After months of heated, standing-room-only neighborhood meetings, the proposed Falls of Neuse Road Publix grocery will finally reach the city planning commission next week.
The commission will discuss the rezoning request from Florida-based Morgan Property Group at 9 a.m. Oct. 7. The request would allow for a shopping center – anchored by a 49,000-square-foot Publix store – at the corner of Dunn and Falls of Neuse roads.
Many neighbors have been lobbying against the development, with fears of increased traffic along residential streets as a key point of contention. When the project came up for a vote at the North Citizens Advisory Council, the result was 522-23.
With those numbers, expect a crowd at the Oct. 7 planning commission meeting, which will have a public comment component. The commission will make recommendations to the Raleigh City Council, which gets the final say.
On Friday, we’ll find out what city planners have to say about the case. That’s when the staff report comes out, detailing how the rezoning fits (or doesn’t) with Raleigh’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan for growth.
Worried that the staff report might be favorable to Publix, opponents criticized interim planning director Ken Bowers on Twitter, arguing that he’s “tight” with developers. They pointed to his leadership role with the Urban Land Institute, which also has Morgan’s attorney, Mack Paul, on a committee.
Further complicating matters, Publix opponents announced Monday that they’ve filed a petition to change the Comprehensive Plan’s land-use designation for the site. That could slow the approval process because the rezoning is supposed to be guided by the Comprehensive Plan.