Residents in the Grove Park neighborhood know that a new Family Dollar will probably locate near them, but some want to see local businesses develop instead.
“We need to bring in businesses locally owned that want to stay,” said Emily Wu, the vice president of the Grove Park Neighborhood Association. “Because they’d live here and work here and make it a viable place.”
Durban Development, LLC, has petitioned to change the zoning for 1.04 acres on Milton Road from its current business zoning to one that doesn’t require as many parking spaces. The proposed location on Milton Road is just across the street from the Boys and Girls Club building, between Barrington Drive and North Sharon Amity Road in northeast Charlotte.
Mimi Davis, the neighborhood association’s president, agreed with Wu’s concerns.
“It really makes us look like a low-income area,” she said of the Family Dollar construction plan.
They also worried that a different, and unsavory, business might move into that space instead of a Family Dollar.
But William Allen, the chief operating officer of Durban, said the group doesn’t have different plans for the space.
“At this moment, it will be just a Family Dollar,” he said.
The current rezoning petition says nightclubs, bars or lounges would not be permitted in the space if rezoned.
Allen said he did not know if or when the rest of the parcel – which Brandon said is between 4 and 5 acres – would be developed.
The residents said they hope Durban will listen to their requests if a Family Dollar must go in that location.
Robert Brandon, with R.L. Brandon Planning & Zoning Consultants, told concerned residents at a recent community meeting that Durban currently has the right to build a Family Dollar in that space without rezoning it.
If the property is rezoned, Durban would have more store space to work with, Brandon said.
“They had some real engineering problems getting the required parking in,” he said of the current way the land is zoned.
The new plan calls for the building to be 14 feet from the curb with a handful of parking spaces in the back.
But the residents at the meeting were still displeased about the prospect of a new Family Dollar, saying they want to see more local businesses develop in the area.
There were some sentiments at the meeting to follow in the footsteps of Dilworth residents, who successfully fought to keep a Walgreens out of the neighborhood.
But residents said that if the Family Dollar is to be built, they want Durban to make some changes to its current plans.
The biggest issue the group had was the fact that the signage for the Family Dollar is planned to go on the side of the building that does not face the street. Instead, a brick wall would face the street.
“That’s a perfect graffiti wall,” Davis said.
The group would like to see more windows and landscaping or even the sign to be moved.
“No blank walls,” wrote Susan Lindsay, of Charlotte East Community Partners, in her list of requests.
Brandon said he would take all of the residents’ requests and turn them over to Durban to consider before the public hearing about the rezoning petition on Feb. 18.
“We want to put together the best plan possible that everyone is OK with,” he said. “It will be possible.”
Allen said Durban would review the requests.
“We are always concerned about neighborhood meetings and the comments made,” he said. “We try to be as good a neighbor as we possibly can.”