Residents of a Raleigh neighborhood did almost everything they could to prevent Garner town council from approving a new restaurant to go across from their subdivision.
Everything except buying the land themselves.
Residents of Renaissance Park in Raleigh pleaded to Garner Planning Commission members in June. Sixteen residents signed a protest petition. Others sent emails to Garner town council members.
One resident even gave a 10-minute presentation to the council last week, explaining why he opposed the plans. And one other spoke out against the restaurant.
But the Garner town council voted to approve the restaurant anyway.
The proposed restaurant, El Toro II, will cover 6,582 square feet and will be constructed on two acres of land on 3600 Junction Blvd. While the neighborhood is in Raleigh’s ETJ, the restaurant would be in the Garner town limits, directly across the street.
Some of the windows of the townhomes face the woods that are now where the proposed restaurant will go.
Residents of the neighborhood say they don’t oppose the restaurant, but they want to have a chance to work closely with the developers to re-devise the plans so that it can been mutually beneficial to the restaurant owners and the neighborhood residents.
The residents say under the current plans, any new business will add more trash, crime, unwanted noise and unnecessary traffic to a road that will be rebuilt soon.
“All we’re asking for is an increased buffer zone,” Garrett Dimond said.
Lights from the restaurant too, he said. “A tree buffer we believe will help mitigate this.”
The area where the restaurant will go is currently an undeveloped piece of land with trees. The parking spots facing the neighborhood were also a concern.
“If the proposed restaurant is built, I will no longer see woods and trees out my window. I will see a restaurant,” Lisa Eads, a resident of the neighborhood, said. “For me, noise and light is a concern. I knew buying the property I was moving into a busy location but I was not prepared for this proposal.”
Residents requested they move the six parking spaces facing the neighborhood to the opposite side to reduce any noise from car horns.
Wyatt Boone, the civil engineer for the project, also addressed the council, assuring them the project met all the buffer requirements from the town. He said although the town requires a 15-foot buffer, the developers have designed a 25-foot buffer.
Boone said his team has done everything they could to work with the town to make sure everything was done properly. The staff determined that was the case.
“The requirement of the property owner to revise its already compliant site to better accommodate the wishes of nearby households is an expensive endeavor, which the owner has not budgeted for,” Boone said.
There wasn’t much discussion from town council members. They agreed with staff’s recommendation to approve the site.
“I think anytime you probably purchase some property in Wake County and there is an empty lot across from it or there’s a wooded lot across from it, you can almost anticipate one day it’s going to be something else,” Mayor Pro-tem Ken Marshburn said. “Based on the information that has been presented, I think the engineer did a great job explaining that.”