Town leaders have approved a major shopping center and grocery store project that will fill out development on Forestville Road near the large Heritage community.
Without discussion, the Wake Forest Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to rezone about 13 acres of land near Rogers and Forestville roads to allow for retail space, including a 49,000-square-foot grocery store.
The town’s planning board had voted six to one earlier this month to approve the application, but members voiced concerns about traffic since the shopping center will be near Heritage High School and another large shopping plaza.
Planning board member Steve DeRosa cast the sole vote against recommending the rezoning.
“I can’t see that this is a viable project,” DeRosa said at the Nov. 4 the meeting. “This doesn’t sit well with me.”
The proposed development, called The Shoppes at Heritage Village, is along one of the main thoroughfares into the Heritage community.
A traffic impact analysis estimated the development would add up to 650 vehicles traveling into the development between 5 and 6 p.m.
About 221 of those vehicles will come from the intersection of Forestville and Rogers roads, the analysis estimates. By 2016, more than half the vehicles are estimated to come from that intersection.
Currently, the intersection and roads near it are rated a service level D, based on a rating system by the Highway Capacity Manual. The lowest rating is an F. The new development will not change the service rating in the morning, but the service level would likely drop to an E in the evening.
An exit from the shopping center onto Forestville Road is projected to operate at a service level F, according to a presentation to the planning board.
In an attempt to alleviate some of the possible congestion, the plan for The Shoppes at Heritage Village includes several different exits. Also, the developer must widen Rogers and Forestville roads.
A Georgia-based development company, Columbia Properties, applied for the rezoning. The company is known for developing the metro Atlanta area and focuses on retail developments that are often anchored by Kroger or Publix grocery stores.
It’s not clear right if the plans for Wake Forest include either of those stores.
Columbia Properties has used Publix as an example in discussions with the town, but Publix has not signed a lease, said Charlie Yokley, a senior planner for Wake Forest.