By the time the Apex Town Council adjourned late Nov. 15, they had advanced the approval of 1,068 new homes in town.
The majority of those came as approvals of subdivision master plans – votes on the geographic layout of homes that already had been approved in rezoning hearings.
But the scope of residential growth made visible by the many approvals was enough to elicit comments from Councilman Bill Jensen about the scale of Apex’s residential boom in the absence of similar commercial growth.
Jensen cast votes against the two subdivision plans, knowing, he said, that the council would have been taken to court if the body had failed to pass them. He said he wanted to send a message to developers.
“I’m going to start voting ‘no’ on a lot of these things, because we have to make Apex a live-work place,” he said. “We need to get nonresidential going and off the ground.”
But a lack of commercial development plans amongst the home project plans wasn’t all Jensen talked about. He said he’d like to see more greenways, sidewalks and road connections between neighborhoods to alleviate pressure on the town’s major traffic arteries.
Closer to downtown, the council approved a rezoning allowing a high-density townhouse development in 7.5 acres south of Center Street at a maximum of 10 units per acre. Jensen noted that despite being next to an industrial park, the plans don’t include sidewalks that might allow residents to easily walk to work.
“I think it’s an OK project for right here, but one of the things I’m going to be looking at very strongly is for connectivity or supplemental nonresidential of some sort,” Jensen said. “I just want the development folks who are here tonight to understand that.”
Apex’s booming southwest
The largest of the approved subdivision plans is for the 400-home, 150-acre Woodbury neighborhood. Council members said they were concerned about only having two exit and entry points along the same short stretch of New Hill Olive Chapel Road, which will border the development’s west side.
With the support of Mayor Lance Olive, Councilman Wes Moyer asked Randy King, representing the Pulte Group, to work with planning staff to reconfigure the arrangement of houses in the development’s northeast corner to allow for a future connection to a proposed development and an as-yet-unbuilt road extending south from Humie Olive Road. King agreed to do so as a condition of the subdivision plan’s approval.
Olive said a similar situation exists in his neighborhood.
“It’s kind of painful,” he said. “And when the alternate egress is also so close to the front of the neighborhood, it’s barely tolerable as an alternate. For 12 years, I was concerned that something would happen and we couldn’t get out.”
Mayor pro tem Nicole Dozier joined Jensen in voting against Woodbury’s subdivision plan approval, which passed 3-2.
Earlier, the council also gave the final go-ahead to the configuration of 344 homes farther east on 125 acres along Richardson Road, near Buckhorn Farm.
Gargan: 919-460-2604; @hgargan