The Board of Aldermen unanimously approved adding a new manufacturing district to the town’s land-use rules Tuesday, clearing the way for a possible development project on 501 S. Greensboro St.
Woodhill, NC, LLC, a corporation formed by local residents, wants to develop about six acres, providing over 44,000 square feet of retail space and improving stormwater management along a fairly steep grade of land.
The stormwater management and improvements to the roadway would be paid for by the N.C. Department of Transportation and the developer.
Neighbors from nearby Roberson Place say they support the project but don’t want a vehicle connection between it and their neighborhood.
The subdivision currently dead-ends at the base of Purple Leaf Drive, with a paved connector to the South Greensboro Street site that is blocked for vehicles, but passable for pedestrians and bicyclists. Emergency vehicles can get through the temporary barriers if needed.
The streets of the Roberson Place neighborhood are narrow. Neighbors submitted petitions to the town as part of the public hearing process showing nearly 90 percent of the neighbors oppose connecting Purple Leaf Road for vehicular traffic, essentially creating a cut-through between downtown and N.C. 54.
“We don’t want our neighborhood to be a connector between two commercial zones,” said Matthew Jordy, speaking at the public hearing on behalf of his neighborhood association. A letter to the board from the homeowners’ association cites several factual errors in a traffic study that is part of the permit application, including misstating the current speed limit and the width of the street.
Carrboro’s M zoning districts already allow many non-manufacturing uses, including a broad range of retail and office uses.
“The intent of the new M-3-CU zoning district is to mimic M-1 while allowing applicants to include higher-return uses (i.e. restaurants),” said Alderman Damon Seils.
In exchange for permitting restaurants, the applicant is required to include some infrastructure improvements within the project. In this case, the major improvement will be the storm water management that is expected to prevent future flooding of the trailer park at the bottom of the hill, on the south side of Greensboro Street.
In the new M-3-CU zone, up to 40 percent of the gross square footage can include restaurants. The remaining 60 percent may only include uses already permitted in an M-1 zone.
The proposal brought to the aldermen features a retail development that the aldermen hope will be populated with locally owned businesses. Making that a requirement would be problematic, said Tina Moon, planning administrator. “It’s better to make it a goal,” she said.
To help manage the increased flow of traffic that would be generated by a new retail center, the plans call for a roundabout on South Greensboro Street at its intersection with Pittsboro Road. The developer has tried to buy part of the land that could be used for that purpose, but the owners, Sharon Collins and Pat Garavaglia, have declined.
On that point, Alderwoman Jacquie Gist gave some pointed direction to the town staff and the developer, saying that she didn’t want hear any proposal that includes persuading the property owners to sell part of their land.
“Leave them alone,” she said. “They’ve been very clear.”
They oppose the installation of a roundabout, citing the grade of the land and prospect for accidents during inclement weather. Carrboro Zoning Specialist Jeff Kleaveland told the aldermen during his presentation that DOT determined a traffic light was not justified at the intersection, but a roundabout should manage and slow traffic flow.
A public hearing on the proposed project began on Tuesday evening. Due to the size and complexity of the project, which Kleaveland called “mammoth,” the hearing will be continued at the aldermen’s next meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, in Carrboro Town Hall, 301 W. Main St.
The Board of Aldermen will continue its public hearing on the proposed Greensboro Street development at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Carrboro Town Hall.