have Whole Foods.  We have the Fresh Market.  We have a Food Lion."

Charlotte-based Morgan Property Group wants to build 67,000 square feet of retail on that space, including a 50,000 square foot grocery store.  Current zoning does not allow it.

"We do not oppose development, however we want development that fits Raleigh's vision and balances growth with neighborhood preservation," George Farthing said.

Developers put out a statement ahead of the vote, urging their supporters not to attend saying, "We feel it is in everyone's interest that this process not become a circus," adding, "We have no desire to pit neighbors against one another."

"It's tough because people have to live as neighbors," Mack Paul with Morningstar Law Group said. "In this forum, it's been difficult because of the level of emotion about the project."

Paul said neighbors' concerns should not trump his client's rights.

"We do have the property owner and their rights to develop," Paul said.

But neighbors said they are worried about traffic spilling into nearby residential streets where children often play.

"We moved to this community because of the neighborhood feel and it's a very quiet residential neighborhood," Farthing said, "And we're doing this for our daughter, and all of our children in the community."

Morgan Property Group had a traffic study conducted by Raleigh-based VHB Engineering N.C.  It concluded the development would be expected to "have a modest impact on overall operations."  It also concluded the existing traffic signals could handle the extra load.

READ THE TRAFFIC STUDY HERE


Thursday night's vote was non-binding, but neighbors hope it will give the city's planning commission and Raleigh City Council guidance as they consider whether to approve rezoning.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Derick Waller

Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms. More>>

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