Seemingly just as suddenly as the project had burst on the Graham scene last fall, it was gone – or so it seems.
A developer who has spent the past several months proposing and then scaling back a major warehouse project along Cherry Lane suddenly withdrew the proposal Tuesday night when it was to be considered by Graham’s city council.
An 825,000-square foot warehouse building was modified to two buildings with a total of 615,000 square feet. Plans for a second lot also on Cherry Lane, with a 400,000-square foot warehouse, were unchanged. Plans for both have now been withdrawn.
The planning board spent three hours last month listening to the revised plans and hearing neighbors’ continuing objections that it was not compatible with the Old Fields residential neighborhood across the street. Old Fields generally has houses ranging in price from the high $200,000’s to $400,000 and more.
Neighbors were especially vociferous about the increase in tractor-trailer traffic along what has traditionally been a quiet country road; the eyesore of having towering warehouse buildings overlooking their residential subdivision and so close to the road; and their fundamental objection to allowing industry in a heretofore rural and residential area.
Since Cherry Lane is a state road, Graham’s options for trying to influence traffic flow are limited, but planning board members wanted to eliminate an entrance and exit onto Cherry Lane. That shift would’ve required the only entrance/exit to the lot, along Governor Scott Farm Road, to effectively force traffic toward Senator Ralph Scott Parkway, the state-built road that runs through the heart of the industrial park and away from Cherry Lane.
The revised plan put an 8-foot high berm around the sides of the property facing Cherry Lane and Governor Scott Farm Road. The greater screening effort was done in the name of providing “visual mitigation,” the developer’s attorney, Amanda Hodierne, told the planning board and assembled audience members in February. Security fencing would be added at the site, in order to address another previously-expressed concern about the possibility of nearby children getting onto the site.
Even with the changes, however, the planning board voted unanimously, 5-0, to recommend that the city council deny the developer’s rezoning request.
In February, planning board members appeared to be coalescing around additional conditions for the rezoning that should be recommended to the city council if they were to approve the request: a 300-foot setback from the road; a larger, 20-foot berm (with 15-foot trees); no entrance or exit along Cherry Lane; and required and limited entry and exit along Governor Scott Farm Road (left turn in, right turn out), which would keep trucks off of Cherry Lane.
What’s in Cherry Lane’s future
Chad Huffine, a local engineer who lives in the area and a vocal opponent of the projects, told the city council later Tuesday night that residents have submitted a formal request to the city to establish an overlay district along Cherry Lane.
City councilmen Bobby Chin and Joey Parsons also expressed interest in developing a long-term visions for the area.
READ EARLIER COVERAGE AND HISTORY OF THE CHERRY LANE PROJECTS:
Huge warehouse project proposed for Graham along Cherry Lane, in new area of Hawfields industrial park (Dec. 16, 2021): https://alamancenews.com/huge-warehouse-project-proposed-for-graham-along-cherry-lane-in-new-area-of-hawfields-industrial-park/
Proposed warehouses for Cherry Lane postponed until January (Dec. 23, 2021): https://alamancenews.com/breaking-overnight-proposed-warehouses-for-cherry-lane-postponed-until-january/
Rezoning, annexation projects along Cherry Lane on Graham side of Hawfields-area industrial park postponed (January 8, 2022): https://alamancenews.com/update-on-warehouse-projects-along-cherry-lane-on-graham-side-of-hawfields-area-industrial-park/
Planning board sides with neighbors, votes against revised Cherry Lane warehouse projects: https://alamancenews.com/planning-board-sides-with-neighbors-votes-against-cherry-lane-warehouse-projects/