Volume 15, Number 50
The agenda for the May 2 Wake Forest Planning Board meeting was not available until too late afternoon Wednesday, but we know there will be one item on it, the request to approve a site plan for a 8,000-square-foot building at 1704 South Main Street. The existing two-story house will be razed.
This request was on the April 4 planning board agenda and postponed to May because there was no one to speak in favor although there were immediate neighbors who asked questions and voiced concerns about a possible restaurant with noise, lights and odors.
Larry Ray owns the property that has been in his family for over 40 years, but it is under contract to purchase by Forestville Development LLC. That corporation was established in January and shares an address, 333 South White Street in Wake Forest, with the surveying company Cawthorne, Moss & Panciera.
Ray had the property rezoned in 2012 to conditional use neighborhood business, and at the time he said he no plans for the property.
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The editor had been searching for information about the property above which was known for several years at Forest Heights, a gas station (hence the closeness to the road) and convenience store during the 1930s and 1940s which also had a very small bar and sold beer to Wake Forest College students. The 1909 town charter banned the sale of beer, wine and liquor inside town limits and for a mile outside. Forest Heights to the south joined two other establishments – a store to the west that was demolished several years ago and what is now called Bud’s Tavern or something like that to the north, all just over the one-mile mark. The business to the west has disappeared or never existed.
The Forest Heights owner, R.L. Harris, paid to have a town electric line extended to his store during the 1940s and his neighbors repaid him as they connected to the line. The town eventually bought it back in 1950. He and some others were also responsible for extending a town water line down what was sometimes called Powell Road and also Raleigh Road, meaning that the Forestville area and sometime town had two essential town services well before annexation in the late 1980s.
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Planning Director Chip Russell has had to add to his already extensive list of duties and obligations in recent months because of several vacancies in the department, but some help is here and more is on the way.
The town recently hired Breendie Vega as the new assistant planning director. She came from Apex and was introduced to the town board at a recent meeting.
Human Resources Director Virginia Jones said in an email this week, “All of the Planning positions have not been filled. We will fill the Senior Planner position effective May 1, 2017. We have made an offer. We are now advertising for a Development Services Manager to fill the last open position.”
As for fears it will take time to get all the new hires up to speed, Jones said, “We are hiring some top notch folks with lots of experience. They will have the technical knowledge, experience and support from Town staff to quickly get up to speed.”
The department’s staff already on board are Vega, Senior Planner Michelle Michael, Transportation Planning Manager Daryl Vreeland, Planner Courtney Jenkins and Office Assistant Terry Savary.
Senior Planner Jonathan Cooper resigned at the end of March. Earlier Assistant Planning Director Charlie Yokley left for another position and Candace Davis, who headed the transportation planning area, was chosen as the new assistant to Town Manager Kip Padgett.