The excitement that had been apparent at the Rise ‘n Shine Farms event Thursday afternoon seemed to be shared by the audience and commission members at the Charlotte Planning Commission meeting that evening.
Owner Peter Carreiro came directly to the meeting from the June 20 kickoff event for the farm stand that he wants to develop on the almost 3-acre lot at the southwest corner of Route 7 and Church Hill Road.
Carreiro shared much of the same information with the planning commission that he had shared with visitors earlier in the day at the site of his planned Rise ‘n Shine Farms.
Carreiro emphasized his plans to “undevelop” the property and make his project environmentally friendly by tearing up asphalt and planting grass, installing rooftop solar panels, keeping the same footprint and renovating the existing buildings and selling agricultural, primarily local products.
The planning commission was interested to hear that there will be no customer access to the business from Route 7. Vehicles will enter and exit from the Church Hill Road side of the property. Gated access for emergency vehicles from Route 7 will remain, but for normal traffic or deliveries, this access will be closed. Access to the property from Route 7 was a matter of much conversation and controversy when a Maplefields convenience store and gas station was previously proposed for the property.
Carreiro said the response from local farmers who would like to have their products sold at Rise ‘n Shine Farms has been positive with at least 17 already expressing interest.
Deliveries by large trucks will be made behind the property on Root Road where he already owns and operates Rise ‘n Shine as a milk delivery business, Carreiro said.
“We plan on using the existing septic that’s there right now,” he said. “We have six toilets with three 1,000-gallon tanks.”
“I wanted to thank you for creating a private project on property that’s been controversial in this town before,” audience member Bill Stuono said. “I think the entire town can get behind this project.”
In response to a suggestion from Stuono about having a farmers market on the site, Carreiro said he would definitely be open to that. And he said he will have ample parking, considering is it a large lot and he also owns the property behind it on Root Road.
“I want to go on record as someone who’s been here a long time and thinks this is a great idea,” said Terry Silva, who was in the audience. “I think fresh produce is a good idea and his creemees are very, very delicious.”
Gary Farnsworth said that it is apparent that Carreiro has been a big supporter of that property and he listened to former owner Helena Spear.
“More importantly,” Farnsworth said, “she gave a thumbs up to his creemees.”
The planning commission voted to close the sketch plan hearing and they have 45 days to issue a recommendation about the plan, although chair Peter Joslin said they will try to do this as soon as they can to expedite the process. Carreiro is hoping to open Rise ‘n Shine Farms by late summer.