VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Grocery stores aren’t hard to come by in the Hilltop area of Virginia Beach and soon there may be another. The problem is, not everyone wants that extra choice.
The supermarket squabble has been going on for months. ALDI wants to build a new grocery store, the city’s planning department approved it, but some residents are against it and two churches that use the building that currently sits on the land are caught in the middle.
Built in 1950, the Hilltop Community Church building sits along a busy stretch of road.
Medical offices, a school, a hospital and several grocery stores are nearby. All of which, neighbors say would be affected by plans to turn the church into an ALDI grocery store.
“There’s a lot of traffic as it is, especially during the school days and to have another supermarket to have a lot of people going in and out and the children are going in and out, no,” Maria Frazier said.
Frazier takes her grandchildren to Linkhorn Elementary every morning during the school year. She says the current traffic adds time to her commute.
“During that [time of] day it is very, very heavy and I have to be very, very careful because everybody’s going to work or going someplace,” Frazier said.
Marian Bius has lived in the area for three years. She also thinks a new grocery store would only add to the traffic. “Everything’s going to slow down; everything’s going to come to a screeching halt. The ins and outs of the parking lot are a concern to me.”
Meanwhile, Jilianne Simonic is concerned about how the potential additions to traffic will affect first responders. “I just think with extra traffic, it’s going to impact the time that people get from point A to point B, with point B being the hospital, and I don’t know how that’s going to impact somebody’s life,” she said.
According to the Virginia Beach Planning staff report, the request to rezone the three acres of land and redevelop it is not consistent with the Guidelines for the First Colonial Medical Corridor.
However that same report says staff believes because of the property’s location and its proximity to other retail uses – the request is appropriate.
Neighbors still think it’s a bad idea.
“I kind of like where I live and Hilltop is like up there and that’s fine and the closer it comes to my house I don’t like it. I don’t want commercial things just over the ridge right there. I’d prefer that they stay where they are,” Marian Bius said.
10 on your side has learned, the plans for this project have been put on hold for now.
Late Tuesday afternoon, 10 On Your Side received a statement from ALDI for our story:
ALDI is exploring and considering sites in the Virginia Beach area with the goal to open new store locations to serve the market and region, as rising demand for ALDI is fueling significant expansion across the country. ALDI wants to be conveniently based where shoppers are located, which means we take competition, population density, cost of the property and traffic patterns into consideration as we continuously evaluate potential new store locations. We are currently working with the Virginia Beach planning commission and are committed to developing a plan that will meet the needs of the community.
Krysta Cearley, ALDI Salisbury Division vice president