Dollar General will not be allowed to start site work for a store on Roanoke Avenue until site development plans are approved, the city’s planning and development director said Thursday.
City Manager Joseph Scherer stressed in his report at Tuesday’s city council meeting, “No plans have been approved yet by the (planning) department.”
He said, “(The) planning and development department continues to work on reviewing plans … this includes site plans, building plans and they are also working with (the) North Carolina Department of Transportation to review a traffic impact analysis report from the developer regarding vehicle and pedestrian safety issues in the immediate area including Roanoke Avenue.”
City Planning and Development Director Kelly Lasky confirmed site plan review, which includes the TIA, is still under review.
The city and state Department of Transportation have 30 days to review the TIA. “The reason we requested the analysis is because after several rounds of site plan reviews the designer failed to show any improvements for Eighth Street and Roanoke Avenue and Jackson Street and Eighth Street,” Lasky said.
The city would like the designers to pay attention to the crossings at these two locations and update them. “We would prefer the high visibility crosswalks. We don’t expect the study would warrant traffic signals there.”
There are a number of ways to make those areas high visibility, she said — reflective paint and different patterns. “They can do things that catch drivers’ attention.”
The current plans show trucks destined to unload products would enter on Jackson Street and exit off Eighth Street.
Because the land at Roanoke Avenue and Eighth Street is already zoned B-1, a classification which promotes commercial development targeted for pedestrian use, Lasky said, “I don’t think I’m going to have any reason to refuse approval of the site plans. It’s permitted by right. If they’re demonstrating they’re complying with our ordinances we have to approve it. We want to ensure that the proposed use of the property is in accordance with the provisions of the zoning ordinance.”
What the designers for the store have done, Lasky said, is “They’ve addressed things about altering the driveway. They’ve had to redo their lighting plan. They’ve had to address issues regarding stormwater management. ”
Since the store is located in the city’s historic district the city has requested the exterior of the proposed structure be conducive to the area and the architectural theme. Plans show the store will have a brick veneer.
“Any other work other than demolition can not be done until they’ve received final approval from this office,” Lasky said.
Demolition permits from the state and the city for the former social security office at the site have been on file since November.
While opposition to the project has been expressed, mainly from nearby businesses and property owners, the only recourse for them comes in the form of an appeals process which begins after the plans have been approved by the city.
Those appeals would come before the board of adjustment, which is made up of members of the planning board.
Conversely, if the city denies the plans, the developers would have the same right of appeal.