Carolina Beach Council Approves Harris Teeter Permit

Carolina Beach Council Approves Harris Teeter Permit Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 12 August 2015 04:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council unanimously approved of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to build a new 53,000 square foot Harris Teeter Store and Fuel Station at 1000 North Lake Park Blvd during their August 11th, meeting.
The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted on July 9th, to recommend the Council approve of the permit.
In June, BBM Associates Inc of Raleigh, NC, submitted full color renderings to the Town of Carolina Beach.
The artwork shows a 53,000 square foot store and a fuel station at 1000 North Lake Park Blvd. The location was formerly Jubilee Amusement Park which was demolished years ago to make way for a mixed-use condo and retail project that never  materialized before the real estate market collapsed.
The plans - submitted by Barnes Development Co. of Charlotte, NC - show a free standing 53,288 square foot Harris Teeter Store with 5,480 square foot area for future expansion. The total area of land to be developed is 7.10 acres. There will be 269 parking spaces and a fueling station near the entrance at 1000 North Lake Park Blvd. The entrance will be located across from Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage and will include a stop-light intersection with an added turn lane on the east side of the road for vehicles turning into Harris Teeter.
The plans show four areas where the vehicle access will be connected to the older Federal Point Shopping Center that was once home to Food Lion years ago before that store moved to the Snow's Cut Crossing Shopping Center at the foot of Snow's Cut Bridge leading into Carolina Beach. The off-site improvements to Lake Park Blvd include a relocation of the existing traffic signal at the Federal Point Shopping Center entrance to a new entrance that will service both Federal Point as well as this development. Cross access easements are being finalized between Jubilee Carolina and Federal Point’s owners to allow cross easement access between the two properties for both customer and service truck access, for the benefit of both properties.  As part of the access improvements, Lake Park Blvd will be widened to accommodate a dedicated left hand turn lane into the new entrance. To accommodate the widening, Jubilee Carolina will dedicate a portion of its frontage as right of way as well as work with NCDOT to obtain a small amount of right of way from the neighboring Wings parcel. Those improvements were outlined in a Traffic Impact Analysis prepared by Kimley-Horn and presented to NCDOT.
During the Council's August 11th, meeting Senior Planner Jeremy Hardison said storm water will be treated on the property within a pond bordering Saint Joseph Street.
He said, "They are making significant traffic improvements in this area. One noticeable change will be the stoplight relocation. Currently it is between the ABC Store and the Wings. They will be locating it on the other side of the Wings Store to create a centralized access point to service both the Harris Teeter property and also Federal Point" shopping center.
There will also be points connecting the Harris Teeter property to the Federal Point property to provide interconnectivity. A five-foot wide sidewalk will be installed along Lake Park Blvd from the southern end of the property north to connect to an existing sidewalk in front of the ABC Store.
The project will include turn lanes on Lake Park Blvd to access the property at the stop light intersection.
Council member Sarah Friede expressed concern about when work would be done on Lake Park to install the turn lanes.
A representative of the project said that work would be done in the off season and likely take less than a couple of weeks. They said it would be done prior to the busy peak season.
Friede expressed concerns about additional traffic flow generated on Saint Joseph Street and concerns for the safety of people walking and biking along that road. Additionally, she was concerned with figures contained in the traffic study and increased wait times at the intersection on Lake Park Blvd potentially creating problems during busy summer months when traffic is most congested.
A representative for the developer said the traffic study was based on very conservative models and estimates based on data and traffic counts gathered during busy summer weekends including July 4th when traffic is typically most congested in that area. They also factored in future traffic generated by a new Hampton Inn and Suites under construction in the downtown Boardwalk area.
He said the study indicates worst case scenarios and will only slightly increase average wait times at the intersection.
To provide interconnectivity through the property from Lake Park Blvd to Saint Joseph Street, the developer will install a five-foot wide sidewalk.
There will also be pedestrian crosswalks added at the intersection.
Randy Simon - representing Black's Marina on Saint Joseph Street - expressed concerns with additional storm water flowing from the property into a nearby drain line that empties into the waterway at their Marina.
The developer indicated they are working with the Town on a project the Town will be undertaking in the future and the Harris Teeter project is designed to manage their storm water runoff on the property using a retention pond.
Simon said they support the Harris Teeter project, but wanted to voice their concerns with storm water flow in the area.
Councilman Gary Doetsch made a motion to approve of the permit. That included waiving a landscape requirement to permit better location of cart return areas within the parking lot.
Council member Sarah Friede said, "Everyone on Council  received some emails and I'm sure some people got phone calls, text messages, with people expressing opinions on both sides of this issue. This is a significant development to come to Carolina Beach. I think a lot of people are in favor of it and a lot of people, there are some people I know that are not in favor of it. I know the Mayor said this at the beginning of the hearing. This is a quasi-judicial proceeding that we conduct. The statutes are very clear about what our required findings are and whatever our decisions are tonight are not based on whether we like it, don't like it, want another grocery store, don't want another grocery store. We can't take those things into consideration."
She said, "I think that is an important statement to make because we are all very closely connected with the community and people tend to take our votes to mean we really love something or really hate something. That's not necessarily it. No personal feelings about this. I don't want anybody to feel like I'm making this statement because that I personally feel differently than I am going to vote."
She said, "As council members, once something is on the agenda to come to us as a conditional use permit we can't discuss it with somebody."
The Council voted unanimously to approve of the permit.
Harris Teeter will be the third grocery store in Carolina Beach. The two existing stores are Food Lion near Snow's Cut Bridge and Sea Merchants Grocery Store on Cape Fear Blvd.

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