Southwest Wake News

Holly Springs Town Council taps planning board member to fill vacant seat

Planning Board member Peter Villadsen was chosen Tuesday to fill the Holly Springs Town Council seat left vacant by Linda Hunt Williams, who was sworn into the N.C. House of Representatives Jan. 1.

Villadsen, a registered Republican who has served about a year on the town’s planning board, was chosen by the four members of the Town Council from a pool of 14 applicants. The residents who submitted their names to complete Williams’ term included other planning board members, former Town Council candidates and former longtime council member Chet VanFossen.

Villadsen, 46, will serve the remainder of Williams’ term, which will end in December. He will be sworn in Jan. 17.

Council members each nominated two candidates for consideration. Villadsen was nominated by three of the four council members. No other candidate received more than one nomination.

Mayor Dick Sears said Councilman Hank Dickson, who had not initially nominated Villadsen, agreed to switch one of his nominations to form consensus around Villadsen as the replacement.

“I offered two other gentlemen who had a little bit more time on the planning board,” Dickson said. “This term is only going to be 10 or 11 months, and I thought it was important we have someone who could hit the ground running. But Peter will be a quick study. I’m completely comfortable with him serving on the council.”

Villadsen, who is married with three young children, said he moved to Holly Springs from Northern Virginia in 2005. Villadsen works for the cybersecurity firm FireEye.

He said he joins the council without an agenda other than ensuring the town continues to grow in a way that preserves residents’ quality of life and doesn’t outpace the town’s ability to improve its road infrastructure.

“I want to continue to keep a closer eye on the growth here,” Villadsen said. “That might mean we have balanced growth, so that growth can occur more orderly and not overweighted in certain areas. We want to be careful, I think, of having too many residential or high-density developments without business and commercial to help provide some balance in that growth.”

Dickson said he first came to know Villadsen over social media, when Villadsen became an active voice against the 2018 Market development in Holly Springs. Before he was on the planning board, Villadsen was elected to the board of the Sunset Ridge North Homeowners Association.

“It was obvious he had spent some time looking into town development ordinances, the comprehensive plan and so forth,” Dickson said. “He was definitely the type of guy who would do his research and put the time in.”

Councilman Tom O’Brien said he has admired Villadsen’s work on the planning board.

“What I like about Pete is his ability to dive deep and find out the answers,” O’Brien said. “He goes through the motions and looks at the facts.”

While Villadsen said he has an open mind about running in November for an elected seat, he said he’s “still digesting” his appointment and that a decision won’t be made until he has at least a few months of experience on the council.

Villadsen’s appointment creates a vacancy on the planning board, which the council plans to address later this month as it appoints candidates for existing open spots on the planning board and board of adjustments.

Gargan: 919-460-2604; @hgargan

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