Southwest Wake News

Fuquay-Varina approves 119 acres for new neighborhood

A map of the area rezoned and annexed July 5. In blue is land within Fuquay-Varina’s town limits; the rest of the land is in unincorporated Wake County.
A map of the area rezoned and annexed July 5. In blue is land within Fuquay-Varina’s town limits; the rest of the land is in unincorporated Wake County. Town of Fuquay-Varina

The town board approved the annexation and rezoning of a 119-acre parcel of farmland just east of Prescott Downs at its July 5 meeting, opening it up for development as a neighborhood.

The applicant, Raleigh-based Eastwood Homes, has proposed building 300 single-family homes on the site. Primary access points would be placed along Coley Farm Road, the site’s eastern boundary.

Opposition expressed at the July 5 public hearing came mainly from Prescott Downs residents worried that a potential connection from the proposed neighborhood to their own would turn Waycott Drive into an inter-neighborhood thoroughfare. They asked that the rezoning include a condition waiving the town’s connectivity requirement, but the town declined to do so.

The vote to approve the annexation and rezoning was unanimous.

Town Manager Adam Mitchell said the town’s development ordinances typically require connections for reasons of mobility and safety. Any discussions about whether to waive that requirement usually would be held once the developer submits a site plan for the development, he said.

That decision will be further complicated, Mitchell said, because Waycott Drive has not been improved by Prescott Downs’ developer to the point that it could be turned over to the state Department of Transportation for regular upkeep – something that would have to happen before any of the Coley Farm development’s roads could be connected to Prescott Downs.

“That’s an issue with the county,” Mitchell said. “The county approved that subdivision and that plat and those plans. If the town had approved a subdivision with conditions like that of Prescott Downs, it would have been incumbent on us to make sure they fulfilled their obligation (to improve the roads).”

Prescott Downs residents and Eastwood Homes representatives seemed to prefer that a connection at Waycott Drive not be made. Peter Tatge, a civil engineer speaking at Tuesday’s public hearing on behalf of Eastwood Homes, suggested a connection with the southern terminus of Waycott Drive would require building a road over nearby wetlands, a significant cost to the developer.

“Preserving the wetlands should matter to all you guys,” said Jill Angler, who lives in Prescott Downs. “The streets are not wide enough. Two cars can’t even fit there, and there’s no room for sidewalks.”

Board suggests school name

The Wake County school board approved a name June 21 for the town’s new high school – Kennebec Road High School – about the same time as a town board discussion about what commissioners prefer for a name.

Town board members said they weren’t aware a vote would take place the same night and hoped they could weigh in on the name selection. Board members said they prefer Willow Spring High, one of the names considered by school board members, because the site is near the unincorporated community of Willow Spring.

On July 5, board members said they wish the school board had consulted them before approving the name for the new school off Kennebec and Old Honeycutt roads.

“It would have been nice of them to give us a chance to weigh in,” Mayor pro tem Blake Massengill said. “I’d like it to be named Willow Spring High School – not ever Kennebec Road High School.”

School district staff have said that town staff was consulted on the name before it was approved. The other two names that were considered but rejected by school board members were Black Creek High and Lakeview High.

Mitchell said there might still be time for input. Mitchell reminded the board that Apex Friendship High School had first been named West Apex High School before the school board changed its mind.

“I’d like to echo the sentiments of The News & Observer and say we need to stop making school names so boring,” said Commissioner Charlie Adcock, referring to a column recently published.

Gargan: 919-460-2604; @hgargan