W.P. Council Debates Revised Site Plan for Shopping Center
The original site plan for the proposed Food Lion shopping center in Whispering Pines required the developer obtain an easement to install a left turning lane at the entrance on Sullivan Drive.
After negotiating with the landowner for two months, JDH Capital was unable to reach an agreement on the easement.
JDH Capital came back to the Village Council last Friday seeking approval of a revised plan with the concrete median.
Engineers from the N.C. Department of Transpor-tation (NCDOT) have approved both the original plan and the revised version.
Council members Randy Saunders and Skip Gebhardt met with DOT officials Wednesday to go over the site plans prior to the council meeting.
“Both entrance and exit routes — the original version and the version they want to change to — were both fine by the DOT.,” Saunders said.
Mayor Bob Zschoche asked why the revision was not the original idea in the plan.
“We’ve had a year of the site plan depicting another method, another solution to this problem,” Zschoche said. “The problem I have is here, at the eleventh hour, we have this brought to the council and it’s ‘Ooh, ooh, ooh, we have to do it this way.’”
Gebhardt agreed, saying that the council is now being blamed for the developer’s “amateur job” at developing a site plan, but he added that the change is a good solution that should be approved.
After the meeting with DOT, Saunders said he called eight local residents, who he knew would probably be regular shoppers at the new Food Lion, and asked them which entrance to the shopping center they would prefer to use.
According to Saunders, all of the residents said they would probably use the main entrance, which is located past Sullivan Drive next to Subway on N.C. 22, because Sullivan Drive is an easy turn to miss going north on N.C. 22.
Whispering Pines Police Chief Domonic Campbell and Fire Chief Scott Bullard each sent a memo to the council opposing the change, expressing concern about the median’s impact on the ability for emergency vehicles to access the shopping center from the Sullivan Drive entrance.
Campbell said that the change would increasingly divert law enforcement resources to control traffic violations in the area.
Bullard said that accessing the entrance could be a problem if the department was responding to an emergency at the shopping center from another call.
Marsh Smith, an attorney representing the landowner on the easement, asked the council why it would approve the amendment without a new DOT traffic impact analysis that assesses the change’s effect on traffic patterns from the site plan change.
Saunders told Smith that DOT officials believed that there would be no significant change in the impact on traffic.
In other business, the council delayed action on a recommendation from Village Manager Steve DeBolt to hire a new police officer until all members could be present.
The council approved a request for financial participation up to $1,000 from the town of Southern Pines for a hazardous waste collection and shredding event scheduled for Nov. 14.
The council also scheduled a second public hearing on the village’s Land Develop-ment Ordinance for its regular meeting September 8.
Contact Hannah Sharpe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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