W.P. Food Lion Dispute Settled
A land dispute threatening to delay completion of the Food Lion shopping center in Whispering Pines has been resolved.
Representatives from Food Lion and the land owner confirmed today that they had reached an agreement for an easement that would allow for greater access to the shopping center from Sullivan Drive.
In exchange for the easement, land owner Ed Garrison will receive $20,000, according to his attorney Marsh Smith.
Garrison said he was “satisfied” with the agreement and was, “glad that the developer can move forward with the project because the community needs the shopping center.”
Mark Rufty, senior manager for Food Lion’s engineering group, said he “feels good about the agreement.” Rufty said he is having his legal representatives review the agreement and said it could be signed today.
The original plan for the shopping center by developer JDH Capital called for a two shopping center entrances, one off Sullivan Drive and another off NC 22. That plan was approved by the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Whispering Pines Planning Board and Village Council. However, the developer needed an easement from Garrison to complete that plan and the two sides were unable to reach an agreement.
Citing time constraints, representatives from JDH opted for a second site plan that did not need the easement. That plan called for a concrete island at the Sullivan Drive entrance that would forbid eastbound traffic on Sullivan from turning left into the shopping center.
Developers got an OK for the plan from DOT, but also needed approval from both Village Council and the planning board to move forward with construction.
Village Council voted to approve that second plan on Aug. 11, but the planning board voted against it on Aug. 13.
Most members of council and the planning board who supported the second plan, expressed a preference for the original plan.
The shopping center is slated to open on Sept. 8.
Rufty reiterated Tuesday that the opening remains on schedule and that it “was never in jeopardy.”
Smith called the settlement a win for all sides.
“Food Lion gets to complete its shopping center on time, Whispering Pines gets the safest possible traffic set up and Mr. Garrison doesn’t have to worry about a traffic island to the north of his lot, and he gets a little financial remuneration,” Smith said.
The last remaining issue for the shopping center is a sign plan. The Village of Whispering Pines will hold a public hearing on Aug. 24 to discuss several ammendments to its ordinances regarding signs. The council likely will consider those amendments and a sign plan from Food Lion during a meeting on Sept. 2. Both meetings are set for 6 p.m. at Village Hall.
Contact Tom Embrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More like this story