Colorful plan toned down

Tweaks to Cary townhouses include ditching pastels

Staff WriterDecember 16, 2006 

— Scrap the rainbow-colored townhouses. This town with a reputation for beige will start redeveloping downtown in earth tones.

The Cary Town Council approved plans for 80 downtown townhouses this week after the developer, Beazer Homes, abandoned a proposal that, among other things, would paint them pastel blue, aqua and yellow.

But don't interpret that as a sign of suburban mildness, council members say. They say they made Beazer revamp plans for townhouses off West Chatham Street because they wanted the houses to have more brick, boast more architectural details and be surrounded by more public space.

"People pick on Cary because we like earth tones and beiges rather than flashy stuff," said Councilman Nels Roseland. "Was [the townhouses' rainbow color scheme] a concern? Yes. Would I have voted against it because of its color scheme? No."

There are no rules requiring homes to be beige in Cary. In fact, council members let Beazer Homes build pastel-colored townhouses near Research Triangle Park a few years ago.

Matthew Danielson, a Beazer land-acquisition manager, said these "vibrant" homes in the Cary Park subdivision have won praise and awards.

None came from anybody Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson knows.

"There aren't a lot of people running around saying, 'Wow, the Cary Park townhomes, really, they're awesome,' " she said last month while leading a charge to delay approval for the plans. "People are kind of looking at them and saying, 'You know, I'm not so sure about those.' "

Robinson said Beazer won her over this week by adding brick, bay windows, dormers and other features to the downtown townhouse plan and expanding park space in the proposed subdivision. The company's decision to scrap bright colors and go with muted earth tones was "a little factor" in the council's decision to approve Beazer's plans, she said, but not a crucial one.

If color had been the only problem, she said, "we probably wouldn't have denied it."

Instead, she said, they would have encouraged Beazer to rethink its color choices.

Staff writer Toby Coleman can be reached at 829-8937 or toby.coleman@newsobserver.com.

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