Neighbors fight Glenwood Avenue used car lot

ccampbell@newsobserver.comFebruary 24, 2014 

— Neighbors are rallying against a proposed used car lot on Glenwood Avenue just west of Crabtree Valley Mall, saying they don’t want their stretch of the busy road to look like Capital Boulevard.

The Raleigh Planning Commission voted this month to approve the controversial Enterprise Car Sales on the former site of Ragazzi’s and Golden Corral at the corner of Glenwood and Rembert Drive. The approval came despite complaints from a dozen or so neighbors who fear the dealership could pose traffic and safety problems for the quiet neighborhood behind the site.

“These cars will have to be test-driven,” said Bob Ramseur, who lives on Rembert Drive. “That’ll increase the traffic flow by my house. They’ll go around the block to test the car. It’s certainly not compatible with anything in our neighborhood.”

But developers working on the car dealership say the business should create one-tenth the traffic of its predecessor, a busy Italian restaurant. “The amount of customer traffic on the site is pretty light compared to even one of our rental operations,” said Geoff Durboraw, a manager with Enterprise Holdings.

Durboraw also said he’s offered to work with neighbors on an agreement outlining where employees will direct test drives.

But some in the neighborhood said traffic isn’t the only worry, and they’re asking the Raleigh City Council to intervene after the planning commission’s approval.

Because the Enterprise site has an existing parking lot, the property doesn’t have to follow the stormwater runoff rules that would face a new development. Several people whose yards border the property say they’ve experienced flooding thanks to their proximity to the parking lot.

The neighbors said they’d rather see a business that neighbors can enjoy. “I would love to see this lot developed in a way that would have a positive impact on the community, such as a nice restaurant, boutique-type shop, or small specialty grocery store,” Allison Wilkinson wrote to the city council.

The city council could be the next venue for the debate. Neighboring property owners have 20 days to appeal the planning commission’s approval, which would prompt a courtroom-like evidentiary hearing before the council, which could overturn the approval.

So far, the planning department has not received an appeal, but council members are already getting an earful via email.

Campbell: 919-829-4802; Twitter: @RaleighReporter

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