Chick-fil-A a step closer to Bermuda Run location
Published 9:12 am Thursday, January 27, 2022
By Jim Buice
BERMUDA RUN – Could Chick-fil-A be coming here?
Based on action in last Wednesday’s town planning board meeting of unanimous approval of a design waiver request, the popular fast-food restaurant chain is a step closer to redeveloping the former Rite Aid building in the shopping center anchored by Lowes Foods on NC 801 just off I-40.
Town Manager Lee Rollins said he couldn’t confirm that a definite agreement was in place but getting approval from the planning board to waive portions of design standards and sidewalk requirements was a positive development.
“I have not had direct contact with anyone at Chick-fil-A but just with the engineering group that they contract with,” Rollins said. “But they’ve spent a lot of time and effort on that site and put together a site plan. So clearly they’re very, very interested.”
Rollins said that the design waiver included two issues – the restaurant seeking a canopy for the drive-through, which isn’t covered by the town’s zoning ordinances, and not being required to put a sidewalk on the primary street sides for the these types of developments.
“Because of the topography of that outparcel, there’s actually a retaining wall at the Rite Aid drive-through at the intersection of 801 and Yadkin Valley Road near the stoplight,” Rollins said. “So they’re asking to not put a sidewalk there. It’s really almost physically impossible. I think for Chick-fil-A, the issue is that there’s already a stoplight and already two ways in and out. All they’re doing is redeveloping an existing community parcel, so to me it’s a win-win.”
Rollins said that the next step will be a review of the complete site plan that now includes the approval design waiver.
“We have not been advised yet as to the timing of the full site plan submittal from representatives of Chick-fil-A,” Rollins said.
In the other case heard on the planning board agenda, a zoning map amendment to rezone six tracts of land totaling 6.54 acres – located east of N. 801 and west of Ivy Circle south of Walgreens – from Commercial Mixed (CM), Club Residential (CR) and Gateway Corridor Overlay (GC-O) to Village Mixed (VM) – with a proposed land use of multi-family development was denied.
Planning board member Erin Hege Shea made the motion to deny the rezoning request from applicant Michael Kelley – Kelley Properties, expressing her chief concerns were with water runoff and increased traffic. She said she didn’t think the board was ready to move forward with a rezoning without first resolving those issues.
The motion to deny the request was approved by a 3-1 margin with Rod Guthrie opposed.
Rollins said that the developer wants to rezone and combine the parcels into a 98-unit high-end apartment complex. He said that the current Commercial Mixed zoning allows a variety of uses and also allows up to eight units per acre for residential.
However, Rollins added that if the property is rezoned to Village Mixed, which is the zoning in place just across the street, that would allow up to 15 units per acre of residential.
“I think the bigger issue that we are hearing out there is naturally with traffic,” he said. “And there are cycle delays there, and the developer has already met with DOT to talk about the project. There’s already a turn lane there, so DOT is not going to require any additional improvement on 801 for the project because there’s already a turn lane there to turn left on what I call the Peachtree Lane Extension, which goes to the two-story office building. That’s where folks frankly cut in front of that building to get to Walgreens. So the developer proposes taking down that two-story office building as part of the overall development and making into this an egress within the development back over to 158 beside Walgreens easier.”
Rollins said he thinks and understands that residents have concerns about apartments going there along with all the additional traffic.
“So it’s going to be redeveloped in some type of commercial setting,” he said. “If it’s not an apartment community, it could be another standalone little retail box or a car wash or maybe a professional office building, so there’s going to be something there, and most of it, from DOT’s perspective, is going to be required to have access off of that Peachtree Lane Extension that’s already in place.”
Along with the rezoning request, there was a resolution in the Jan. 11 town council meeting directing the clerk to investigate a petition for contiguous annexation from the property owners of 155 S. NC 801 and 139 S. NC 801.
Councilman Mike Brannon said he wanted to confirm “that this would not be an approval to annex, but simply approval to move forward.”
Rollins concurred, and councilman Curtis Capps made the motion to proceed with further consideration to annex the adjoining properties, and it received unanimous approval.
In anticipation of the adoption of the resolution, Rollins said that the town clerk had investigated the sufficiency of the petition and that he asked the council to consider Feb. 8 for a public hearing on the issue of annexation, which is the next step in the process. It also received unanimous approval.
So it will be on the agenda for the town council meeting on that night with three other public hearings that were approved in the January council meeting:
• a zoning map amendment from Michael Kelley related to rezoning the six tracts of land located east of NC 801 South and west of Ivy Circle totaling 6.54 acres from Commercial Mixed (CM), Club Residential (CR) and Gateway Corridor Overlay (GC-O) to Village Mixed (VM);
• a 10/70 request, which is part of the town’s Watershed Act allowing the council to add density to certain areas within the watershed, on the same land from Kelley; and
• a zoning text amendment regarding food trucks.
“We are providing multiple opportunities for folks to have a say,” Rollins said.