He said then that the property, owned by Oates Partnership, was under contract to be purchased.
Earlier this month, attorney Lee Van Metre told the council that the project would be a home improvement center that would include space for retail sales, a lumber yard and warehouse.
Van Metre said the project would be consistent with the use of surrounding properties, the city's comprehensive plan and light industrial zone.
The council voted the new zoning ordinance through without discussion Thursday night.
Afterward, Mayor Earnest L. Sparks said he was inviting residents to come up and speak "out of courtesy," since the ordinance had already passed.
Ron Porterfield, of 2009 Old Arden Road, said residents' "wish list" includes a buffer zone to protect the street, the replanting of some trees taken during construction, a fence around the property and to be able to walk into their front yards without having lights shine in their eyes.
To deal with potential traffic problems, Porterfield asked the council to take over Old Arden Road from the state and close it to through traffic, as Shepherdstown, W.Va., did with four of its roads.
He said the new zoning ordinance means the entrance to his home is now surrounded on three sides with light industrial land.
It's been a nice place to live for the past 20 years, said Porterfield, who said he thinks a wooded buffer zone and the other requested concessions could keep it that way.
Troy Heck, of 2008 Old Arden Road, suggested the council zone half of the land residential and half light industrial.
That would be the domain of the planning commission, Sparks said.
All the issues residents mentioned will be up to the planning commission to resolve once it gets the project's site plan, Van Metre said.
Van Metre said he couldn't say who the buyer was because no site plan had been filed. He said the site plan is expected to be filed in time for the Jan. 7 meeting of the planning commission.