By Susan Dickson
CARRBORO â€“ In a move that puts to rest months of worry for residents of the Alabama Avenue neighborhood, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen on Tuesday voted unanimously to rezone three parcels of land at the intersection of Alabama Avenue and Jones Ferry Road â€“ including one previously proposed for a Family Dollar â€“ from neighborhood business to residential.
The changes rezone 100, 101 and 105 Alabama Ave. as R-10, a residential zone that allows limited commercial uses, including day care and eldercare homes.
Following the vote, the crowded Carrboro Town Hall boardroom erupted into applause and cheers. The move stems from a previously proposed Family Dollar project for 100 Alabama Ave. Raleigh-based Stronach Properties had proposed building an 8,100-square-foot, single-story Family Dollar on the one-acre parcel.
The Carrboro Board of Adjustment in June voted to deny a variance needed for the project, which was strongly opposed by residents of the neighborhood, who said the development would bring increased traffic, noise pollution and unsafe conditions to the neighborhood while decreasing values of surrounding properties.
The developer then withdrew the application, but the issues surrounding the project led the board of aldermen to question the process used to determine which projects are reviewed by the aldermen and which are not. In the Family Dollar case, the project required a special-use permit, which would not require board of aldermen approval unless a site was within certain watershed or downtown districts, unlike conditional-use permits, which are subject to aldermen approval.
Following Tuesdayâ€™s changes, a proposal like the Family Dollar would require a rezoning, which would come before the board of aldermen instead of the board of adjustment.
Board members said they felt the properties were more appropriately zoned as residential, noting how the state Department of Transportation would not allow access directly off of Jones Ferry Road onto the properties, instead channeling traffic onto Alabama Avenue.
Catherine Adamson, a resident of the neighborhood who helped lead efforts against the Family Dollar, said she was pleased with the rezoning of the parcels.
â€œI think I come away with the feeling that the townâ€™s listened to us,â€ she said. â€œThis is what we asked for.â€
Adamson said she would not be opposed to residential development or some commercial uses at 100 Alabama Ave., noting that her concerns with the Family Dollar had stemmed from the traffic and noise that are associated with high-volume retail developments.
Other residents also thanked the board for listening to their concerns.
â€œThank you for giving us that land back,â€ said resident Larry Worth, â€œgiving us our neighborhood back.â€