Opponents to a revamped proposed development that includes plans for a movie theater filled the Town Council chambers Wednesday to the point that benches were brought in from the lobby to accommodate the crowd.
Development on the nearly 57-acre property on the south side of Knightdale Boulevard between Widewaters Parkway and Parkside Commons Drive has been proposed for more than a decade, but a lawsuit and then the recession delayed movement on the site until recently.
And at a March meeting, the Town Council voted unanimously to let 29 zoning exceptions for a project with developer Widewaters SE Real Estate Investors expire, dealing another setback for development at the site. Petitioning the council for a rezoning on the property Wednesday was Knightdale Development Ownership, LLC.
After hearing from about 10 members of the public at the public hearing on the rezoning request, some who were representing larger neighborhood groups, the council voted unanimously to continue the public hearing until after the matter goes before the Land Use Review Board at its Aug. 8 meeting.
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Council members heard concerns about traffic, buffers, blasting and disturbing the tree canopy. “Why does Knightdale need another shopping center? Another apartment complex?” said Alison Breeden, who said she moved to the town because of its “hometown” feel, which she said was at risk.
Plans for the project, Parkstone, call for a mix of single-family houses, multifamily housing and commercial development, with the commercial space to the north along Knightdale Boulevard.
Tom Oxholm, vice president of finance and administration at Wake Stone Corp., who said he was speaking neither for or against the project, expressed some concerns about the exit that will come out directly in front of Wake Stone’s entrance. If the project makes widening of the entrance necessary, Oxholm said, he wants the project’s developers to be responsible for the expense, which might include moving the gate.
Nick Stelmach spoke in favor of the development, saying he would like to be able to take his son to a movie in Knightdale instead of spending his money in Raleigh.
Mike King, an attorney speaking on behalf of the developer, spoke at the end of the public hearing section of Wednesday’s meeting, pointed out that the new plan calls for 14 more acres of the highway business zoning than the original plan.
Also, he said, there is multifamily development already around the site: “This property is designated under the Comprehensive Plan of the town for the type of development that we have proposed.”
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826