“They pulled their request for a public hearing on the conditional use permit and rezoning because I think it was clear to them that they were not going to be able to get the rezoning,” says Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton. “The conditional use permit that was proposed could not have been approved without the rezoning being approved. I think it was clear to them that this was going nowhere tonight.”
The project required a conditional use permit, or C.U.P., because the scope of the project necessitated the rezoning of three lots whose current zoning did not allow the proposed development.
The lots that the developers were originally requesting to be rezoned were planned as parking lots to help alleviate the transition from high-density commercial to the residential lots on Center Street. But Carrboro Planning Director Trish McGuire says the rezoning was still needed on those lots since the parking would have been associated with the development.
While the most recent plan is all but dead, a CVS-based development at a smaller scale could still be proposed assuming it meets the zoning requirements at the same location, or potentially in another part of town. Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton says he expects the developers to have a new proposal soon.
“The board has decided to not consider any type of rezoning there,” says Chilton. “It might be possible for them to put forward an application for a drug store—several of those lots are currently zoned for commercial development—but it will have to be considerably different application than they have so far.”
But Carrboro resident Michele Rivest says that the main issues residents have with the project are not related to scale as much the impact of a CVS in that neighborhood.
“All of the issues of CVS’s business model, the 24/7 nature, and the traffic, noise and light pollution, they’re still going to be there. I don’t know where the smaller scale is going to matter. Most of what was going to happen on Center Street was the parking lot.”
The developers of the project, Kimley-Horn and Associates, asked the Board of Aldermen late Friday afternoon to postpone the hearing until April. That request was ultimately denied by the board, and the developers chose instead to not go through with the public hearing.
“One of the things I love about Carrboro is that we have a very active and involved citizenry—people are engaged with their local government,” says Chilton. “I think it’s great that so many people came to speak tonight.”
Chilton also cited the importance of the building’s location as another motivating factor for the increased participation.