Orange County

Wegmans grocery store goes to hearing in Chapel Hill Town Hall on Wednesday night

An artist’s rendering shows Wegmans Food Market as it would be seen from U.S. 15-501 near the Hardee’s restaurant on Old Durham Road in Chapel Hill. The Town Council could vote on the proposed 130,000-square-foot store in October.
An artist’s rendering shows Wegmans Food Market as it would be seen from U.S. 15-501 near the Hardee’s restaurant on Old Durham Road in Chapel Hill. The Town Council could vote on the proposed 130,000-square-foot store in October. Contributed

You’ll have more opportunities to shop in town if a Wegmans grocery store is approved next month for U.S. 15-501.

A public hearing on the 130,000-square-foot store will be held Wednesday at Chapel Hill Town Hall. The Town Council could vote as early as Oct. 25 on the project, one of four Wegmans Food Markets proposed for Chapel Hill, Cary and Raleigh.

The council also will hold public hearings on Sunday morning alcohol sales at local stores and expansions of the Alpha Phi Sorority on East Rosemary Street and Signature Health Care on East Franklin Street.

The $30 million Wegmans project, if approved, would replace the 14.7-acre Performance AutoMall. It could bring in over $366,000 in town and county property tax revenues and up to $1.5 million in sales tax revenue each year.

Hendrick Automotive is moving its dealerships to the Southpoint Auto Mall near The Streets at Southpoint.

Chapel Hill and Orange County have offered Wegmans a $4 million incentive if the company 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 using new tax revenues, officials said, and help pay for environmental cleanup at the longtime automotive site and for necessary road improvements, officials said.

Developer Leon Capital Group is seeking exceptions to some town rules, including for Wegmans’ signature 80-foot clock tower. The town limits buildings to 60 feet tall in that area. Other exceptions could affect landscaping, slopes, signs, impervious surfaces and land use.

The council also will be asked to approve 750 parking spaces – 87 more than town rules allow but 20 less than previously proposed. Roughly a quarter of the parking would be on three lots across Old Durham Road.

The traffic Wegmans could bring to the area has caused major concern, especially since the surrounding area will be redeveloped over the next 20 years. A traffic study estimated Wegmans will add about 3,200 more cars to local roads. It advises multiple road improvements, including the addition of traffic-calming devices, such as speed bumps, on neighborhood streets.

The developer has not reached an agreement with the neighboring State Employees Credit Union (formerly Blue Cross and Blue Shield) for driveway access from U.S. 15-501 at Eastowne Drive. That leaves two driveways on Old Durham Road – at a new roundabout and at the Cooper Street intersection.

Other proposed changes include:

▪ More turn lanes at Old Durham Road and U.S. 15-501, and a longer median blocking cross-traffic at Old Durham Road and Scarlett Drive

▪ A pedestrian crosswalk with flashing lights across Old Durham Road

▪ New turn lanes and signs at U.S. 15-501 and East Lakeview Drive, directing drivers to turn for the primary Wegmans entrance

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb

What’s next

The Chapel Hill Town Council will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Town Hall Council Chamber, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

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