A group of Wild Wing community residents failed Thursday night to block additional parking or change the entrance for a proposed ALDI grocery story slated for construction near their neighborhood.
More than 50 residents packed the Conway Zoning Board of Appeals meeting to voice their opposition to ALDI’s plans to build the store entrance on Wild Wing Boulevard, which they say will add even more traffic to an already congested area.
“We’re not against ALDI’s, we just don’t want the entrance on Wild Wing Boulevard, where there are thousands of people going into and out of every day,” said resident Barbara Eisenhardt.
Eisenhardt and other residents held signs during the meeting that demanded ALDI stay off their street, and argued that more cars will lead to traffic accidents, and make it even more difficult to move beyond the entrance-way traffic light onto U.S. 501 during rush hour.
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“It’s already become congested and dangerous,” said resident Barry Dykes. “It was always intended to be a residential road.”
The residents also disputed whether they were given proper notice about zoning and variance changes, which they contend should have been delivered through certified mailings.
“You had notice, you are present, you are here,” countered board member Byron David.
It’s already become congested and dangerous.
Wild Wings area resident Barry Dykes
However, the decision facing the zoning board was whether parking should be increased from 66 spaces, and board members voted unanimously to increase that number to 84 spaces.
The audience groaned when plans were further explained that one of two lanes leading onto Wild Wing Boulevard from 501 will be switched from a merging lane, to a left-hand turn lane into the parking lot.
Board Chairman Alex Hyman said the panel’s jurisdiction was limited to the parking lot, and not the surrounding roads.
“Wild Wing is a lot different now than it was ever supposed to be,” Hyman conceded. “The entrance was not designed for that many houses back there, but we have zero control. I’m sorry you all are upset, but this is not the place.”
Resident Ellison Smith was not pleased with the outcome, but said it was what he expected.
Eisenhardt says it was only their first step to block the traffic route, and that she planned to bring the group back to the Conway City Council’s next meeting, with voter registration cards.
“We need to remind them we can vote them out of office as easily as we can vote them into office,” Eisenhardt said.