Local News

Nature Vs. Development At Issue With Latest Raleigh Project

Posted September 25, 2006

— A proposed mixed-use development on a lucrative piece of real estate near Raleigh's Crabtree Valley Mall has opponents worried about the environmental impact it could have on the surrounding area.

Two Atlanta-based companies, Madison Retail and York Residential, want to build townhouses, stores and possibly a hotel on 44 acres of land near the mall known as Kidd's Hill.

"There are two words to describe this project," said Sig Hutchinson, who opposes the proposal. "Bad idea."

Hutchinson and others believe removing trees on Kidd's Hill and reshaping the hill to accommodate development could mean more potential flooding problems for the area around Crabtree Valley Mall, which flooded as recently as June when remnants of Tropical Depression Alberto moved through the area.

"We don't even know the magnitude of the problems that something like this could create," Hutchinson said. "All we know is that it is bad news when you start messing with Mother Nature."

On Wednesday, the Raleigh City Council's Comprehensive Planning Committee will hear the developer's proposal to build on Kidd's Hill. The proposal was submitted more than a year ago, but has undergone several changes, such as scaling back the project, to help ease some concern about the environmental impact.

"This is a site that had environmental-sensitive issues," said City Planning Director Mitchell Silver. "It had storm water issues, density traffic -- so, we made sure we took the adequate time to look at all those issues."

Opponents have suggested that instead of a mixed-use develeopment, develop the area as a residential area, instead.

"You've got an out-of-town developer who wants to make some money here in Raleigh by taking away our beautiful historical hill, cutting down the trees and basically leaving us with what's left," Hutchinson said. "You know, there is a better way."

A local attorney for the developers told WRAL that his clients have addressed all environmental and storm water concerns, but would not comment any further.

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