Petition against proposed north Raleigh strip mall gains steam
Posted January 8, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — A petition seeking to block the rezoning of a site along Falls of Neuse Road in north Raleigh for a strip mall has picked up momentum in recent weeks.
Charlotte-based developer Morgan Property Group last week submitted a proposal to the city to rezone the 12-acre site at the intersection of Falls of Neuse and Dunn roads to allow construction of a 50,000-square-foot supermarket, several smaller stores and a bank.
The rezoning request will likely be heard by Raleigh officials in March.
About 2,000 residents of the nearby Bedford, Falls River, River Oaks, Wood Spring, Whittington and Oakcroft subdivisions have in recent weeks signed a petition against the move, saying it's too much retail in a residential area.
"We always expected that (site) to be developed. It was part of the plan, the master plan," homeowner Mike O'Sullivan said. "But not the way they're approaching it now. This is very discouraging."
Morgan Property's proposal would clear-cut the wooded site and pave a parking lot for 350 cars.
"That's going to destroy the whole look of our community and create a lot of traffic," O'Sullivan said.
Homeowners insisted that they aren't a bunch of NIMBYs, saying they want a smaller development that fits with surrounding neighborhoods. They note that five supermarkets are already within 3 miles of the site.
"We're not anti-development, nor are we anti-Publix," said Stacy Cashin, referring to the supermarket chain rumored to be opening a store on the site. "This is not the right site for a grocery store the same size as a Harris Teeter."
Cashin said she would prefer a development like the nearby Shoppes at Bedford.
"Small, local businesses, limited hours, fits within the design of the neighborhood," she said.
Jeff Surrency, a spokesman for Morgan Property, said the site plan is still taking shape, and he asked that neighbors to give the developer "ample opportunity" to present a clear plan and address their concerns.
"Let's do it smartly. Let's do it intelligently," Cashin said. "If you get push back because people don't want a large-format grocery store right across the street or in their backyard, then let's work with the city to get something that does work."