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Development: The Fresh Market: Clearing starts for grocery store as planners review design

By Roger Greene
Coastal Observer

Clearing began this week for a Fresh Market grocery store on Highway 17 in Pawleys Island. The 21,078-square-foot store and adjacent retail space were approved in 2008. Georgetown County planners received the design for the building on Wednesday.

The store is one of seven new stores the Greensboro, N.C., chain has under way. It opened its 100th store last month in Tampa, Fla.

“Once they got their stormwater permit, they were all clear” to start the site work, said Boyd Johnson, the county planning director. “Zoning has approved everything except the architecture.”

The building has to comply with design standards that apply to commercial projects in the Highway 17 corridor along Waccamaw Neck. Those cover the siding, windows, roof pitch and colors.

It should take about two weeks for the project to get a building permit, Johnson said.

The arrival of the grocery store is seen with a mix of caution and optimism by some neighbors in the Pawleys Place neighborhood, which is on the opposite side of Library Lane. The homeowners association just had its annual meeting and “nothing came up at all that was negative,” said Rick Westfall, the association president.

Most people he has talked to like the idea of being able to walk to the grocery store. “There are two concerns: early delivery and early trash pickup,” he said.

Deliveries will be made at the rear of the store, and residents raised concerns about the potential for noise and traffic before the plan was approved in 2008. The county Planning Commission required a 20-foot-wide landscaped buffer along Library Lane, twice what the store proposed.

John Hyll moved to Pawleys Place in August 2009. His back porch looks across at the Fresh Market site. Since the clearing began, he can now see cars on Highway 17. “We’re going to see brick and mortar” when the store is built, he said.

He was pleased to learn that there will be a buffer. He still has some concerns about delivery trucks, although the plan shows an access road for trucks within the 4.1-acre tract.

“You can’t stop progress,” Hyll said. He just hopes there are enough protections for the neighbors. And on the bright side, he added, “it’s not a super Walmart, they won’t be making deliveries all night long.”

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