Chapel Hill News

Aldermen consider rules to prevent commercial blight in Carrboro

CVS had proposed to replace this building at the corner of Weaver and Greensboro streets in Carrboro, NC, with a new retail and office project. The project ran into opposition, and CVS boarded up and fenced-in the building, which has fallen into disrepair.
CVS had proposed to replace this building at the corner of Weaver and Greensboro streets in Carrboro, NC, with a new retail and office project. The project ran into opposition, and CVS boarded up and fenced-in the building, which has fallen into disrepair. tgrubb@newsobserver.com

Something is rotting in the heart of Carrboro, and town leaders are looking for a fix.

“I can’t go a week in this town without someone asking me about the piece of property located on Greensboro Street and Weaver Street owned by CVS,” Mayor Lydia Lavelle said. “It’s falling apart, and so we have asked staff to look into what we can do to try to make the place look better.”

The Board of Aldermen weighed in last week on draft rules for the maintenance, safety and sanitation of commercial buildings and landscaping. They asked town staff to bring back more information and set a public hearing for Oct. 25.

The whole purpose of the rules is to prevent blight, town attorney Nick Herman said. The rules would not apply to residential property.

If an existing or future commercial property violates any conditions, the town would follow “very elaborate procedures” for issuing a complaint, holding a hearing, and potentially ordering the property owner to repair, remove or demolish the building, Herman said.

If that doesn’t work, the rules outline how the town can remedy the situation.

Revco, a subsidiary of CVS Caremark Corp., paid Weaver Street Market roughly $1.35 million in 2010 for three properties: the building at the corner of Weaver and Greensboro streets, the parking lot and a house on Center Street. Plans were filed to build a 24,590-square-foot, two-story retail store and offices, drawing a barrage of criticism.

CVS locked all three properties behind a chain-link fence in 2012 after a brief occupation by activists, and boarded up the windows and doors. The rezoning request was withdrawn in 2013.

While the project’s status hasn’t changed, the fence has become a popular place to hang protest signs.The grass and weeds have grown taller, and the building has fallen further into disrepair – the paint is fading, insulation hangs from the eaves and the plywood over the openings is faded and covered with graffitti.

The house on Short Street also has been neglected.

CVS development officials with Reddland Inc. did not return calls and emails seeking comment.

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb

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