Mebane’s chances of getting a Tractor Supply increased Monday night when the city council approved a rezoning request to permit the farm and garden supply store at a location off Mebane Oaks Road near I-85/40.
The council’s approval, however, was contingent on the developer succeeding at getting additional land in order to extend Wilson Road behind Chick-fil-A to connect to a stub-out road being built by DOT at the intersection with the entrance to Walmart.
Developer Mark Tiller of Hendon Properties told the council he was “confident we can
work it out” with the neighboring property owner. Mayor Ed Hooks said opening Wilson Road to the new traffic light at Walmart would be a “tremendous move” to improve traffic flow in the area.
But city officials stressed that if those negotiations fail, the Tractor Supply rezoning process would have to start over – and would also likely be required to include a traffic impact analysis, a study avoided in the first go-round because of the promise to open Wilson Road to connect to the DOT road.
The developer’s engineer, Matt Lowder, emphasized the minimal amount of traffic
expected for the truck entrance that’s to run behind the store and connect to Forest Oaks Lane. But it was the customer entrance, also off Forest Oaks Lane, near the intersection with Wilson Road that drew much of the council’s and residents’ concerns.
Council member Montrena Hadley questioned whether two entrances along Forest Oaks were really necessary, suggesting that the main entrance in front of the store and off Wilson Road, behind Wendy’s, might be sufficient. It’s a “very, very busy area,” Hadley summarized.
Meanwhile, much discussion focused on various traffic alternatives, including a stop light at Wilson Road and Forest Oaks Lane, or a circle or roundabout there, or perhaps requirements for no left turns.
The council heard from several neighbors along Forest Oaks Lane, which runs beside the proposed new store.
Forest Oaks Lane residents Jared Schumann (3987), Mitch Patton (3984), Larry Teague (4026) and Mike Holsclaw (4045) raised concerns both about traffic and water runoff in the area.
[Story continues below photos of concerned residents along Forest Oaks Lane.]
Adding to the complicated traffic issues is that most of the roads are state roads, and thus up to DOT to decide on traffic signals or other issues; only the short spur of Wilson Road, behind Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A, is a city street subject to city council decisions.
Developer Tiller told the council he hopes for “early summer” to begin clearing land in preparation for construction.
In the end, the council was unanimous in voting for the rezoning request, 5-0. Councilman Jonathan White was not physically present, with Hooks explaining that he was overseas, but White participated by phone throughout the evening, voting on all matters that came before the council Monday night, including approval of the Tractor Supply rezoning.