A southern Wake County neighborhood couldn’t convince the Town of Fuquay-Varina to build a new vehicle service station anywhere other than next door.
The Fuquay-Varina Town Board of Commissioners voted unanimously last week to rezone 16 acres off of Holland Road, east of Purfoy Road, allowing the new Fuquay-Varina Service Center to proceed as planned.
The town will combine several departments at the center, including parks and recreation and public works, and will clean, maintain and refuel department vehicles, including garbage trucks.
Residents of nearby Holland Crossing had complained about the project. After the vote, they said they felt town officials didn’t take their concerns seriously about how the center would affect their quality of life as well as create possible environmental damage.
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The site is on porous sand and near wetlands.
Rex Tracy, a Holland Crossing resident, said he’s worried the fuel, pesticides and other chemicals on site could pollute the wetlands as well as the wells residents use for drinking water.
“Any spillage or heavy runoff would have a good chance to end up in our water supply,” said Tracy, who said he’s a retired soil conservation expert.
But Town Manager Adam Mitchell said studies showed the wetlands won’t be disturbed, and that the town will be held to the same anti-pollution standards as any other development that might have been built on the land.
“The town will build a facility that the community can be proud of,” Mitchell said.
The land was zoned for more homes, and the move to rezone it for the required light industrial use went against the town’s current land use plan.
But the town’s need for the space was enough to convince the staff, planning board and board of commissioners to support straying from the plan.
Several of the commissioners asked Mitchell about concerns posed by the neighbors. Commssioner Jason Wunsch said he heard many people complain about air pollution, noise pollution and real estate depreciation.
Mitchell said there will be no abnormal levels of air pollution and that noise pollution should be low, although some neighbors disputed the tests the town used to arrive at that conclusion.
Anne Wingler, whose house borders the property, said she’s concerned her three school-age children will lose sleep because of the noise and light coming from next door.
She also worries about the increased traffic on a road with multiple school bus stops.
“With the number of cars passing stopped school buses on the rise, this is a recipe for disaster,” Wingler said.
Residents of nearly all 49 homes in the neighborhood signed a petition against the rezoning, with about 25 at last week’s meeting to protest.
Mitchell said his staff has been meeting with and hearing from residents for two months, and that plans for the site have evolved to address their concerns.
There will be a setback and additional buffer of trees and other plants between the site and their homes, he said. Holding ponds will be surrounded by fences or thick plants. Lights on site also will be shielded to keep them from shining into the nearby homes.
“I believe that we have attempted to address reasonable and applicable concerns,” Mitchell said.
Still, Betty Vaughan, president of the neighborhood association, promised they would become “nosy neighbors,” making sure that the several dozen employees expected to work at the service center are following the rules.
“We may not have the resources to sue a town with a lawyer on retainer,” she said. “But we do know how to contact the appropriate state and federal oversight agencies.”