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Wake Watershed Protection Wins Out Over Proposed ABC Store

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RALEIGH,N.C. — After a five-hour meeting Monday, Wake County commissioners unanimously rejected a plan to rezone three acres near Interstate 540 and Creedmoor Road for an ABC store.

Commissioners heard from about 150 North Raleigh residents who objected to the store going up in an area that supplies Raleigh's drinking water.

The vote came down to a difference of environmental opinion.

"At first when I was asked about this, I said no, because it's in the watershed. Then I was reminded it's in the less critical part of the watershed," said Gary Pendleton, Wake County ABC Board chairman.

In the end, commissioners disagreed.

"I'm very much in favor of development and growth, but it can't be done at the expense of the environment," commissioner Tony Gurley said.

"Well, I began to think about the precedent it would really set to approve this and have other agencies come back later," commissioner Harold Webb said.

That was the loudest cry from opponents, who outnumbered supporters at the meeting 10 to one.

"We just didn't want commercial development to nip away at our watershed," opponent Crystal Johnson said.

The ABC store will go up somewhere else.

"We respect the decision of our commissioners, and from this point on, we'll be looking for a new location in another place," said Craig Pleasants of Wake County Alcohol and Control.

Even if commissioners had given the ABC store the go-ahead, the measure would have to be approved by the state's Environmental Management Commission.

Not even the Wake County Planning Board and its staff could agree on the ABC store. Members of the planning staff were opposed to building the store, and the board supported the plan.


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