It’s pronounced Lee-dle.
Although the dozen or so attendees of last week’s meeting of the Atlantic Citizens Advisory Council had more questions than there was time available for the Lidl representatives, the proper pronunciation of this German chain was cleared up right off the bat.
As outgoing CAC co-chair Charity VanHorn noted, “In German, the I’s are pronounced like E’s.”
VanHorn may have had a little more difficulty with the pronunciation of the chain’s original German name, “Schwarz Lebensmittel-Sortimentsgroßhandlung.”
Rick Baker from Timmons Engineering, which drew up the site plans, was also quick to explain another issue: access off Wake Forest Road.
As reported in December, the first North Carolina location of this discount German grocery chain will be built at 4308 Wake Forest Road in an empty lot between McDonald’s and Red Lobster.
Baker said there will be only “right-in/right-out” access onto Wake Forest, with primary access on Ronald Drive. He also mentioned plans to install a new traffic signal on Ronald to improve access.
While Baker acknowledged that the area where the store will be built already suffers from heavy congestion, he said they have been working closely with the City of Raleigh and the North Carolina Department of Transportation to ensure the traffic impact from LIDL is minimized.
Due to the still-preliminary nature of the plans for this store, and the fact that LIDL currently has no U.S. locations — in addition to the Raleigh location, there are also plans to open one in Cary and in several locations throughout Virginia — many of the neighbors’ questions about the store were unanswerable.
Although asked several times about the nature of the store and the types of products it would cover, information neighbors said they were unable to find on the company’s website, Ron Weiman, an attorney for LIDL’s US division could only say this:
“We have not yet released the types of products we’ll be carrying. It’s going to be groceries; mostly private label, some common brands you’d see like at an Aldi or a Kroger; any other grocer, as well as other home goods.”
Weiman was also unable to say what kind of demographic they hoped to cater to, noting that they wanted to appeal to households of all income levels.
“The demographic is across the board; we’re not aiming for a higher or a lower demographic,” he explained.
When CAC co-chair VanHorn noted that there was a Food Lion across the street, an Aldi just down the way and a Wal-Mart just behind the proposed location, Weiman pointed out that it’s common for competing retailers to open up within eyesight of each other.
This, he said, could inspire people shopping at the Food Lion or at the Aldi who spot the Lidl to think, “Oh, I want to check that out.”
Also unavailable at this stage was a delivery schedule, although Weiman said they aim to have only one trip per day, instead of multiples like many stores have.
Bob Mulder, a local resident and former member of Raleigh’s Planning Commission, said he was looking forward to Lidl coming to the area.
“I think it’s great having another grocer, I think competition is healthy. If they didn’t go in here maybe some big nightclub would move in instead and that would cause us some major headaches,” Mulder said.
Mulder also said people were unlikely to notice any increase in traffic volume generated by the new store.
A Minor Rezoning
While the Lidl presentation was strictly informational, Atlantic CAC residents last week were presented with another development project, one on which they were asked to vote.
Rezoning case Z-8-16 would allow for a small parking lot expansion for Lane & Associates Family Dentistry on Wake Forest Road. Although the parcel in question was already rezoned to allow for a 12-15 space parking lot, there was a condition that prohibited access to New Hope Church Road. This rezoning will simply remove that condition.
In order to create better traffic flow in and out of the property, Lane is proposing to close the existing driveway and create a new access point on New Hope Church Road.
Landscape architect Tony Tate was on hand to answer questions from the neighbors, which included inquiries into a pedestrian path, tree cover for the lot and a time frame for closing the existing driveway.
Tate said per City regulations, the lot would have tree coverage, and there would also be trees planted in line with City streetscape requirements along the sidewalk. While some were concerned that a pedestrian path could lead to litter and trash problems, Tate said this hadn’t been much of a concern. Should trash accumulate on the path, Lane Dentistry will be responsible for cleaning it up.
Closing the existing driveway, while not a condition listed on the rezoning, was something they will be required to do by the City as a condition for approving the new site plan.
When the time came to vote on the project, CAC attendees came out 23-1 in favor of the rezoning. Although CAC votes are nonbinding, they do have an influence on the Planning Commission and the City Council. Should a developer choose to skip meeting with the CAC entirely, they would likely run into strong pushback from both Council and the Commission.