Walmart market at Cherry Road, Dorchester Street gets Rock Hill’s OK

adouglas@heraldonline.comDecember 3, 2013 

— One of three plans for Walmart neighborhood market stores in Rock Hill got the go-ahead vote from a city panel Tuesday night.

Wal-Mart’s neighborhood markets focus primarily on grocery sales and include some hardware and pet products as well as a pharmacy. The stores are about 42,000 square feet – about one-quarter the size of Walmart supercenters.

The site plan approved Tuesday allows Wal-Mart to build at the corner of Cherry Road and Dorchester Street. The development will take over the current site of a car wash, a fireworks store and the Kickin’ Pig restaurant.

Wal-Mart plans to include a drive-thru pharmacy and a gas station at the location.

Rock Hill Planning Commission members approved only the company’s site plan Tuesday; no rezoning of land was needed because the city already allows commercial development at the site.

The plan does not need approval from Rock Hill’s City Council.

Tuesday’s approval is contingent on city officials granting Wal-Mart an exception to city development rules. That variance would permit all store parking spaces to front Cherry Road, in front of the neighborhood market.

No nearby residents spoke against the Cherry Road store. But one woman – who lives close to another site that Wal-Mart hopes to develop – raised a concern.

Kristen Kull asked how increased pavement at the Walmart store will affect stormwater drainage. She lives near Ebinport and Celanese roads, where Wal-Mart has plans for another neighborhood market.

To ensure the pavement at the Cherry Road Walmart does not negatively impact stormwater drainage, construction plans call for parking lot infrastructure and pipes that will channel runoff water to a retention pond behind the store, said Jeffrey Hodgkinson with Wolverton and Associates.

His company is overseeing the engineering for the Cherry Road store and is associated with Wal-Mart development plans for Celanese Road and a third neighborhood market on S.C. 5, near Northwestern High School.

The new development will not impact a stream that runs behind Walmart’s site, Hodgkinson said, because the company intends to leave that space undeveloped.

And, he said, that stream creates a natural buffer between the neighborhood market and several homes close to the development.

The Catawba Terrace neighborhood is behind Walmart’s site, off Dorchester Street.

Walmart intends to pay for road improvements to nearby Neal Street, which will serve as an access road to the store. Dorchester Street will accommodate two entry and exit points to the development, according to site plans.

Customers will not be able to access Walmart directly from Cherry Road.

The Cherry Road Walmart market plan is the first of three to gain approval.

Wal-Mart also has plans to build a third supercenter in Rock Hill, at the southwest corner of Mount Holly Road, Albright Road and Saluda Street.

Officials are expected to vote Jan. 7 on Wal-Mart’s plans at the corner of Ebinport and Celanese roads.

There, the company wants city officials to sign off on rezoning much of about 14 acres from residential property to commercial property. Kull and many of her neighbors in the Swan Meadows subdivision have staunchly opposed that plan, saying it will decrease their property values and create traffic and safety problems in the area.

Glen Wilkins, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said Tuesday that the company is striving to make revisions to the Celanese Road store’s site plan to ease neighbors’ concerns.

Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

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