The whispers and rumors floating around this morning about the rezoning request for the Dunn Road parcel at Falls of Neuse being withdrawn are true.
Morgan Property Group, which has been pushing to rezone the land for a year and half—first for a Publix grocery store, then for a smaller, organic food store with possible residential development—has cancelled its plans, after facing widespread opposition from North Raleigh residents. A public hearing on the case is scheduled for Tuesday.
Mack Paul, the attorney for Morgan Property Group, confirmed to the News and Observer that he intended to withdraw the rezoning proposal this morning; the City Council is expected to vote to approve the withdrawal of the case at a public hearing tomorrow. In a statement, Morgan Property president Trey Morgan said an “increasingly bitter and hostile climate” had made it “impossible to properly engage the community at large and for City Council to weigh the merits of the case.”
In an email to residents Monday morning, the nearby Bedford neighborhood’s Homeowners’ Association’s Board of Directors—which did not take a position on the case—said they expected the rezoning to be withdrawn before the hearing.
“This does not mean that it is over,” the email stated. “We anticipate that the property will be developed in the future and we want Bedford homeowners to have input into the final design….As the last vacant large tract of land in the area, it is critical they develop in character with and complement the community.”
The email also addressed the “polarized community” that Morgan alluded to, adding that this “has made it difficult for many residents to engage in a constructive discussion.”
“We are concerned that the lack of collaborative dialogue will result in a less than ideal development of the parcels when they ultimately develop,” the email states.
North Raleigh resident David Cox and a group called NORCHOA— the North Raleigh Coalition of Homeowners’ Associations—led the way in opposing rezoning at the site which they feel was inconsistent with the City’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan.
“The developer insisted on rezoning the land before developing it,” Cox said in an email. “We insisted that the land be developed as currently zoned. Simply because two parties cannot agree is no basis for claiming that one side or the other is hostile…To claim that our Mayor and Councilors could not weigh the merits of the case is an absurd claim.”
The public hearing is expected to draw hundreds of people.