West End Rezoning

Signs on Juniper Lake Road off U.S. 15-501 advertise the upcoming public hearing. The plans for the shopping center include an access road on Juniper Lake Road. 

A local developer has proposed plans for a shopping center anchored by a grocery store, restaurant and other retail business on U.S. 15-501 just north of Pinehurst.

Justin K. Schaad is asking the county to rezone 10 acres near the intersection with Juniper Lake Road. The site plan shows a 50,000-square-foot building for a grocery store and another with 18,200 square feet that would have the restaurant and some other retail stores. He is asking for a conditional zoning for the 10-acre site that would limit the uses to what is shown on the site plan.

“The thing I am really stressing is that we want this to be a neighborhood market,” Schaad said an interview with The Pilot. “We want it to benefit the people who live in that area.”

He added that people living in the northern quadrant of Pinehurst and that general area “would not have to fight through the Traffic Circle” to get to a grocery store.

The county Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the rezoning Thursday at 6 p.m. in the commissioners’ meeting room on the second floor in the Historic Courthouse in Carthage.

The board will also hold a hearing on a request by Tri-City Inc. to rezone 35.7 acres of a 53.5-acre tract at N.C. 211 and Love Grove Church Road near West End Elementary from Residential and Agriculture with a minimum 40,000-square-foot lot, to Highway Commercial.

For his project along U.S. 15-501, Schaad said he does not have any tenants and has not yet identified a potential grocer for his project.

“We want the public to tell us what they want to see there,” Schaad said. “This is intended to meet their needs. We don’t want to put tenants there that would attract people from elsewhere. We are focusing on the immediate area.”

Pinehurst Village Manager Jeff Sanborn created a stir in February when he told the Village Council that he had seen a schematic showing Publix as the grocery store. That prompted the Florida-based grocer to take the highly unusual step to issue a public denial that it had plans for a store in the county.

Schaad shared his proposed plan at a required community meeting March 21 at the county Agricultural Center in Carthage. A number of residents who live nearby on Juniper Lake Road expressed concerns about the increased traffic a shopping center would bring, according to county Planning Director Debra Ensminger.

Schaad, along with local developer John O’Malley and Jeff Barczak, the civil engineer, met with about 20 adjacent property owners, according to a report summarizing the meeting.

The shopping center would have access from Juniper Lake Road as well as U.S. 15-501. Enmsinger said the N.C. Department of Transportation is requiring two access points.

Schaad told residents at the community meeting that trucks would access the center off U.S. 15-501.

One resident who lives across from where the Juniper Lake Road access is located said the road is dangerous and that there are two blind spots. Residents questioned what could be done to minimize safety concerns.

The developers explained that a traffic impact analysis is required before construction permits are issues and that it would determine whether the access should be relocated.

Another resident asked whether the developers had spoken with someone at the church on the opposite side of U.S. 15-501, Christ Community. A representative of the church indicated they were not opposed to the rezoning but also stated that at a traffic light might be needed.

Schaad said in an interview with The Pilot that he wants to address neighbors’ concerns but that he will also have to comply with what N.C. Department of Transportation requires.

Schaad said he has lived in Moore County more than 20 years but has worked for a firm in Raleigh for the last two years.

“I am local,” he said. “I am not an outside developer. I will be here. They leave town when they are done. I want to do a good job on this project. If I don’t, I will hear about it and have to see it every day. We have an interest in seeing it done right. I am willing to listen to what the community wants to see there. They are the ones who will be using. We want this to be something that will help people living in this area.”

Emsinger said if the county ultimately approves the rezoning — the Board of Commissioners will have the final say after holding its own public hearing in May — the planning staff will recommend that the development adhere to the design standards of Pinehurst, given its proximity to the village. But Schaad told The Pilot they have not yet agreed to do that.

Concerns about the proposed development were also raised by a resident during the public comment period at the end of the Pinehurst Village Council meeting last Tuesday.

Jane Hogeman questioned whether the council would take a position. She noted that this is a corridor the council has expressed concerns about and had included in its request to the county last summer for an expansion of its zoning authority.

She said this request is “not in keeping” with the county’s land-use plan, which shows that area as rural agriculture.

Mayor Nancy Fiorillo, noting her background in county planning, said the county land-use plan calls for commercial development around major intersections.

“If you were talking about something in the middle of nowhere, that would be one thing,” Fiorillo responded. “This is a major intersection. I can see where it does conform with their land-use plan.”

On the other rezoning matter, Neil Robinette with Tri-City Inc. in Rockingham, said they have no specific plans for the property but that it would be ideal for commercial development. He said they could envision some small-lot neighborhood commercial type stores on the frontage along N.C. 211.

He said there could be some type of a small-scale commercial village on the land behind it.

“Right now we want to get it rezoned, and then we can see how the growth continues,” Robinette said, “and what opportunities that presents.”

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