Growth was the theme of Tuesday’s Apex Town Council meeting.
Town officials approved the annexation of about 275 acres of land into town limits, clearing the way for future construction. They also rezoned 33 acres of land from rural residential to a new business district just outside N.C. 540 and approved master plans for three subdivisions that will contain 198 homes.
Councilman Bill Jensen also used Tuesday’s meeting to call for a new town rule that would allow residential developers to build denser projects than town rules currently allow, but only if they also add solar panels to the houses.
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The council approved that idea in principle, although details haven’t been finalized.
The council spent time listening to residents who opposed the master plan for the Oak Pointe subdivision between Old Jenks Road and N.C. 64, to the west of the Salem schools campus.
They approved the medium density neighborhood in north Apex with 96 lots on about 57 acres. But residents from the nearby Castlewood neighborhood expressed concerns about the anticipated increase in traffic that will come through their neighborhood.
But traffic counts through Castlewood are expected to double with the arrival of the Oake Pointe neighborhood, according to the town.
The council rejected a proposal with a 3-2 vote to install a gate that would block traffic at one of the neighborhood entrances. While the gate would allow emergency responders to enter, Fire Chief Keith McGee and Police Chief John Lettney said someone could die in the seconds it would take to open the gate.
Oak Pointe has a separate, main entrance, but the town typically requires neighborhoods to have two roads for emergency vehicles to access. The town planning board approved of the idea of the gate, but town staff did not.
Neighbors said adding an estimated 500 additional cars a day to a road that’s popular with kids and people walking dogs seems more dangerous than a slight delay on emergency response that may only occur rarely.
Council members Bill Jensen and Nicole Dozier agreed and voted for a gate, but Denise Wilkie and Gene Schulze voted for an unobstructed road. Scott Lassiter was absent. Mayor Bill Sutton cast the tie-breaking vote, and he sided with Schulze and Wilkie.
“I understand where you’re coming from,” Schulze told the residents. “I don’t discount what you’re saying. I just want to support public safety. Sorry.”
The council also:
▪ Rezoned 33 acres from rural residential to tech-flex conditional use at the southwest corner of N.C. 540 and Old U.S. 1/Salem Street, where Kelly Road also deadends.
This site will be the new home of the Guy C. Lee building supply store. It had been in downtown Apex for years but recently closed. Sagan Lampe, Lee’s great-granddaughter, said her family decided downtown was an “inappropriate choice for a building supply company” at this time, and they’re looking forward to moving to a more reasonable property outside of town. She said the store will eventually employ about 20 people.
▪ Approved a master plan for the Woodall subdivision, a new high density neighborhood on 22 acres along Apex Barbecue Road. The 51 lots are next to Scotts Ridge Elementary School, which opens this fall.
▪ Approved a master plan for three new phases of the Crestmont subdivision in west Apex. There will be 51 lots on about 32 acres in the neighborhood southeast of Green Level Church and Roberts roads. Two other phases already have been approved.
The council approved the following annexations. Annexation means the town will extend services, such as utilities, policing and trash pickup, to these areas. It also allows the town to begin collecting property taxes from the landowners.
▪ 124 acres between N.C. 540 and Green Level Church Road, south of Roberts Road. This clears the way for construction to begin on the Greenmoor subdivision, which will ultimately hold 389 homes.
▪ 69 acres at the southeast corner of Green Level Church Road and Roberts Road. This clears the way for construction to begin on the Crestmont subdivision, which will ultimately hold 166 homes.
▪ 73 acres east and west of Holt Road, north of Old Jenks Road and south of Howell Road. This clears the way for construction to begin on the Middleton subdivision, which will ultimately hold 173 homes and townhouses.
▪ 1 acre at the end of Pine Plaza Drive near Laura Duncan Road. This will allow Costco to extend Pine Plaza Drive into its shopping center once the store is built, which could happen as soon as this fall.
▪ 0.7 acres to be used as the neighborhood recreation center for the newly approved Lake Castleberry subdivision near the Chatham County line, which will have 147 high-end executive housing homes.
▪ 1 acre on Wimberly Road. The land is owned by the town and will be used as a water pumping station. The added water capacity will facilitate development in west Apex, specifically to what the town refers to as the White Oak Basin between U.S. 64 and Green Level West Road.
Doran: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @will_doran