By Susan Dickson
In a move that could make it more difficult for CVS Caremark to win approval for a two-story project it has proposed for the corner of North Greensboro and Weaver streets, a group of property owners has filed a protest petition against the companyâ€™s rezoning application.
Under state law, when a protest petition signed by owners of at least 5 percent of the property within 100 feet of a proposed rezoning is filed, approval by three-quarters of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen is required, rather than by a simple majority. Carrboro planning director Trish McGuire said Tuesday that the petition had been verified.
CVS Caremark has filed for a conditional-use permit and a rezoning to allow it to build a two-story, 24,000-square-foot building with a 24-hour CVS on the ground floor, office space above it and a 64-space parking lot on land occupied by the former WCOM building, two homes on Center Street and the offices of dentist Debra Seaton.
CVSâ€™ plans to develop the property have drawn fire from nearby residents, who say the development is not appropriate for the space and would increase traffic on an already burdened area.
CVS has applied to zone all of the properties included in the parcel as B-1(c), or town center business. While the properties at 201 and 203 N. Greensboro St. and 101 Short St. are already zoned B-1(c), the other properties are zoned R-7.5, residential, or B-2, fringe commercial. The properties along North Greensboro and Short streets are also included in the downtown neighborhood protection overlay zone, meaning they are subject to special height, setback and design requirements.
Board of alderman member Dan Coleman said Tuesday that he had decided to vote against the rezoning; one additional dissenting vote would mean the rezoning application is rejected.
â€œBased on the materials Iâ€™ve seen, based on the comments from the planning board, which Iâ€™ve read, I have a lot of concerns based on the rezoning, and plan to vote against it,â€ he said.
In comments regarding the project, the Carrboro Planning Board stated that the mix of the Downtown Neighborhood Protection District overlay along Greensboro Street and the residential and commercial zones on the east side of Center Street appropriately reflect the importance of scale to the residential properties on the west side of the street.
â€œBasically, the way they put it was that the current mix of zonings better protects the historical character and the residential character of Center Street, and I agree with that conclusion,â€ Coleman said.
â€œI would have expected an applicant for a project on that property to do much more work up front before even developing a concept plan, in terms of speaking to the neighbors and really looking at the history,â€ he continued.
Coleman said he hoped that other members of the board shared his concerns about the project.
â€œItâ€™s certainly not what Iâ€™m looking for for the town moving forward,â€ he said.
CVS Caremark development representative Leigh Polzella said Tuesday that she had not yet seen the petition and thus could not comment on it.
Property owners who signed the petition include board of aldermen member Michelle Johnson, who lives on Center Street and is likely to recuse herself from the rezoning vote; the majority of other Center Street residents; owners of the property housing Curl Up & Dye at 102 Center St.; owners of the office building at 200 W. Weaver St.; Carr Mill Mall Limited Partnership; and others.
A public hearing on the project will be held April 17 at 7:30 p.m. at Carrboro Town Hall.