Cary News

Cary Town Council approves “sidewalk to nowhere” near Prestonwood Country Club

The Cary Town Council will require a sidewalk from a new subdivision to the property line that adjoins Prestonwood Country Club, even though it is uncertain the club’s developers will ever connect the sidewalk to a nearby street.

On Thursday, March 10, the Cary Town Council approved the subdivision plan for the Manors at High House – a 26-acre development with 60 proposed, detached residential lots, located on the north side of High House Road.

The council waived the requirement for a road connection to the east, but denied, by a 4-3 vote, the applicant’s request to forgo a pedestrian connection there. Council members Don Frantz, Jack Smith and Ed Yerha voted against requiring the pedestrian connection.

This connection will end at the eastern property line, next to open space owned by Prestonwood Country Club. That’s about 20 to 30 feet from Bridle Creek Drive, which connects to the Preston Greens, a Preston community.

But the sidewalk stub would not be required to connect to Bridle Creek Drive unless Prestonwood County Club redevelops that property, said Douglas Loveland, a town senior planner.

The council was split over whether to require a sidewalk that could possibly be stubbed 20 feet from the nearest connection indefinitely, or not having a sidewalk at all despite the council’s efforts to increase connectivity throughout town.

Council member Lori Bush supported requiring the connection now, saying it would provide a way for Manor at High House residents to walk to Prestonwood Country Club. She said she also believed people would cut through that area even without a sidewalk.

“So why not make it safer, better, better looking?” she said. “I just think it falls in line with everything that we do – north, south, east, west connectivity.”

Councilman Ken George agreed that not requiring the sidewalk would be a lost opportunity.

“I thought we wanted this to be a walkable place, and I think people are going to want to walk,” he said. “(Preston residents) could walk to the Wendy’s on the corner and cut through and never have to go out to High House. ... Let’s make it walkable like we try to do with everything else.”

Applicant representatives David Dunn, of engineering consulting firm Bass, Nixon and Kennedy, and Bob Anderson, of PulteGroup, the developer, stressed that Prestonwood Country Club was opposed to any connection – vehicular or pedestrian.

Anderson said the club is concerned people buying homes in the Manors at High House would think the sidewalk might connect the subdivision to Bridle Creek Drive one day if the sidewalk stub is built.

“We’d prefer to hold off on that until we can work something out with Preston and actually make something we can disclose and make good on, as opposed to just having a sidewalk that stubs to nowhere,” he said.

Some council members, including Frantz, also highlighted other drawbacks of having a “sidewalk to nowhere.”

“All a pedestrian connection stubbed to the edge is going to do is encourage people to run across (Prestonwood’s property) because Preston is never going to approve the connection, or at least not in the foreseeable future,” Frantz said. “So you end up having a sidewalk to nowhere, that now people are running across the grass to get to the street and the sidewalk.”

But others wanted to go ahead and require the sidewalk in order to preserver the opportunity for it to connect to Bridle Creek Drive in the future.

“I think we need to be thinking about the whole community here, what’s best for the community in the long run,” councilwoman Jennifer Robinson said. “There may be a time when people cut over grass but when people start demonstrating that it’s good Preston residents who want to use this connection, I have a feeling that Preston Development Company will step forward with some asphalt for 20 feet and connect it up.”

Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608, @KTrogdon