Maggie Valley could get new grocery store

By Jessi Stone, Assistant editor | Sep 03, 2014

Maggie Valley could be getting a new grocery store right in town if a site selection company out of Alabama is approved for a variance.

While one new building doesn’t sound like a big deal, Town Manager Nathan Clark said, if approved, it would be the first new construction in the heart of Maggie Valley since the mid-90s when the Micro Hotel was built.

At an agenda-setting meeting Wednesday, Clark told the Board of Aldermen that Dollar General was looking to build a grocery store at 2629 Soco Road — right across the street from Smoky Falls Lodge and adjacent to Eagle Nest.

Clark said this project also would be the first construction to have to adhere to the newer town design standards passed in 2001. He added that the company has submitted building plans meeting the current standards with the exception of the roof.

The company has requested a variance to be able to have a flat roof, which is against the town’s standards, because of the size of the building. The variance request will be on the agenda at the next planning and zoning board meeting, which was rescheduled as 5:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at Town Hall.

Maggie already has a Dollar General Store at the intersection of Soco Road and Jonathan Creek Road, but this new store would only be a Dollar General Market — a grocery store similar to the one located in between Candler and Canton on Smoky Park Highway. The business would fill a long-identified need in the community where residents now purchase groceries at convenience stores in the community or travel to nearby Canton or Waynesville to find a full-service grocery store.

Alderman Mike Eveland said new construction in the town was a good sign.

Alderman Saralyn Price said the town was definitely in need of a grocery store.

Master planning

In other business, the town is expected to receive requests for qualifications from consulting firms to create a Town Center Master Plan. RFQs are due back to the town by Sept. 9 and then a review process will begin to select the best firm/proposal for this project.

According to the RFQ document, the town is looking to partner with a firm that has significant experience with downtown development and redevelopment plans.

“It is intended that the Town Center Master Plan will focus on development, redevelopment, plus enhancement of a Town Center and include implementation tools to help create a business-friendly environment which increases the likelihood of economic development and job creation.”

Clark said he hoped the board would take official action and vote on a contractual agreement with the selected firm in October.

“In the unlikely event the board doesn’t like any of the proposals or has second thoughts about pursing the downtown master plan at this time we can walk away from the process until a better time presents itself,” he said.

During the budget process, the board allocated $25,000 to spend on a master plan.

Before beginning the budget process this year, the board established some budget values and goals for 2014-15 and creating a downtown was on the list of goals. While Maggie Valley lacks a traditional downtown or Main Street like other municipalities in Haywood, the town wants to work toward creating a downtown feel and a sense of place by creating better public open spaces and improving the town’s appearance.

“This is an exciting project that I feel is a long time in the making that will make an impactful difference in our town,” Clark said.

Personnel study

Clark also told the board to prepare for a workshop to listen to a presentation regarding the personnel and pay classification study the board also commissioned during the budget process.

The study, which the board approved up to $4,000 for, is to see how Maggie compares in pay and personnel compared to similar towns in North Carolina. Clark said for the board to plan on having a three-hour workshop at 9 a.m. Sept. 25 at town hall to go over the findings of the study.

The last study was done in 2006, and Clark said the town needed a new one considering all the changes in the local, state and federal economy since that time.  “It’s up to the board how they want to proceed after hearing the recommendations for pay classifications and personnel policies,” he said.

The study analyzed Maggie employees’ pay and benefits against other towns similar to Maggie in population and demographics.