About 300 new homes could be built on the north side of Morrisville Carpenter Road between Louis Stephens and Davis drives – property known as the Ferrell Farm – if the Cary Town Council approves changes to area plans.
David Ferrell, who lives on the farm and whose family has owned the property for more than 100 years, is requesting a comprehensive plan amendment and rezoning to allow Ashton Woods Homes of Raleigh to develop 158 single family homes and 140 townhomes on about 80 acres of agricultural land.
The Ferrell Farm House, one of several historic structures in the area, will be relocated along Morrisville Carpenter Road, making it more prominent on the site.
The property originally was slated to be developed as an office park when a plan for the entire Carpenter Village area was created in 1996. But Jason Barron, a lawyer representing Ferrell, said at meeting Thursday, Aug. 11, that circumstances have changed since then.
“Development patterns associated with office parks and major office development have demonstrated that office use in this location is not the highest and best use,” he said. “It’s not at the intersection of a major interchange. ... Offices really want to locate to areas with better visibility and better access to major transportation corridors.”
The property is adjacent to Cary’s Legacy at Carpenter Village subdivision to the west and Morrisville’s Wexford subdivision to the north. More than 20 Wexford residents attended the meeting with concerns about traffic and a required road connection between their neighborhood and the new development.
“This plan is going to put a lot of traffic, traffic, traffic in our street ,and that brings a lot of safety risks,” said Srinivas Nayini, a Wexford resident, emphasizing that neighborhood children often play in the streets.
Road connection concerns
According to a Cary ordinance, one road would be required to connect Wexford to Morrisville Carpenter Road and another to connect the Legacy subdivision with the property to the east. In addition, the north-south road is required to be a collector road, which generally has a higher speed limit than residential roads.
Because of these town policies, Wexford residents said they are concerned about cut-through traffic in their neighborhood.
To ease resident concerns, the developer has requested a streetscape reduction on the portion of the road closest to Wexford “to try to get the buildings closer to make it feel more like a residential street,” Barron said.
“We are up for creative compromises to make that work best for the folks that are going to be impacted by that development,” he said.
Waiving the required connection or changing the type of road could not be considered until a later approval process.
But councilwoman Jennifer Robinson said she is not open to removing the required road connection to Wexford.
“The value is when your daughter has a friend who lives 100 feet south of you in the new neighborhood and you have a connection so she can walk to her friend’s house,” she said. That’s why we have connectivity. So we can bring people together in a community.”
Robinson said the ideal situation would be to make the new road harmonious to the Wexford road where it would connect. She also suggested the developer could put in a speed bump or raised walkway to help slow down traffic.
The developer has committed to having a traffic signal at the intersection of Airport Boulevard and Davis Drive, but councilwoman Lori Bush said she would like to see the applicant offer additional improvements to mitigate traffic impacts in Morrisville, particularly on McCrimmon Parkway.
“Wexford is our neighbors,” she said. “They deserve to get whatever improvements are possible as well.”
Morrisville Mayor Mark Stohlman did not attend the meeting, but in an interview Friday, he said he had heard concerns from Wexford residents about possible cut-through traffic caused by the required road connection.
“If someone wanted to get to McCrimmon or Davis Drive, that’s kind of the straightest shot,” he said, adding that he supported more traffic mitigation efforts to limit the amount of cars that may travel through Wexford.
“We are going to stay tuned, and I encourage Morrisville residents to show up at these meetings and stay involved,” he said. “We will certainly do our part to make sure Cary hears our message.”
The council referred the cases to the town’s planning and zoning board for review in the next month or two.
In other business
The council also:
▪ Considered amending the Regency Park planned development district to allow for a free-standing parking lot at 100 Regency Woods Place to serve current and future needs. This case was referred to the town’s planning and zoning board.
▪ Considered rezoning 1.66 acres at 6718 Holly Springs Road to allow for development of up to three single-family homes. This case was referred to the town’s planning and zoning board.
▪ Approved appropriating $630,000 from town reserves to repair damages to town facilities, like greenways, from a storm on July 16 and 17.
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608: @KTrogdon