Planning Meeting Tonight for The Shoppes at Jones Ferry

There is a planning meeting being held tonight at 5:30 PM in the Board Room in the Carrboro Town Hall with Ballentine Associates and Northwest Properties to display their plans for "The Shoppes at Jones Ferry".

It might be a good time to ask them if they plan to put solar panels on the roof. See

A new Harris Teeter and shopping center have been proposed near downtown Carrboro.

Plans for The Shoppes at Jones Ferry at 405-407 Jones Ferry Road are being reviewed by town staff and advisory boards, Carrboro planner James Thomas said.

The town has a Harris Teeter less than a mile away next to Carr Mill Mall.

Applicant Northwest Property Group, based in Skyland, N.C., is negotiating to buy the land from Calvin and Nora Mellott and Mellott Trucking & Supply Co., Thomas said. The submitting of detailed plans and a permit application shows Northwest is serious about building, he said.

The 7.7-acre property would need to be rezoned for the supermarket, three proposed restaurants and 11 other businesses. The Harris Teeter, which could contain a Starbucks, would occupy about an acre.

The site borders the Abbey Court condominiums, Carolina Apartments and University Lake Apartments, whose residents would be able to walk or bike to the shopping center.

- Town may get more retail


I attended last night and there was a crowd of about 30 or so. We own property within 1000 feet of the project. Here are a few thoughts. As it seems to look on paper, the plan has lots of room for improvement.

Yes, the buildings are lined up with Jones Ferry and Barnes, but their primary entrances will be facing inward to the parking lot, not the sidewalk. The developer kept saying "these are small shops" and the shopkeepers wouldn't want two entrances. Well, from a rental perspective, maybe he's right. In that case, let's have them put the primary entrances on the street/sidewalk side and put an attractive sottoportego to walk from the parking area to the streetside entrances. (see below) We should put the pedestrian first.

At this point, it is possible the developer will say that people will not patronize the shops if they have to park and walk around or through the building to the front. Understand that such an argument is basically saying, "the citizens of your town are really too dumb to figure out how to shop here." People walk further than this all the time at Southpoint and even at the Carr Mill Harris Teeter. I encourage the planning board and Aldermen to push the developer on this point.

I asked about offices above the retail, and the realtor said the market is not there right now and that there is empty space at 605 W Main, and other Carrboro locations. This begs a larger question for our downtown- if we want to double the commercial space downtown, some office is certainly going to be needed. I visited the Carrboro website today as if I was a business owner looking for space.

The website ultimately kicked me out to the Orange County site to search for office space. This may streamline things from the County perspective, but it is not promoting the Carrboro brand as effectively as possible. Recognizing that our ED staff may be limited in time and resources, I nevertheless would encourage the town to look into creating a Carrboro-specific website with maps pointing out the locations of office space for lease and the proximity to town amenities. The total amount of Carrboro office space is small enough that maintaining two parallel databases should not be onerous.

Finally, I felt a little bad for the developer on the mobility and accessibility issues. At every turn, he kept saying things like "we'd like to put in a traffic signal, but DOT won't let us." Listening to the work done by NCDOT for this site plan, the impression the crowd received was "if you're not in a car, you don't exist, and we'll wait for pedestrian injuries to occur before we decide to take countermeasures (crosswalks, lights, etc) to protect pedestrians. In the meantime, speed up the cars!"

The citizens in attendance were very concerned about pedestrian safety, and NCDOT, as they have recently done in Durham, is again working hard to reject the desires of the community.

This is so ridiculous. Jones Ferry has TONS of foot traffic. Who do they think is going to shop there if not the pedestrians who walk by the site every day?

Thanks for the update, Patrick!

It seems to me that having the shops facing out would attract not only pedestrians, but people who drive by there as well. I hope that the new "shoppes" will have some character, not just a fancy spelling. I don't really find the idea of another strip mall that appalling, but it would be great to have something geared toward small businesses, pedestrians, and cyclists.

What has happened about this?

Were the plans improved? What is being built?

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen voted 6 to 1 tonight (with Joal Hall Broun voting no) to approve the application for the "Shoppes at Jones Ferry" project with some conditions. The main condition is that the Barnes Street driveway will be used for emergency access only -- and otherwise blocked to traffic.

It is not clear if the developer or Harris Teeter will accept this condition. In a letter to the Board, the president of Harris Teeter stated that the company "will not proceed with involvement in this project without two means of ingress and egress" (see Attachment K in the September 18 agenda materials here).

I was a little surprised by the lopsided vote, especially after the comments from community members who live near the property. The Board seemed fixated on the Barnes Street driveway and the need for a traffic signal at the intersection with Jones Ferry Road. Although these issues certainly were important during the public comment period, my sense was that the speakers also cared about other issues, including a general concern about whether the project is an appropriate fit for Carrboro and a sense that the interests of the most proximate neighbors had not been adequately considered. A lot of this got lost in what essentially became a discussion about a driveway and a traffic light.

Now we await the developer's decision.

Well put Damon - although I will add - I think the board made a huge effort to listen and consider options - and try and work something out that will work for the neighborhood and the developers. The the developers were amenable to change but were restricted by NC DOT regulations on Jones Ferry and by the typical strip mall concept that they re-used here. This IS Carrboro, and we have lots of creative and intelligent folks who know how to come up with good alternatives and have a vision for the town development. The developers will have to see if Harris Teeter is willing to accept more than the typical cookie cutter plaza as a solution.

I agree, Ben. The board did a nice job of listening to residents and poring over the details of the application to address neighborhood concerns and to be fair to the applicant.

As Dan Coleman pointed out today, the neighborhood petition asked for (a) no vehicular access from Barnes Street; (b) onsite treatment of storm water; and (c) consideration of safety issues. The board agreed to restrict the Barnes Street driveway to emergency access; could not require 100% onsite storm-water treatment under the recent ordinance on this issue; and called for a work session on the safety issues.

However, with regard to the broader question of whether the faux old-world charm of “Ye Olde Shoppes at Jones Ferrie” is a good fit for the neighborhood and our early-twentieth-century mill-cum-university town, it seemed like the board was hemmed in by its own planning process.

If the planning process allows these kinds of cookie-cutter retail plazas, then maybe the board should revise the process. In this case, things worked the way they were designed to work: the staff reviewed and processed the application, the developers complied with the requirements, the advisory boards weighed in, the public participated in hearings, etc. But we might still end up with a new strip mall on Jones Ferry Road that looks like it belongs closer to Southpoint.

I was struck by planning board chair James Carnahan's comments, in which he pleaded with the developers to rethink some of the easily modifiable design elements of the project. Of course, nothing compels or compelled the developers to do this. That's too bad.

When the board passed the permit tueday we did so with the condition that Barnes St could only be used for emergency access,after HT had said that they would not build without total acccess on/off Barnes
We ahve just gotten a letter stating that because we denied access the project will not be moving forward.They have withdrawn. Not unexpected.
JAcquie Gist

Eh, good riddance. It's not like Carrboro is going to miss another Harris Teeter. Maybe they can sell the property to someone who wants to contribute to the Carrboro community.

The property developer's letter to the town manager has been posted at The Mill.

As a resident of Barnes, I just want to say thanks to EVERYONE who helped and cared about this.
I'm going to take my son on a celebratory sunny bike ride on our road this evening.

I've been following the process.

I wonder how this plays as a cautionary tale. Jacquie, Dan, James (Carnahan - if he still reads OP) - is there anything Carrboro could've done to have their cake - increased commercial development - and eat it - maintain Carrboro's charm, adhere to the neighborhoods' concerns - also?

I've been thinking quite a bit about Chapel Hill's process - the inability to work to a definite answer, some lack of predictability, some creakiness (that JB is addressing) in the procedural parts, low citizen visibility until the end-game - and how we might retool to increase commercial development without sacrificing the charm of our community.

What are the lessons, if any, to take away from this case?

To answer WillR's question, my take from the 'citizen' side would be the following:

a) The planning department needs to spend considerably more time with residents during the early steps of the consultative process; I was also surprised and disappointed that the planning department did not push the applicant toward a more Carrboro-appropriate layout (bike racks, green space, green building, overall size of the complex)

b) While a neighborhood meeting (as held by the developers in April 07 in this case) is helpful, it really needs to involve the town as well, and there needs to be some undertaking by the applicant to incorporate & manage the most serious neighborhood concerns. Likewise Advisory Board recommendations should have teeth - Carnahan's well-thought-out notes on the appearance of the complex spring to mind.

c) The town itself needs to ask hard questions - before the application is in near-final form - about what kind of development will fit with the neighborhood, and what the trade-offs are in terms of commercial benefits and residential drawbacks. In addition the question of "does Carrboro need this?" should be addressed in more general sense.

HT closed its Raleigh Road location in Chapel Hill this summer. It was my neighborhood store, and walking distance from homes in Greenwood and Glen Lennox. I was very disappointed. Not looking forward to "Fresh Market" coming into that location either, as I expect it'll be over priced. Some of the employees told me before the store closed that there were two factors leading the decision to close the Raleigh Road store: it was in rented property (the company prefers to own its locations, the employees said) and it was too close to the Meadowmont and University Mall stores to be as profitable as the company needed. Those stores are 1-2 miles from the Raleigh Road location. When I read about the Barnes Street proposal I noted that the site was about a half mile from Carr Mill, and suspected that the Carr Mill store would close after the Barnes street store was opened. I didn't think that would be a good thing for downtown Carrboro (although I had fantasies of Weaver Street Market expanding into the Teeter space...) and so HT's decision to pull out of the Barnes street location appears good for the residents in that area as well as for people interested in a vibrant, sustainable downtown Carrboro. Yes?

Note that the approved permit is still out there. Harris Teeter is not coming to that site and the applicant will not be building the project, but the pemit is still valid if the owner of the porperty wants to develop it himself or if he wants to sell it to some other party that thinks they can make it without a driveway on Barnes Street.

When I first heard this I thought that it was no good because HT already has too much dominance in this market. Weaver St serves a different niche. So does Food Lion. Who are HT's real competitors? If they were going to put a grocery store there make a similar store to HT but a different chain.

But after reading above that if they had put a store on Jones Ferry they'd may have eventually closed the one at Carr Mill, I thought that would be a good thing. I mean, pretend the HT at Carr Mill didn't exist and HT was going to build a store and the options were Carr Mill or Jones Ferry / Barnes, which would be better? I'd say Jones Ferry / Barnes.

Stores like HT require a large volume of business and because Carrboro won't permit high density housing that means that many people that shop at HT in Carr Mill are forced to drive there. Where would we prefer for the people driving to HT in Carrboro drive to, (a) Jones Ferry / Barnes, which is right off 15-501, or (b) all the way into the heart of Carrboro to Greensboro St?

Have any of you tried turning left out of HT in Carr Mill onto Greensboro St lately? It is scary. In addition to the traffic there are also lots of bikers and walkers. Forcing people to drive while encouraging them to walk and bike is a dangerous combination and it's probably just a matter of time before someone gets run over there, at which time people say "Hey, let's do something about that." Well, why wait? Let's do something about that before someone gets run over. Having an HT out near 15-501 instead of Carr Mill would be a start. I say tell HT they can have whatever they want at Jones Ferry / Barnes if it means they'll close the Carr Mill store.

Oops, I mean that Jones Ferry / Barnes is right off 54, not 15-501. You know what I mean.

jose, I'll defer to Mark or other nearby Carrboro residents but by my observation, the HT at Carr Mill services quite a few folks that walk. You usually can see a fairly steady trail walking back into the neighborhoods.

Of all the HT's in Town, I probably use Carr Mill's the most because it's closest to where I work. We generally shop at WSM and pick up those items - cleaning supplies, ice cream, etc. - that the Weave doesn't stock or doesn't have a very good selection of... Beyond doubling up on our shopping, it is not too uncommon that we'll hit other nearby businesses for a larger multiplier (the other night we hit both grocery stores, VisArt, Mill Town, Townsend & Bertram, the bank and Maple View in one trip).

Part of the reason I lobbied for a grocery store (or similar service) for Chapel Hill's ill-fated Lot #5 development was this multiplier effect.

"the other night we hit both grocery stores, VisArt, Mill Town, Townsend & Bertram, the bank and Maple View in one trip"

Well dang, Will. Come on back soon then!

Mark, we definitely spend more in Carrboro then probably is healthy for a Chapel Hill Town Council candidate to admit to but thems the shakes...

We also spend a bit within Chapel Hill. We tend to double up on activities when we go to Wellspring or University Mall but Carrboro's walkability makes it one of the most convenient one-stop locales anywhere in the Triangle.

Will, you like Carrboro so much, you even put your campaign signs here. That's what I call canvassing.

Damon, I've found that the residents of Carrboro are quite interested in what goes on in Chapel Hill. They seem to understand that - good or bad -what happens in Chapel Hill doesn't always stay in Chapel Hill ;-)

I live in Chapel Hill but the Carrboro Teeter is the closest one to me, and I VERY much perfer it there than on Jones Ferry. I can't think of how that would be more convenient to anyone (except maybe folks in the apartments off the bypass) to have it on Jones Ferry and further from the center of town.

Tons and tons of people walk there every day and it's one of several anchors that makes downtown Carrboro a place where you don't need a car to live your life. If you don't find the parking adequate, go to Chapel Hill North or something, I'd rather walk.

Just to be clear, I'm a resident of Chapel Hill, but I'm just giving my opinion of things in the area in general. And anyway, the town you're in is Chapel Hill or Carrboro or whatever but where you live is on a continuim, i.e., maybe one person in CH lives 50 feet from Carrboro and another lives 5,000 feet from Carrboro, so technichally neither is in Carrboro but the happenings in Carrboro affect one a lot more than the other.

And yeah, what happens in Chapel Hill affects Carroboro too, and not only that but Hillsborough and Chatham County and Durham. By and large they're building that massive Briar Chapel think in northern Chatham because of growing UNC. People that work at UNC have to live somewhere and then once they live there they have to shop somewhere and be entertained somewhere, etc, etc.

Those apartments off the bypass are densely populated, unlike much of the area around Carr Mill. I don't know which of the two locations would be accessible to the largest number of walkers and it'd probably take some studying to figure out, although from the sound of things it's a moot point because HT at Carr Mill is staying put.

I drove past that area today...Barnes and Jones Ferry that is. If they don't put a HT there the should put something there, or else take down what is there and just put trees. Some of those buildings are either abandoned or else maintained so poorly they look abandoned. There is a fine line between rustic and blight and parts of that area looks like it crossed it about 10 years ago. I know that in more indivualistic-minded areas an ethic of "It's my land and I'll do anything I want with it" is in effect but around here where things are more community-minded maybe when property starts to look that bad there should be a way to do something about it.

The DTH today reports that the plans for this shopping center were scrapped last night.

Cam Hill speaking to Calvin Mellot's desire to move the gravel operation (which Carrboro apparently doesn't want) to property he owns on Eubanks.

"This is exactly where we get beat on the head because of what we do with this kind of stuff," Hill said. "Neither [Chapel Hill nor Carrboro] appears to be interested in the kind of facilities that Calvin's got, which I resent in a way."

Good for you Cam. Mellot's is a long-time business in this community. I can't believe Carrboro isn't trying to keep that business or that Chapel Hill would put up roadblocks for it.


The CDC members generally endorsed the concept plan for this project, saying that it was an appropriate use for this site which is, in essence, already an industrial park. Although the Northern Area Task Force Report recommends (not yet accepted by Council) that this area be developed as "Transit Oriented Village with high density residential and mixed use retail/office", the report also acknowledges that "At the corner of Millhouse and Eubanks there is an existing office and industrial center." This is the site on which Mr. Mellot proposes to put his yard materials operation. I believe that companies such as Mr. Mellot's that provide valuable services to the community should have a place in Chapel Hill and that we should work with such companies and their owners to allow them to integrate into both our existing and future development.

"The makeup of the task force is not an issue right now," he said.

"Well, it is with me," Mellott said. "We don't have a say in it. It seems to me that's losing a little bit of your democratic rights."

When you craft a process to produce a political end, this is the kind of problem we have. Why wasn't Mellot and other stakeholders involved in the process?

As far as GeorgeC and Cam's comments - where was that concern the last 4 years or even this summer?

I missed why it is he wants to leave Carrboro? Doesn't Carrboro need the money too? What's wrong with where he is now?

I have a hard time seeing hotels ritzy shoppes near the landfill/transfer station. On the other hand, a landfill/transfer station/garbage conglomerate with a gravel supply area nearby- no problem. I wonder if they still intend to put in the 50 (or so) low income units planned for the area. Is Chapel Hill planning a slum? It sure sounds like it. If they aren't, then they might want to take a serious look at what they are planning, because this is how it is done. All the undesireable stuff, nothing anyone wants (stores, parks, soccer fields, sidewalks, bike lanes, bus stops) and low income housing packed in as close as the law will allow.

Sticking everything no one wants near them in one area makes sense to everyone who lives in every other area, but given the history of the neighborhood, it hardly seems fair. All the things the rest of the people need to be shielded from for their tender sensibilities stuck in one area of town- a planners dream, a neighborhood nightmare. Then infilling with low income housing. Seems rather cynical. Of course, I have heard someone state that the purpose of the poor is to put up with what the rest of the people don't want. I just never thought it would be so blatantly done. And in an area that wants to appear progressive too.

I agree with Cam Hill that Chapel Hill should not be discouraging this business. Neither should Carrboro, if they have done so.

It seems that no one who has yet replied lives on Jones Ferry Road. Every day I see people walking up Jones Ferry Road with shopping bags from Harris Teeter. There are more people who live in this area, guaranteed, than live in the area immediate to to the Carr Mill Mall location. That was a great spot for an HT, and there would have been a lot of foot traffic. I suspect both HTs would stay open, with less congestion at both of them and less congestion in downtown Carrboro, which would be a blessing for all involved.

Carrboro is getting to be like NYC these days-- it's impossible to enjoy driving downtown to walk around, and you may spend 20 minutes going 3 blocks. I think it's a ridiculous situation and I was hoping this HT would help with that.


Community Guidelines

By using this site, you agree to our community guidelines. Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will result in moderation or eviction.


Content license

By contributing to OrangePolitics, you agree to license your contributions under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.