Town commissioners approved the first plans for the Wendell Falls development’s amenity center with only one request: Consider changing the street names to honor Wendell family farms.
The plan was primarily to approve the clubhouse on the property, but commissioner Sam Laughery noticed the street names and wanted to see if Newland Communities, the company handling the development, would be willing to change street names.
“We do want to pay homage to the Town of Wendell and the character and the history,” Newland Communities Vice President of Operations Laurie Ford said.
The plans submitted by Newland used the street names provided by the community’s original developer, Mercury Development. It included names like Big Falls Drive, Wendell Valley Boulevard and Taylor Road.
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Mercury Development did not have all the streets named when Wachovia Bank (now Wells Fargo) foreclosed on the property in 2008.
Laughery said Newland representatives could consult with the Wendell Historical Society to find out which family farms may have previously been on or near the Wendell Falls property, an idea embraced by Brad Rhinehalt, a Newland representative who will be overseeing the community’s development.
“I think it would be great to bring some of those key historical farmers (into the community),” Rhinehalt said at the commissioner’s meeting.
The timing for finding new street names shouldn’t slow down the process, since the street names would have to be re-evaluated anyway, interim Planning Director David Bergmark said.
Street names have to be OK’d by Wake County to make sure there are no duplicate names. The approval process helps to make sure emergency services can be properly dispatched.
Bergmark said the names were approved when the community was first being developed, but he doesn’t know if any of the street names have been assigned to roads elsewhere in the county.
In addition to agreeing to look at street names, Newland Communities representatives told commissioners they would be fixing up the lone complete structure on the property for an on-site office.
Rhinehalt and other staff who are part of the project will work in that office.
Ford told commissioners the company is aiming to open some of the approved amenities by next spring.