Council votes down Brier Creek Firestone

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Brier Creek residents prevailed Tuesday in their fight to halt construction of a Firestone Complete Auto Care on the outskirts of their North Raleigh neighborhood.

The Raleigh City Council voted 6-1 against granting a development permit to Firestone for the 7,575 foot building, which would have been located on a 1.5 acre site at the intersection of T.W. Alexander and Sporting Club drives less than 400 feet from residential homes.

The decision was welcome news to the dozens of Brier Creek residents who attended the meeting, holding signs that read, “No Firestone in Brier Creek.”

“Obviously, we’re happy. It just does not fit with the neighborhood,” said resident Bill McGivern.

Homeowners contested that the developer of Brier Creek had promised them that sites surrounding the planned community would remain undeveloped green spaces.

“When we purchased, we were told it would be a green area. I spent money knowing it wouldn’t be built upon,” said resident John Colangelo.

Developer plans, however, weren’t the basis for the Council’s decision. Instead, members agreed with Mayor Charles Meeker that Firestone’s plan did not comply with some of the city’s standards for site development. Among the things that Meeker took issue with were the noisiness of the proposed car care center, the scale of the building, and the placement of the retaining wall.

The only Council member who did not agree with the mayor was District E Councilor Philip Isley.

“I disagree with the mayor’s comments. I think the site plan requirements have been met,” Isley said.

It’s unclear at this point whether Firestone officials will challenge the decision. That possibility concerned Councilor Rodger Koopman (District B).

“People have mentioned that if we deny the approval of this, we’ll almost certainly go to court,” Koopman said during the meeting.

The city now must figure out if the site will be used for something else. Brier Creek residents expressed a desire for it to become a park.

“How should we be looking at this property going forward? Is it something the city has an interest in?” asked Russ Stephenson.

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