Aldi is coming to Garner

kjahner@newsobserver.comDecember 11, 2013 

— The Town Council adopted a slight zoning change and approved a conditional use permit -- actions that pave the way for a new Aldi grocery store at Aversboro Road and Timber Drive -- at their regular meeting last week.

The planned building on the northeast corner of the intersection just east of the CVS will offer a discount grocery store that council said residents have long requested.

“Probably more citizens have asked us about that than anything other than the Red Route and the library,” Councilman Buck Kennedy said.

Todd Bonnett, regional real estate director for Aldi, attended the meeting and said Aldi had for years sought a location in Garner but until now hadn’t found the right site. The average Aldi, he said, offers 1,200 items, low for a grocery store. About half of those are the most popular items -- in the most popular size -- sold in grocery stores nationwide. The other half, though, consists of specialty items harder to find.

“We try to differentiate by high quality but low prices on traditional grocery items you typically buy,” Bonnett said.

The public hearing leading up to the approvals and rezoning did include some resident discontent. Sharon Owens complained about the food trucks backing into Lowe’s food at 5:30 a.m. and feared more of the same. Councilman Gra Singleton noted that Aldi will operate different hours, opening from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., eliminating the need for such early deliveries. He also said the town had gotten Aldi to change plans so that the loading dock wouldn’t be parallel to Don Miller Drive, which is a residential street.

Christine Williams, who lives on Munnsee Court, said traffic would become untenable and that carts would litter the neighborhood.

“We need a discount store, but this is not a good location,” Williams said. “It’s going to trash up my neighborhood.”

Bonnett said Aldi’s quarter-deposit, cart-lock system and the design of the parking lot will effectively keep carts at the store, and Singleton called the cart problem one specific to the Forest Hills Food Lion, and no other local grocery stores. Town Planning Director Brad Bass said an NCDOT study figured only minor traffic additions will come to an intersection well within acceptable traffic levels.

Some slight changes to the intersection to account for traffic will also include adjustment to the signals, creating protected lefts onto Timber from Aversboro in both directions. The town has agitated for that change as well as adjusting the timing of that signal for years, Singleton said.

Jahner: 919-829-4822; Twitter: @garnercleveland

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