About 30 members of the Brier Creek community turned up at the Raleigh City Council’s Sept. 1 meeting to protest the proposed construction of a Firestone Auto on the outskirts of their neighborhood.
“In summary, I feel we have a fundamentally flawed planning situation,” said David Haeussler, who spoke to council on behalf of the Brier Creek homeowners.
Plans call for locating the 7,575 foot building on a 1.5 acre site at the intersection of T.W. Alexander and Sporting Club Drives, less than 400 feet from residential homes.
Haeussler presented a host of concerns he said were shared by more than 200 Brier Creek residents, including the appearance of the structure and the loud noise and increased traffic it could bring to the planned community.
“You’d be hardpressed to find someone to say putting a Firestone at the back of a neighborhood is a good development plan,” Haeussler said. Instead, he said, neighbors would like to see the site become a park, which is the targeted use under the city’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan.
“Brier Creek residents believe there are other uses that are more acceptable,” said John Voltiss, representing the legislative action committee of the homeowners association.
But when representatives from Firestone stood up to present their case to council, they argued the auto shop is a perfectly appropriate use for the site — a belief also shared by Joe Dye, the executive vice president of Brier Creek’s master developer American Asset Corporation.
“Brier Creek was conceived as a mixed-use community,” with both residential and commercial structures, Dye argued before council.
Firestone officials have taken great care to ensure the building fits into the surrounding community, even making a number of changes to the site plan over the past 14 months based on neighbors’ concerns, said Eric Braun, an attorney from K&L Gates representing the Firestone developers. To reduce potential noise, Braun said, Firestone planners reoriented the offices closer to the residential area and placed the auto shop further away, and limited Sunday operating hours. They also dedicated 2.9 acres of greenway trails on the site.
“Adverse impacts were taken into consideration,” assured Don Curry, an engineer with Scotts Engineering. To minimize the Firestone’s impact, landscaping on the site will exceed code requirements by 47 percent, Curry said. An 8.5 foot retaining wall will also be built to help conceal the 24-foot structure.
“We’ve addressed many of their concerns, and will continue to do so as the project moves forward,” Dye said.
Brier Creek residents, however, are hoping it doesn’t. They asked council to deny Firestone’s request to develop the site.
Council members refrained from sharing their opinions, but are accepting written comments through Sept. 10. The matter will go before council again on Sept. 15, at which time the board will likely make a decision.