Orange County

Weigh in on revised plan for Chapel Hill Wegmans, traffic circle

A revised plan for a Wegmans Food Markets store on U.S. 15-501 in northeastern Chapel Hill will be reviewed by town advisory boards this summer. The plan is tentatively set for a September public hearing and a potential Town Council vote in October.
A revised plan for a Wegmans Food Markets store on U.S. 15-501 in northeastern Chapel Hill will be reviewed by town advisory boards this summer. The plan is tentatively set for a September public hearing and a potential Town Council vote in October. Contributed

Wegmans Food Markets won’t return to the Town Council until fall, but you can can tell a developer Thursday what you think about plans for the grocery and a traffic circle on Old Durham Road.

Developer Leon Capital Group submitted a new permit application for the $30 million project in mid-May. A public information meeting begins at 5:15 p.m. in the first-floor conference room at Chapel Hill Town Hall.

Town advisory boards will review the new plan this summer; a Town Council public hearing could be held Sept. 18.

The plan still replaces the 13-acre Performance AutoMall with a 130,000-square-foot building and at least 750 parking spaces on both sides of Old Durham Road. Hendrick Automotive is moving its dealerships to the Southpoint Automall near The Streets at Southpoint.

However, the main entrance to Wegmans now would be a traffic circle on Old Durham Road, creating an intersection with the overflow lot across the street. Customers also could use an entrance beside the Hardee’s restaurant on Old Durham Road; a driveway behind the store would serve delivery trucks.

Drivers would not be able to access Wegmans from a service road between the site and U.S. 15-501.

Traffic in the already congested area is a primary concern. The developer is working with town and N.C. Department of Transportation officials to complete a full traffic impact study and mitigate potential problems. Council members previously cited concerns about landscaping and the large parking lot.

The plan also includes an exemption to some town rules, including a 60-foot height limit that precludes the store’s 80-foot tower. Another exemption would reduce the required landscaping on all sides, to give passing drivers time to see the store and safely enter and to accommodate the traffic circle, the plan states.

Chapel Hill and Orange County have agreed to pay a $4 million tax incentive if Wegmans creates 185 full-time jobs and 413 part-time jobs over five years and meets annual property and sales tax revenue goals. The incentive would be paid with the store’s new tax revenues, estimated at over $27.5 million a year.

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb

What’s next

Wegmans Food Markets developers will hold a public information meeting from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. Thursday in the first-floor conference room at Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

The town’s Community Design Commission could review the project at its June 27 meeting in Town Hall.

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