Town leaders sent a developer’s plan to build townhouses along South Salem Street back to the drawing board, backing up neighbors’ concerns about property values, wildlife and aesthetics.
The Apex Town Council on Tuesday voted 4-1 to deny a rezoning request that would have allowed for the construction of 43 townhomes.
“The environmental impacts would be a concern of mine,” said Mayor Pro Tem Nicole Dozier, noting that a stream runs near the northern edge of the property. “There’s nothing wrong, in some ways, in keeping things the way they are for a while.”
Jones & Cnossen Engineering, which has an office in Apex, wants to build townhouses on the roughly 7-acre site between the Sugarland neighborhood and the Salem Creek Townhomes.
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It’s rare for the Apex council to vote down a rezoning petition, and some town leaders worry residents think they are too lenient when it comes to approving new development. Often, proposals that raise concerns are tabled instead of denied.
Jones & Cnossen Engineering can submit a new proposal. Councilman Wesley Moyer suggested the firm submit a “planned unit development,” which would include more project details.
Such proposals can give council members extra assurance that the project is well-planned.
Councilman Bill Jensen said he’d like a new plan to include some single-family homes, like those in the adjacent Sugarland neighborhood.
Residents of the neighborhood who spoke at a public hearing Tuesday said they worried townhomes wouldn’t blend well in the area.
Stuart Jones, owner of Jones & Cnossen, noted there are more than 50 townhouses beside the proposed site and more across Salem Street in the Villages of Apex.
On Tuesday, the council approved another request from the company to allow commercial development on 46 acres near Apex Friendship High School.
“I know some of you might not be excited about more residential development,” Jones said, noting the council’s desire for more commercial development.“We are listening, and you’re getting what you want. But not all sites are appropriate for nonresidential, and this is one of those.”
Gargan: 919-829-4807; @hgargan