No Weaver Street for Hillsborough?

The Hillsborough Board of Adjustment rejected a very good site plan for Weaver Street Market in downtown Hillsborough last night, voting 3-2 in favor. A 4-1 vote was required in order to pass the plan. Paul Newton and Al Hartkopf cast the two votes against Weaver Street. It is not at all clear why they voted as they did. It doesn't make sense. I think there will be a lot of people in Hillsborough who will want to know why, and who will want to know how to correct this mistake.


Tap water (under the EPA) has tighter restrictions than bottled water (under the FDA), so a lot of times tap water's cleaner. Plus OWASA's pretty good about our water. Orange-Alamance isn't too shabby either. I certainly didn't develop any defects from drinking it.

Oh, and I talked to Al about this. It sounded to me like they'd like to see WSM come back with some ways to address the issues.

He did say they'd like to see WSM come back with another proposal. Al also made the very good point that the Board of Adjustment is only allowed to look at 4 things, so how much they want or don't want a business to be there has nothing to do with it. The biggies he and Paul were worried about were detriment to neighboring properties and hazards to safety (hence traffic I suppose).


Thanks for the reminder of why big chains can offer lower prices. That doesn't explain why smaller Cliff's was beating WSM market on wine prices (and especially not why WSM muscled Cliff's prices up).

I was disappointed to find that WSM was turned down. I've been looking forward to their arrival in Hillsborough ever since I first found out they were considering building. I hope they can come up with another plan that will be approved because they would definitely be an asset to Hillsborough - and I like going there.

At first, I was surprised that they may have been turned down because of traffic reasons. Yes, they would make more traffic, even if 50% of their business were from people walking or biking (and I doubt that it would get that high). But it is the type of traffic which would help Hillsborough - bringing people downtown who then might stay to patronize other businesses. Most of Hillsborough's traffic problems right now are because of people driving through, not because of people going downtown and staying. And I've not heard anyone say that we should stop development north of town just because it increases traffic.

I must admit, though, that I try to avoid going north into town between about 5 and 6:15 in the evening. The traffic backs up to the turn off for 70 business and beyond. I've occasionally seen it backed up all the way to 85.

People going north and waiting to turn left into the WSM at the Gateway center would slow down traffic. And, during rush hour, it would be close to impossible to turn left out of their parking lot to go north - unless they added a traffic light, which I have not seen proposed in any of the articles.

I don't think any of the problems are insurmountable, however, and I hope that the Gateway center and Hillsborough can work together to come up with a solution.

The Weaver Street plan is neither a detriment to neighboring properties, nor a hazard to safety (the revised plans addressed these concerns).

Back to the question of ticket writitng on airportMLK --I travel that road frequently--and I see tickets getting written on MLK more often than any other road in town--at LEAST once a week. Part of the problem with MLK is that it FEELS like it ought to be 45-55 mph. Honestly--I set my cruise control on MLK so I DON'T speed. It's wide--with medians--"feels" like a highway!


Maybe if they installed some vehicle suspension destroying, er I mean traffic calming devices people would slow down. AND I could get air jumping them on my motorcycle!!! Now that would be cool.

Melanie, MLK is engineered for higher speeds than the posted ones. For instance, I believe 45MPH Hillsborough to Estes, 50MPH from Estes out North. You can get the engineering specs from Kumar or look at the actual drawings (I did about 4 years ago).

I'm sure folks would "throw a rod" if someone suggested making the posted speed closer to the engineered speed but there are studies that show that most drivers will drive the "safe and supported" speed of a road (of course, it's the outliers that are the problem) which might explain why nearly every vehicle I see on MLK drives 40 or above (depending on the stretch). BTW, the RLC data showed that folk habitually drove just under the engineered speed of MLK - kind of interesting.

Why would they do that? Engineer a road for higher than posted speeds? Are they TRYING to create a speed trap? No wonder I have to set my cruise control. I have to do the same thing on Estes Drive Extension--that WAS 45 for the first 10-15 years I drove it...


WSM's business design borders on utopian. They serve the community and the municipality with equal parts dedication and wisdom.

I share the optimism of Anita, Barrie, John Delconte, and Laura N who see this hassle for what it is: a setback.

Board of Adjustment decisions are hard but not impossible to reverse.

This is a system level problem as illustrated by the long and drawn out battles between CH and DOT over Weaver Dairy Road and between Carrboro and DOT over Smith Level Road. The state DOT makes decisions about number of lanes etc. based on engineering data (car trips, access points, etc.) and the towns make decisions based on safety, plans for future reductions in car trips, etc.

I've spent the past 2.5 years trying to get DOT to help with traffic problems in my neighborhood, and the fact that we have lots of pedestrians (no sidewalks), wildlife, and children on bicycles makes no difference to them. They're more concerned with helping traffic flow smoothly. So we have speed limits of 35mph in a residential neighborhood and no traffic enforcement since we are located in the county.

BTW, speed bumps, additional stop signs, or other traffic calming devices cannot be used on state-maintained roads.

On traffic concerns over WSM, LauraN wrote:
"People going north and waiting to turn left into the WSM at the Gateway center would slow down traffic. And, during rush hour, it would be close to impossible to turn left out of their parking lot to go north - unless they added a traffic light, which I have not seen proposed in any of the articles. "

When approaching the offered WSM site from the south, I would simply turn left at Orange Grove Rd, then right on Exchange Park and this would lead right to WSM and avoid the downtown traffic entirely.


Yes, bordering on utopian. Fair, generous, intelligent, local, enjoyable, and prosperous. Why all the question marks???

Can anyone tell me what's the next step? Do we need to start organizing for the next Board of Adjusters election?

I agree with George Horton from today's Herald-Sun; it is the responsibility of members of the Board of Adjustment to base their votes on fact--not opinion or on anything else that might be motivating them.

This is from the paper this morning:

"Horton said he is still trying to understand why board members voted as they did.
"It was not based on fact in my opinion. It was based on opinion," Horton said. "There's no factual information that indicated that this is any better or worse than the project they approved."
Horton said engineers worked to address concerns raised before.
"Everything else we were criticized of at the previous Board of Adjustment meeting, I think we addressed in ways that provided satisfaction to the other three board members." "

"I agree with George Horton from today's Herald-Sun; it is the responsibility of members of the Board of Adjustment to base their votes on fact–not opinion or on anything else that might be motivating them. "

I guess George Horton does not hold himself to the same standard.

"It was not based on fact in my opinion."

Couple of quick comments:
First, as a technicality, Weaver Street Market is not actually the applicant in this process, it's up to the developer to pursue the matter further. Let's all hope that happens - the support expressed in this forum will undoubtedly help.
Second, if Jeff Vanke is looking for less costly cereals he should pass on the Kashi altogether and check out the WSM bulk bins where he'll find excellent mixed cereal choices starting at around $2.29/lb, which I believe beats any of HT's packaged offerings even before the owner discount. But the real bargain is even better. At $.69/lb WSM organic quick oats is half the price of HT's (or Food Lion's) non-organic Quaker. And you can buy as much or as little as you want.

Someone posted last night using my name, and I just want anyone who read it to know that I did not write it and I can only guess what the motives are of someone who would do that. I think if you post you should have the integrity and courage to put your name to what you write.

The offending comment has already been removed.

Impersonating other people (either real or imaginary) on OrangePolitics is both foolish and deceitful. It has been tried many times, and is not tolerated in this environment.

i may have missed it - but is there a design of the layout for the gateway center on the web anywhere.


From today's HS (thank's to Ray Gronberg, perma-linked to avoid aging out or paying!):

The decision preventing a branch of Weaver Street Market from locating in the planned Gateway Center downtown is being challenged in court.

Representatives for the center's developer filed an appeal in Orange County Superior Court Wednesday to reverse a decision made by the town's Board of Adjustment.

I would LOVE to see a Weaver Street in Hillsborough. Sadly, it won't be in my neck of the woods, not that I could (should?) walk those woods without a police escort. I live in Cornwallis Hills.

But the good news is that the new commercial development going up on South Churton will have an Applebys! Oh boy!

And maybe even a RiteAid.

To me, the most amazing thing about this issue is that in mid-February, over a month after the initial decision by the BOA that set off the controversy, there have yet to be any documents made available to the public that explain WHY a Weaver Street Market in the Gateway Center causes "too much traffic."

Was there a traffic study done?
Are there any materials available?

Al H lives in our development. He seems to be a nice fella, despite his penchant for political hubris. The only thing I can think of is that perhaps Al is in want of attention? All politicians are like that, and Al has said in the past that he fancies himself a political person. WTM.

That said, quoting Allan Scott's article:

"Hunter is looking for an anchor store such as a Whole Foods Market or specialty grocery to fill a 25,000-square-foot building in the project's second phase.

Even with the possibility of Weaver Street Market, a Whole Foods rival, coming to the Historic District in Hillsborough, Hunter says he doesn't necessarily see his shopping center competing with downtown.

"I think that most downtown corridors are a different market than for your suburbs," he said, conceding that in this case the town is small and the "suburbs" close by. "

Man, a Whole Foods within cetain distance would be sweet. I am serious. I love Whole Foods, but to make any distinction between South Churton and downtown is not really a matter of urban/suburban. More like "south of truck-stop-like slabs of concrete uselessness and a giant effigy of someone no one cares about anymore except that he used to guard the animals that lived there in the 60's..." and "NORTH of....etc.etc...."

Why can't we join the two? Why does there have to be a distinction? Just get rid of all that crap (McDonalds, Hardees, Walmart carcass #1, Daniel Boone Pilliage, all those ugly banks and stuff) and think AHEAD. Make all of Churton wlakable, or the site of heavy public transport up and down, from 40 to 70, so that getting to downtown takes but a mere crossing of Churton (which in my wet dream would be LESS wide, not MORE, facilitating walkers and public transportation) and wait for the next ride to Cup a Joe.

A fella can dream.

I suggest you "dream" of moving to Caryboro or Chapel Hill, homey!

John K

Yeah, well, not only is that too expensive, but also I hear-tell that pedestrians regularly get whacked by moving vehicles in those burbs.

Hillsburro needs a Brayin' Voyce!

Gilbert- true enough, ya gotta watch your step in these parts, and it IS bloody expensive these days. Perhaps you should buy a motorcycle and ride to the markets down this way, you would probably enjoy that! And, it would be safer than walking.



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