A developer proposing a 220-home subdivision for a corridor – where two large-scale subdivisions already are in the works – will need to revise its plan before the Town Council approves it.
Crescent Communities, a Charlotte-based builder, has bought several properties along Pricewood Lane, totaling about 87 acres, and has applied to rezone the land for medium-density, single-family housing.
But a majority of Apex’s council members – Bill Jensen, Wesley Moyer and Mayor pro tem Nicole Dozier – indicated Tuesday they would not approve the proposal in its current form. They cited concerns related to traffic, density and the proposal’s lack of commercial or office space.
“I have a tremendous problem voting for more subdivisions not connected to economic development,” Jensen said. “From where I sit, I think we’re running low on land and adding more and more subdivisions. I would want to see these residential developments invest some of their profit into nonresidential.”
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Smith Farm, a 270-acre mixed-use project, and Sweetwater, a 165-acre mixed-use development with houses, apartments and retail, have been approved in the past year for the corridor between U.S. 64 and Olive Chapel Road.
The council agreed to continue the rezoning request, rather than deny it outright, at the request of Jason Barron, a lawyer representing Crescent Communities. He said it would give him and his clients time to revise the proposal.
Councilman Gene Schulze said he isn’t pleased with the project’s proposed density but that the requested zoning is reasonable. Councilwoman Denise Wilkie was alone in expressing support for the project.
Moyer asked for the developer to provide an average lot size as a condition of the rezoning in addition to the minimum of 5,000 square feet initially offered. Barron said his clients would agree to guarantee an average of 7,500 square feet and to raise the minimum lot size to 6,000 square feet.
Dozier, who said she lives in the area, said the development’s potential traffic impact is her biggest concern. Various road improvements are planned for that part of town; Sweetwater and Smith Farm developers have agreed to pay to extend Richardson Road to Olive Chapel Road. But Dozier cautioned against adding more homes into the mix.
“I don’t want to fly the plane while we’re constructing it,” Dozier said. “I’d like to see some stuff get finished and get caught up.”
Barron objected to Dozier’s implication that it would be unwise to approve more homes in an area already saturated with recently approved large-scale home projects.
“We can work on lot size,” he said, “but I don’t think it’s fair to say we won’t zone this property because we’ve zoned a bunch of other properties the same way, even though it’s consistent with the land-use plan.”
Bob Zumwalt of the McAdams Company, a land-use consultancy working with Crescent on the project, said it’s possible that the subdivision, which would connect its roads north to Sweetwater and east to Woodridge, could improve traffic in the area. He said it would provide another route between U.S. 64 and Olive Chapel Road besides the frequently congested Kelly Road.
“There are a lot of other projects approved on Olive Chapel, and none of them connect to (U.S.) 64,” Zumwalt said. “This will give a relief valve up to 64; (residents) will have two points of access. When I saw this, as a resident, I thought it would be good to have that relief valve.”
Leigh Thorne, who said she lives at the corner of Pricewood Lane and Olive Chapel Road, expressed general frustration with construction in her formerly rural surroundings.
“When I moved here, Pricewood Lane was a quiet, private street – I was buying into the ‘Peak of Good Living,’ ” she said, referencing Apex’s town motto. “I’m here to reiterate what many people in Apex already feel: All these changes may be progress, but I don’t think they’re good for Apex.”
Gargan: 919-460-2604; @hgargan