Wal-Mart gets OK from council for conditional permit
by Erin Dentmon
edentmon@cherokeetribune.com
February 06, 2013 12:09 AM | 2434 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HOLLY SPRINGS — Wal-Mart representatives got quick action from Holly Springs officials Monday night as the company sought a zoning change for its proposed big box retail store planned in the city along Interstate 575.

Wal-Mart representatives appeared before the city’s planning commission and City Council to seek approval for a conditional use permit allowing a Class III big box retail structure near the intersection of Hiram Way and Holly Springs Parkway.

The planning commission recommended 4-0 that the City Council approve the conditional use permit with stipulations recommended by city staff. The council voted 5-0 to do so.

Developers had already received approval to build the store, but Wal-Mart then decided to own its property outright, necessitating a separate zoning hearing, city staff said.

Details about the new Wal-Mart were revealed at the meeting by the representatives of the retail giant.

Michael Blinn of BRR Architecture, the firm working to design the Wal-Mart store, said the store will include grocery, general merchandise, a screened garden center and indoor tenants such as the Subway stores or hair salons seen in other Wal-Marts.

The store will not include a quick lube center, gas station or drive-through pharmacy.

Wal-Mart will be situated perpendicular to Holly Springs Parkway to allow the store to maximize parking area.

Blinn highlighted how Wal-Mart has studied and worked to meet the city’s zoning requirements.

The store will include raised parapets to hide the roof. The store’s exterior coloring will change every 100 feet, Blinn said.

Wal-Mart plans two locations for monument-style signs. One will only bear the Wal-Mart name, while the other will be a multi-tenant sign.

Signage on the building will total 799 square feet, Blinn said.

“We’re very pleased with the look of the building,” he said.

The store will have four parking spaces per 1,000 square feet, a city requirement.

“Wal-Mart actually likes to have five spaces,” Blinn said.

Planning commission Chairman Mike Herman wanted to know more about the store’s landscaping plans.

“Behind (the store) is fairly wooded now, but there’s a big dip in topography,” he said.

Michael Ranks, an engineer with Freeland & Kauffman, the firm handling engineering and landscape design for the store, said the Wal-Mart’s retention pond will be 60 feet below the store and will have a 45-foot beige retention wall.

Mature trees already located near Holly Springs Parkway will not be removed, Ranks said. Wal-Mart will also plant a row of trees, likely magnolias, along the back of the store.

Any greenery in the Department of Transportation’s right-of-way will also be maintained, Ranks said.

Wal-Mart will be rebuilding a traffic signal at Harbor Creek Parkway. All truck traffic will then travel along the lower end of the site and to the back of the store.

Nancy Moon, the city’s community development director, said Wal-Mart is a “best use” for the property.

“It’s in a commercial area with Publix and Kroger nearby. It doesn’t back up to a residential area. As far as the future land-use plans, it meets those requirements,” she said during the planning meeting.

Stipulations placed on the development include using 75 percent brick or stone construction, using environmentally sensitive lighting, making necessary roadway improvements and screening any retention/detention areas.

During the public comment portion of the planning meeting, one nearby resident spoke up with concerns regarding truck traffic on Hembredge Drive near the future Wal-Mart site. He said trucks are already causing problems by using the road.

During the City Council’s special called meeting, Blinn said the store would feature an entire glass entrance and uses “as much glass as we can.”

The store will also feature a curved roof to add architectural interest.

“Seeing now the layout, my concern is the view of the building from Holly Springs Parkway,” Council Member Dee Phillips said.

Ranks said the magnolia trees Wal-Mart intends to plant should provide a screen.

“As you travel north on Holly Springs Parkway, the road goes down, and we’ll have screening at the top,” Ranks said. “Especially once you get even with the detention pond, with the existing trees, those go well above where the road is now.”

The store is designed under Wal-Mart’s plans for 180,000-foot buildings. A site plan lists the total square footage of the Holly Springs store as 163,134 square feet.

Wal-Mart’s opening was announced in October. A retail shopping center will be built across the parking lot from Walmart and will contain 30,000 square feet of retail outparcels.

The shopping center will remain under Bright-Meyers, the development firm that initially received permitting for the site.

Wal-Mart will own 733 parking spaces; the outparcel shopping center will include 120 spaces.

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