The Raleigh Planning Department released a letter documenting its initial findings on the rezoning of Dunn and Falls of Neuse. Click here or on the image below for the full document. Please note that these are initial findings only and in no way indicate any kind of approval.
Notably the letter says,
Based on staff’s initial review, your request is consistent with the Future Land Use Map of the Comprehensive Plan. The property is currently designated for Neighborhood Mixed Use on the Future Land Use Map (FLUM).
Yet, the Planning Department offers no arguments or explanation for why they find the request consistent. A reasonable interpretation of the request for 75,000 square feet of retail space and up to 50,000 square feet for a single building would be for an automobile oriented shopping plaza that draws its customers from far more than a one mile radius. Indeed, the applicants have well publicized their intent to build a nearly 50,000 square foot Publix grocery store. Both of these factors are clearly inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan which states:
This category (Neighborhood Mixed Use) applies to neighborhood shopping centers and pedestrian-oriented retail districts. The service area of these districts is generally about a one mile radius or less. Typical uses would include corner stores or convenience stores, restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets (other than super-stores/centers), drug stores, dry cleaners, video stores, small professional offices, retail banking, and similar uses that serve the immediately surrounding neighborhood.
According to the Food Marketing Institute, the industry definition of a super-store is any grocery that is greater than 30,000 square feet. Moreover, it has been well advertised that the intent is to build a Publix grocery store on the site. William Crenshaw, CEO of Publix happens to also be a member of the Executive Committee of the Food Marketing Institute – the very institute that provides the industry definition for super-stores.
Publix grocery stores typically draw customers from a three mile or greater radius. A nearly 50,000 square foot Publix does not fit the typical use of servicing a one mile or less radius. And obviously a nearly 50,000 square foot Publix grocery store is by industry definitions a super-store.
A final point is that one property that is part of the request is a private home not in the Neighborhood Mixed Use area on the Future Land Use map. Rezoning the property of a private home from residential to commercial is certainly not consistent with the comprehensive plan or the future land use map.
Clearly the Raleigh Planning Department’s initial findings of consistency are completely unsupported and flawed.