Volume 16, Number 2
There were some reminders of the plan for Wake Union Place shopping center back in 2011 – fears from the residents of next-door St. Ives subdivision would loose speeders through its walkable streets – but nothing like the angst and arguments. Instead, Tuesday night the seven members of the Wake Forest Planning Board all agreed to recommend the current plan to the Wake Forest Town Board, which sat in on the public hearing.
It has been labeled either Wake Forest Place or Plaza on documents provided to the town, and the developers could choose one or insert another before the rather small shopping plaza is completed. It will be on the former Parker-Hannifin site (Schrader-Bellows for older residents), but only the plans for a portion of the 64 acres were approved Tuesday night.
Academy Sports has approval for a separate building and parking lot along Wake Union Church Road, and three large parcels (one with a large pond/stormwater detention) are left unplanned for a third phase of the building.
What was approved is phase two consisting of five retail stores, a parking lot, four outparcels visible from Capital Boulevard and a new set of roads. The main entrance from Capital will go straight west to a large roundabout. Wake Union Church Road will sweep north and west to the roundabout with one other road heading north into a part of phase three and a 25-foot two-lane street from that going west to the property’s boundary and linking to Lola Lane in St. Ives subdivision. Another street from the roundabout will access the five stores and parking lot and then provide a 35-foot road south to Kearney Road.
It is the superstreet intersection at the shopping center’s entrance/exit on Capital that caused a lot of head-shaking by some planning board and town board members. They wanted to know how a resident on the west side of town who now uses Wake Union Church Road to get to Lowe’s grocery store or Kohl’s on the east side of Capital. Yes, they were told. Those residents will have to go up and around the roundabout, go east to the Capital intersection, turn right and go to the designated U-turn with signals, head north and then turn right into Agora Lane, an entrance for Wake Forest Crossing shopping center. Today they wait for the traffic signal on Wake Union Church Road and cross Capital to Agora when the light is green.
“DOT told us from day one that there would be a superstreet there,” Kevin Dean, a traffic engineer with Kimley-Horn, the engineering firm for the project. In the near future there could be a superstreet just north where Stadium Drive and Jenkins Road meet Capital, Dean and town Planning Director Chip Russell said, because future development along Jenkins Road.
The 25 or so people in the town hall meeting room were mostly there because of future traffic, in particular Lola Lane and the St. Ives streets though there were concerns about Kearney Road’s intersection with Wake Union and cut-through traffic on Penfold Lane into Prestwick subdivision.
In 2010 and 2011 the St. Ives speakers wanted to keep traffic from the shopping center entering their neighborhood through Lola Lane and asked it and the street in the center be one-way only, egress. The same was true this week. “We ask to have egress only but also improvements at the intersection of Kearney and Wake Union,” Karen Mallo said. “We appreciate the connectivity. We also need to protect the walkability of the neighborhood.” St. Ives is in the Falls Lake watershed and the streets were built with swales instead of curb and gutter. “We walk in the street,” Mallo and others said.
The vote to recommend did not include any mention of a one-way street so it will be two-way unless the town commissioners decide to change it. The vote did include six conditions for buffers, lighting, control of stormwater and a fence on the boundary.
The second public hearing was lacking some of the major characters – the owner, the engineer, the lawyer. There was no one to speak for the Forestville Development building on South Main Street except two neighbors, Marvin Weathers and Antoinette Posillico, who were concerned about the location of the dumpster if there is to be a restaurant or caterer in the 8,000-square-foot building, lights and privacy as well as stormwater retention.
The hearing was postponed until May.