After three public hearings, the Board of Aldermen appears ready to vote on a proposed shopping center on South Greensboro Street.
The South Green project would create 44,000 square feet of retail space in a newly created M-3-CU “Light Manufacturing” Zone. Up to 40 percent of the space would be filled by restaurants.
Neighbors in Robeson Place remain concerned about late-night noise, such as outdoor music. Citing young children’s bedtimes and the demands of jobs that require workers to be alert and well-rested, they asked how the town will protect their needs.
“It’s the same as a loud party,” said Robert Hornik, an attorney for the town. “There might be a warning, then a citation.” The town noise ordinance prohibits noise from interrupting neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment and repose inside their homes. “Outside music is not prohibited,” he said. “But this is a limitation on it.”
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Developer Runyon Woods said the developers have tried to be good neighbors and that nearby residents should have know the land would be developed.
“We don’t deserve this level of suspicion,” he said, adding further delay could jeopardize the project’s financing and a planned summer construction start.
“The notion that there’s going to be loud music is just ludicrous,” he said. “We’re happy to not have the Rolling Stones not come down there and play music. What we can’t do for these neighbors is be as quiet as death, which is what they have now.”
Woods said he envisioned a little soft guitar, perhaps amplified.
Although some specific parameters for noise were listed as conditions for the project’s permit, Town Attorney Nick Herman advised that the town’s noise ordinance already has significant protections. “If there’s a noise issue that rattles a number of people, they can always come to you,” he told the aldermen.
Robeson Place residents at the meeting ultimately agreed with Woods that setting specific hours and conditions about particular kinds of noises created confusion, not clarity. They agreed to rely on the ordinance.
With that largely resolved, the remaining question was that of the traffic management for South Greensboro Street.
Sharon Collins’ home sits across the street from the proposed project. She has said previously that she worries about increasing traffic coming down South Greensboro Street’s steep hill, especially during bad weather. “Over the years we’ve had five or six vehicles end up in our front yard,” she said, “including a city bus.”
Woods proposes to provide new grading for her driveway and landscaping that will prevent headlights from new traffic from shining into her house.
In order to give the parties time to reach that agreement, the aldermen voted to continue the public hearing until Tuesday, June 9, when a vote is expected.