A request to rezone 7 acres for high-density residential usage in northwest Morrisville brought about 15 residents to the council chambers June 28 in opposition.
Their concerns mostly addressed potential changes to traffic patterns that might result from the homes proposed for the property just off Wilson Road.
CalAtlantic Homes has proposed extending Wilson Road to connect with Cary Parkway as part of the project, essentially creating a shortcut to the parkway from N.C. 54, known in the area as Chapel Hill Road. Some residents are worried that the increased traffic along the neighborhood road could endanger small children and the area’s wooded quiet.
“I have small kids, and if the development goes on, my concern is increasing traffic in my front yard,” said Shristi Shresthe, who lives on nearby Fairbanks Road.
David Clement, who lives on Rosenberry Hills Drive about a mile north of the intersection of Cary Parkway and Chapel Hill Road, said he worries the new outlet onto Cary Parkway would further limit his ability to get out of his neighborhood.
“I have enough trouble with traffic coming down Cary Parkway,” Clement said. “The good news is I get a break because there’s a traffic light. My concern is that with the connectivity requirement, that they’re going to jump in the gap that right now is the only way I can get out of the neighborhood.”
Tom Beebe, a CalAtlantic representative, said the connection was included in the proposal at the town’s request. The project would also extend sewer services to nearby homes.
“The connection seems to make a lot of sense, but I think it will be (used as) a cut-through,” Councilman TJ Cawley said. “I think it’s about weighing the benefit of that connection to all the residents of the area.”
Cawley said at the council’s June 14 meeting that he wouldn’t support increasing density in the area until Chapel Hill Road had been widened.
Some residents said they are concerned Fairbanks Road also would be connected to Wilson Road, creating a second cut-through to Cary Parkway, but Elizabeth Trahos, the attorney representing the developers, said that isn’t part of the plan.
The applicants requested a high-density zoning designation based on a technicality. The true density of about 4.5 homes per acre would be closer to what the town recognizes as medium density, but the high-density designation would allow for flexibility in lot sizes the applicants have said would be required to build out the property.
Condemnation gets OK
Later in the meeting, the council approved town staff’s request for permission to begin condemnation proceedings against six properties out of the 21 needed to secure right-of-way for the first phase of the McCrimmon Parkway extension.
If condemned, the property owners would still be compensated. Blake Mills, Morrisville’s director of public works, said he and his department are still trying to get in touch with unresponsive property owners. Mills has said he would prefer not to go through with the condemnation process but that his department required permission to begin those proceedings by the end of June to keep the project on schedule.
Gargan: 919-460-2604; @hgargan