A proposed neighborhood in a quickly developing area of Apex won its rezoning case Feb. 7, in a 3-2 vote after the developers agreed to larger lot sizes and expedited roadwork.
The case was continued following its initial public hearing in January, when council members told developers they’d like to see bigger home lots and and guaranteed roadway connectivity. In response, Charlotte-based builder Crescent Homes reduced its proposal for 220 homes on the 87-acre Pricewood assemblage to 200 homes. The land includes seven rural parcels surrounding Pricewood Lane, off Olive Chapel Road.
Council members Wesley Moyer, Denise Wilkie and Gene Schulze said they were satisfied with the presented adjustments and voted to approve the rezoning.
The smallest lots would be 6,000 square feet rather than 5,000, and an average lot size is guaranteed at 7,500 square feet, about a sixth of an acre. The builders also will have to connect the development’s interior roads to an adjacent neighborhood before it builds more than 50 of those homes, eventually allowing traffic to move through the neighborhood from Olive Chapel Road to U.S. 64.
Mayor pro tem Nicole Dozier and Councilman Bill Jensen voted against the rezoning, saying the area can’t handle a new subdivision, regardless of its density or lot sizes.
“I will say that I think it’s a nicer project than we’ve seen in the local area,” Jensen said. “But we are a bedroom community, and we need to be a live-work community. If we’re going to keep the quality of life in Apex, we need to figure out how to balance our town. Adding more houses doesn’t help that – it exacerbates it.”
Sweetwater and Smith Farms, two subdivisions that together total about 1,400 homes, are being built on land north and west of Pricewood. More development is expected to the south and west. Property owners along Pricewood Lane who spoke at the Feb. 7 meeting said they felt as thought they had little choice but to sell their multi-acre properties and move elsewhere.
“We came to the same conclusion because civilization was encroaching,” said Bill Ott, who owns property along Pricewood Lane. “Our farms and our horses were out of place and out of space. The peace and quiet are effectively gone. While we were all saddened by the loss, none of us begrudges the development of Apex.”
Leigh Thorne, whose property sits at the corner of Pricewood Lane and Olive Chapel Road, was among those nearby who chose not to sell her property. She spoke against the development when it was first presented to the council in January, and she said the developers’ revisions to their proposal had not changed her mind.
“They’re not the ones who are going to deal with the traffic,” Thorne said of her soon-to-be-former neighbors. “There are those of us who still want that rural life everyone has gotten up and spoken about. (Apex) is not the peak of good living anymore; it has become overdeveloped.”
Wilkie, the only council member to voice support for the development when it first came before the council, said Pricewood landowners have the right to develop their land, just as adjacent landowners have been approved to do.
“Right now there’s a daycare being built behind my house,” Wilkie said. “I can see the trees being cut down, like many of you. I know that it’s going to bring more traffic. But I didn’t own that land, so I can’t say anything about what happens there. If I’d wanted to, I should have bought that land.”
Gargan: 919-829-4807; @hgargan