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Charlotte zoning committee backs controversial Dilworth Walgreens

DILWORTH — Lincoln Harris’ proposed Walgreens at Kenilworth Avenue and East Moorehead Street moved one step closer to completion Wednesday night when the city of Charlotte’s zoning committee threw unanimous support behind the project.

Apartments stand on the site where Lincoln Harris wants to build a controversial Walgreens in Dilworth. Mecklenburg Times file photo

The controversial project’s fate is now in the hands of the City Council, which is expected to vote on it Nov. 12.

Charlotte-based Lincoln Harris, the developer, has faced opposition from some Dilworth residents, who said they worry about the project giving off too much light and increasing traffic in their neighborhood.

But John Fryday, one of the leaders of the opposition, said Thursday morning that continuing to fight the project might be pointless.

“We fought very hard to provide the zoning committee with information and our views on the plans that were in place,” he said. “But, for the most part, the committee looked for ways to approve the project rather than respond to our requests.”

Fryday said Dilworth residents stopped negotiating with Lincoln Harris after an Oct. 3 zoning committee meeting.

“They passed a motion that asked us to talk about the lighting, the pedestrian safety issues with the drive-through, and they asked that the zoning request be changed from retail to a drug store, which the petitioner (Lincoln Harris) had already agreed to in front of them,” he said. “We had nothing left to talk about.”

Walter Fields, owner of Charlotte-based The Walter Fields Group, which is representing Lincoln Harris as it pursues the Walgreens project, said Thursday that he was surprised that Dilworth residents decided to quit meeting with the developer.

“If they really thought in the back of their minds they didn’t want to meet with us they should’ve told the zoning committee up front. But we went ahead and did the research and made the changes to the plan.”

Fields said Lincoln Harris last week changed its rezoning request to specifically state that the project would be a pharmacy. He said Lincoln Harris has also commissioned a traffic study, which showed that the drive-through window would be as far away from pedestrian traffic as possible, and increased the amount of landscaping planned for the rear of the property to block vehicle lights.

Fryday said he didn’t expect Dilworth residents to stage a big protest at the Nov. 12 council meeting.

“What would be the point?” he said.

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