Residents Protest Proposed Walgreens - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/20/06

Residents Protest Proposed Walgreens

How would you like it if a company planned to open a new store right in the middle of your neighborhood? That's what's going on in Hinesville. Walgreens wants to build a new pharmacy where people live and it has many up in arms.

Opponents say not only will the new building create traffic headaches, they say it takes out an older well-kept neighborhood when other land is available.

The signs in Perry Neely's neighborhood catch your attention, and they're meant to. He and others are upset over a plan to build a 24-hour drug store across the street.

"We would be looking at the back right corner of a Walgreens, right here closer than that home," he said. "The building would be closer to us than that home all the way over to the road."

A developer has asked the city-county planning commission to rezone nearly half the neighborhood, the ten homes they want to buy to make room for the store.

Under the proposal, a section of Timberlane Circle would not exist where it meets US 84 in front of Flash Foods. All the traffic would instead be sent out at the traffic light for 84 and General Screven Way. That's already one of Hinesville's busiest intersections.

Police reports for nine months show wrecks happen there at an average of one every eight days. Neely and others say that would only get worse.

"Right now, the neighborhood is very quiet," said homeowner Bill Mason. "The only traffic is the neighbors and we have 25 kids that play in the yards, even in the streets."

Even though the developer has asked the planning commission to table the proposal for the past two months, Neely says they'll fight as long as it takes to keep their neighborhood just the way it is.

The planning commission staff has recommended against rezoning the area. The board could vote as early as April 18. The city council would make the final--and binding--decision after that.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com

Powered by Frankly