RALEIGH — The apartment building rush around Cameron Village could be nearing its peak; developers scaled back the latest project there in part because of neighbors’ traffic concerns.
Raleigh real-estate broker Jim Anthony wants to tear down a vacant one-story office building at 616 Oberlin Road and replace it with 250 apartments wrapped around a parking deck. The City Council’s comprehensive planning committee expressed tentative approval for the downsized plan Wednesday. They’ll take a formal vote Thursday before the entire council takes up the project next month.
“In order for our city to be ready for transit, we need to encourage density in mixed-use areas in walkable locations,” Councilman Bonner Gaylord said.
The communities surrounding Cameron Village are about to get more than 1,000 new neighbors, prompting longtime residents to wonder what Oberlin Road will look like when the newcomers join rush hour.
A portion of Clark Avenue is closed this month as Crescent Resources nears the finish line on a project that includes 282 apartments and 16,000 square feet of retail space. Construction is set to wrap up this summer. Across the street, the similar 401 Oberlin development will add 250 apartments plus street-level shops.
Mack Paul, an attorney for Anthony’s development firm, presented updated plans for 616 Oberlin on Wednesday. The apartment complex will drop from 275 to 250 units, with four stories instead of five at the Oberlin Road street front. Anthony won’t develop a second lot that faces Daniels Street, a two-lane residential street that already doubles as a shortcut from Wade Avenue to Cameron Village.
Neighbors have safety concerns about hundreds of new residents using their street, and they’ve asked for more sidewalks and bike lanes there. Developers agreed to a comprehensive traffic study taking into account the apartments under construction.
Even with the concessions, many neighborhood residents were still opposed to the project. They pointed out that the residential density far exceeds the city’s comprehensive plan guidelines for the north end of Cameron Village.
“If we’re serious about responsible growth in this city, Raleigh deserves better than this,” said Banks Talley, president of the Cameron Village Neighborhood Association.
The owners of the Cameron Village shopping center, however, said they support the growth; another neighbor said he’d rather have apartments than an office building, which could generate more traffic.