A Raleigh builder who wants to develop about 40 townhomes near Green Hope High School plans to submit conditions to the town that he hopes will make the project more desirable to the council and the project’s neighbors.
Tom Beebe of CalAtlantic Homes is seeking to build the townhomes on about eight acres on the east side of Carpenter Upchurch Road, just south of the high school.
The council tabled this rezoning case at its Oct. 26 meeting when council members and residents expressed concerns about the development worsening traffic in the area. On Thursday, Nov. 11, the council unanimously voted to table the case again to the Dec. 8 meeting to give the applicant more time to submit conditions that will give them a better idea of how the project would look and feel.
“When we last left this item, I had a lot of questions about, as I looked this over, about what was guaranteed and what was not,” Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said. “To approve it, I need more guarantees.”
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Jason Barron, the attorney for the project, said they were not able to formally submit conditions in time for the meeting because of “time constraints with how the town receives conditions associated with the zoning” but planned to do so in time for the next meeting.
He presented a few conditions to be submitted, including one that would guarantee an architectural look similar to the nearby Collins Grove subdivision and one that would limit the number of units in a single building in an “attempt to ensure there’s not vast expanses of six-unit townhomes.” Another condition would provide a pedestrian connection to the Cary Tennis Park, which is adjacent to the high school.
“The best protection you can have in business is not a contract but rather to do business with people you can trust,” Beebe said. “I hope over the past years you as a council have learned that you can trust me and CalAtlantic Homes. ... I’ve always tried to do a good and honest job – quality developments and homes – ones that I could be proud of.”
While the builder seemed open to adding more conditions to guarantee the project’s aesthetic, some concerns were still raised about the project’s impact on Carpenter Upchurch Road and Green Hope High School.
Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson said she is concerned about the entrance to the development being so close to the “choke point” of traffic for the high school.
“That’s really what complicates this site is that where the driveway has to go is so close to where it’s the very worst with traffic, and not just in the morning and the afternoon but at lunchtime,” she said.
But councilman Don Frantz said he doesn’t believe the project would impact traffic so severely, because peak traffic times for the homes would be different than for the school.
“I actually kind of like medium-density, or even high density adjacent to schools,” he said, adding that it would provide different housing options and gives students living there the opportunity to walk to school.
Robinson said she also is interested in having adequate parking and “some kind of active community space that’s meaningful, that gives people a place to congregate and establishes a sense of community there, so it isn’t just a bunch of houses stuck together.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily a project beyond hope, so I’d be very interested in seeing what they come back with,” she said.
The council approved the comprehensive plan amendment and rezoning of about 15 acres near 844 East Chatham St., west of WakeMed Soccer Park, to allow for multi-family housing.
“I’m excited about this,” Frantz said. “So much of our work and efforts in downtown are really starting to bear fruit from the private sector here. ... I think this whole area of town here in the near future is getting ready to go nuts.”
The council also:
▪ Authorized the town manager to enter into an agreement with Cofounders Capital Management LLC to obtain consultant services to facilitate the growth and support for new business entities and support economic development in downtown Cary in exchange for the shared use of the third floor in The Cary theater for an additional year.
▪ Referred the Cary Community Plan to the town’s planning and zoning board with plans to hold a council work session in the coming weeks to review the comprehensive transportation plan that is part of the town’s 25-year vision.
▪ Approved the Eastern Cary Gateway Special Planning Area, which covers about 800 acres bordered by Chapel Hill Road to the north, Interstate 40 to the east, Cary Towne Center to the south and Maynard Road to the west. The council decided to amend language in the plan that encourages development five to 15 stories in this area with the flexibility to have some three- to four-story structures.
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608: @KTrogdon
Hometown Spirit Award Winner
Sheila Ogle was named Cary’s 2016 Hometown Spirit Award. The award recognizes community-minded residents who enhance the quality of life in Cary by preserving, promoting and carrying out positive small town community values and traits.
Ogle is the founding member of many community organizations, including the Cary Community Foundation and Women’s Giving Networks, according to the town. She is the operator of the Matthews House and was the first woman to be inducted into the UNC Advertising Hall of Fame.