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Alabama Avenue’s close-knit neighborhood feel could be lost if a proposed Family Dollar store passes the town of Carrboro’s approval process.

On Thursday, Stronach Properties presented their initial concept plan to Carrboro’s Appearance Commission, Planning and Transportation Advisory boards.

Developers have yet to apply for a special use permit from the town of Carrboro, but the project has already caused controversy.

“Right off the bat we knew it would change the character of the neighborhood with a big chain store down the street,” said Alabama Avenue resident Claire Hermann.

Will Stronach, one of the developers, said the building would be approximately 8,000 square feet and would be built on a wooded plot at the opening of the street, near the intersection of Jones Ferry Road and N.C. Highway 54.

A small stream that flows through the property would be paved over upon construction of the building.

Ron Sutton, civil engineer designer for the project, said that a mitigation settlement with the town would make up for the loss of the stream.

But some residents disagree.

“Wetlands (like the plot) are good at managing runoff, and having this natural environment down the street is nice,” Hermann said. “Having it paved for a parking lot is upsetting.”

Sutton said the developers have designed an underground self-filtration system that would filtrate nitrogen, phosphorous and solid particle runoff.

This would ease concerns that the hard-top pavement would accelerate and pollute runoff.

“Everything we’re producing, we’re treating,” Sutton said.

But Alabama Avenue residents and people who live in the surrounding area have also cited environmental, traffic and safety issues as problems with the proposed development.

Hermann said the proposed site adds privacy to the neighborhood — but if it is cleared for construction, the area will lose that.

Catherine Adamson, another resident, also spoke of the importance of the wooded plot.

“It makes it possible to buffer the commercial activity and businesses on Jones Ferry,” Adamson said.

Crime is another issue neighbors raised at a previous meeting with the developers, Stronach said.

“The issue of crime was raised, which would be a concern to us as well,” Stronach said.

He said though residents worry the store could attract strangers to the area, developers don’t think it will cause more crime.

Shoppers using the Family Dollar would also increase traffic, said Alabama Avenue resident Rebecca Bennett.

“You put this store on my street, and people will be coming up and down the road,” Bennett said.

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“I won’t be able to let my two children play outside, and that concerns me.”

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