The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday May 31st

300 East Main St. development meets opposition from Carrboro

Ricardo Palao is tired of talking about 300 East Main St.

The Carrboro resident said he has been negotiating with developers of the large mixed-use project, which will be home to the town’s first hotel, for the past three years.

At Tuesday’s Carrboro Board of Aldermen meeting, Paolo voiced his concerns about the development to the board.

Palao said the development, which would include a 144-room Hampton Inn and a 6-story parking deck, would require a road widening that would impose on his property line and devalue his home.

He said the developer, Main Street Properties, has been slow to respond to his inquiries and fed him outdated information.
“We have met with them a number of times,” he said. “We expected clarity and a presentation of the issues to be negotiated.”
But he said his concerns were left unresolved.

Palao, who declined to comment further Wednesday, told the board that developer attempts to correct the encroachment issue have been “vague and not at all illuminating,” making it hard for the two parties to reach a decision.

Alderwoman Jacquelyn Gist said several other community members who own properties bordering the site of the development have come to her with similar issues.

“I think that staff members and the board need to bring this up seriously to the developers, who have been very cooperative and very much wanting to do things right so far,” she said.

Main Street Properties spokeswoman Laura Van Sant said she has been working with Palao for several years to address his concerns with the development’s proximity to his home.

“We have been trying to figure out the best way to integrate our project with (Palao’s) property and minimize the impact from the development,” she said.

Van Sant said that to appease Palao, developers are changing their original plans.

The new proposal would necessitate narrowing the original plans for the road and sidewalk by one foot each.

She said the change has gotten positive feedback from the town and development engineers.

Van Sant said Main Street Properties has also been working with other properties that adjoin the development to finalize other construction agreements.

“We’ve bent over backwards to be good neighbors,” she said.
“We know everyone has questions and concerns and, because it’s a big project, it’s going to affect people in the immediate area, but we’ve tried our best to address their concerns.”

Gist said the board will hear a report about the issue from town staff Tuesday.

“As it stands now, I have full faith that Main Street Properties will make this right,” she said.

“It’s too important for them to allow it to get caught up in an issue like this.”

Despite recent property conflicts between residents and the developer, Gist said she thinks the development will eventually spur economic growth in Carrboro.

“It will bring business to our small businesses that could really use that shot in the arm, and a big boom to our nonresidential tax base.”

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