The City Council isn’t ready to approve a proposed development that has angered neighbors in a North Raleigh neighborhood familiar with fighting back against unwanted growth.
The council on Tuesday sent a developer’s rezoning request back to the planning commission to hammer out details.
D&N Development wants to build a $50 million mixed-use development called Spencer Ridge on a 17.3-acre site at the corner of Falls of Neuse and Raven Ridge roads. Early plans called for 160 condominiums, a roughly 50,000-square-foot grocery store and about 56,000 square feet of additional retail space.
More than 100 people attended Tuesday’s council meeting, some to protest the plan and some to support it.
“It would dramatically change the character of the area,” said Councilman David Cox, who was an outspoken critic in 2014 of a proposed grocery store less than a mile away before he was elected.
Cox said the council should deny the plan, which neighbors say will increase traffic and light pollution, remove too many trees and change the area’s residential atmosphere.
“We don’t need another grocery store,” said neighbor Bob Fry, whose comments drew applause from some in council chambers. “Please continue to lead our great city with smart growth and not allow development to creep into non-growth areas.”
State Sen. Dan Blue, a lawyer representing Mount Peace Baptist Church and homeowners on the rear of the proposed site, told the council he was in favor of the plan.
Spencer Ridge “would probably be the best development in this corridor, and I’ve seen a lot of development there,” Blue said.
After listening to feedback, the council voted to send the case back to the planning commission to change the proposal’s designation, which will ultimately lead to a more-detailed site plan.
More than 300 people who attended a meeting of the North Citizens Advisory Council in August voted 224-89 to oppose the project, located about two miles north of Interstate 540.
In October, the planning commission voted unanimously to recommend the council deny the rezoning request. Board members said the plan was inconsistent with the city’s comprehensive growth plan, which calls for office or multi-unit residential buildings but not free-standing retail at the site.
Nick Brown, who owns D&N Development with his father, Daniel Brown, said Wednesday “there was a lot of wisdom” in the city council’s decision to delay a final vote.
“I was humbled by the neighbors that came in support of us and we will continue to work hard to make Spencer Ridge a reality for our community,” Brown said.
In 2015, a developer withdrew controversial plans that could have brought a Publix grocery store to Falls of Neuse and Dunn roads.
A developer now intends to build a senior-living center at the site – a plan that has gotten a warmer reception from neighbors.
Brown said he wasn’t giving up on Spencer Ridge.
“It is needed to get the right concept plan for the community,” he said.
Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler