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The Daily Tar Heel

Morning Star Plans OK'd

The developer, Morning Star Group, was given approval by the aldermen for a Conditional Use Permit to build a self-storage facility at the Jones Ferry Road intersection of N.C. 54, on the west side of Carrboro.

"Conditional Use Permits are for projects that are considered to have the most impact on the surrounding properties," said Chris Murphy, development review administrator for Carrboro.

At Tuesday's hearing, Carrboro residents living near the site voiced their concerns about the buffer area between their homes and the facility.

"I'm really concerned that no matter how hard I work, I will be looking at a barbwire fence," said Ben Salemi, whose house on Gary Road borders the building site.

But the aldermen also had concerns they wanted addressed.

The potential effect on residents' property values prompted aldermen Joal Broun and Jacquelyn Gist to cast dissenting votes.

"I'm not convinced that placing a storage facility of this size in this area will not diminish property values," Broun said.

But several residents said they are pleased by the positive attitude of the Morning Star Group's representatives and the effect of the facility on the area.

"Morning Star has, to my mind, bent over backwards to accommodate us," said David Collins of Keith Road. "Not only does (the project) increase our tax base, but it does it without making excessive demands on public services."

Civil engineer David Blevins of Development Engineering Inc. in Raleigh, the consultancy firm representing Morning Star Group, said he agrees that the development option is the best of both worlds for the area.

"For a lot of the uses for the land that are available here, this will have a minimal impact on the surrounding area," Blevins said, "unless the city wanted to buy it and make it into a park, which it seems most of the neighbors would want."

The hearing was extended from Oct. 24 so the board could give the applicants more time to address concerns of both the residents and the aldermen.

"Typically, it's the practice, when there is a concern in the board or when there is some concern from the public, not to make the decision that night," Murphy said.

"They want to take time to make sure that they are making an informed decision."

The Appearance Commission Advisory Board and the Carrboro Planning Department also endorsed the passage of the application and cited the cooperation of the Morning Star Group.

"I think (the applicants) have done a pretty good job of addressing the concerns that were raised at the Oct. 24 meeting," Murphy said.

Blevins said he was optimistic prior to the meeting, believing Morning Star's efforts had answered most of the concerns about the project.

"Since the last Board of Aldermen meeting, we have reduced the scale of the project and held two neighborhood meetings," Blevins said. "We've tried to show everybody in town that Morning Star has tried to build something that would be a good neighbor to these people."

But Blevins said there are more steps between approval and construction.

"We will get a letter from the town with the changes in the conditions and then we will be able to apply for grants," he said.

"I can't imagine that we will be touching the ground before the first of the year."

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