Cary advances Publix plan despite residents' protests

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Some voice their oppositiion to a plan to build a Publix, other shops.

More than a dozen residents spoke up during a Town of Cary Planning and Zoning Board meeting Monday night.

At issue is about 22 acres of land at the northwest corner of Green Level Church and Carpenter Fire Station Roads. Residents who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting say they don't want to see the land behind their homes rezoned for commercial use.

Right now the land is zoned for some type of residential use. A developer wants to use the land for the proposed Amberly Village Shopping Center and build a 55,000-square foot Publix grocery store along with other shops, restaurants and banks. To do this, town leaders would need to change the Cary comprehensive plan to rezone the land from residential to commercial.

The intersection has two shopping centers there now, one with a Harris Teeter.

"You have a Wegmans coming, you have everything else coming, this is a food oasis, there is not a need," argued Ben Kuhn, a lawyer representing neighbors opposed to the proposed comprehensive plan changes and rezoning."

Kuhn joined a list of 14 people who spoke during Monday's meeting to share concerns of noise, traffic and light pollution, should the land behind their homes go commercial.

"This will have a negative impact on the neighborhood as well as our values," said Matt Schwabel, who lives in the Arlington Park neighborhood that backs up right to the land.

Mike Trainor, a spokesman for Sembler, the developer of the proposed shopping center, told ABC11 on Tuesday that the company "appreciates the feedback we have received from nearby residents, and we are proud of the collaborative process we have implemented to ensure that this development will be an asset to surrounding communities."

Trainor also noted the developer had hosted "three well-attended neighborhood meetings to solicit feedback, and we have already made significant changes to our plans based on homeowner comments."

Board members listened to resident concerns but in the end voted 7-1 in favor of amending Cary's comprehensive plan to rezone to the land for commercial and medium density residential use.

"We are pleased with the Town of Cary Planning and Zoning Board's 7-1 vote to send the Comprehensive Plan Amendment to Town Council with a recommendation to approve. We look forward to continuing this process with local residents and government," Trainor said.

The plan will now go to Cary's Town Council for consideration. The timeline for that could be months.

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