Volume 16, Number 8
After a somewhat convoluted discussion Tuesday night, the Wake Forest Planning Board voted to recommend the town board approve the Townes at Gateway Commons with 72 townhouses.
Member Thad Jusczcak voted no, saying he liked the idea of a true mixed-use area where residents can walk to grocery stores and other amenities but, “Could we possibly have jammed another townhouse in the area? I’m not sure this is a place where I would want to live.” Chairman Ed Gary abstained from voting because his wife is a member of the governing board for the private school on Friendship Chapel Road that stands next to the property for the planned townhouses. Member Rod Springer was absent.
There were several issues or questions, including that the water and electric systems will be public but the sewer system will be private with the homeowners maintaining it; that the open space is scattered and includes a community garden rather than a park and even received credit because it is within a half-mile of the future park at the Wake Forest Reservoir; and that there were questions about all the possible uses in a residential mixed-use zoning area. The 6.77 acres are being down-zoned from highway business, and Juszczak noted that, once rezoned, the developer could sell the property to someone who could use it differently.
Hilda Parler, the founder and president of the Wake Forest Charter Academy, questioned if the two-lane street next to the townhouse property which the school uses as an exit in the drop-off, pick-up routine would be clogged by townhouse residents, if the increase in traffic could back up the school traffic and if the residents, “thinking our school is a public school,” would wander around the ball fields and other areas. “The safety of our kids is foremost.”
Steve Gurganus with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, the applicant, said the street “was designed to accommodate three lanes of traffic. We are not modifying the driveway.”
Allen Gibson, a Heritage resident and HOA president, said he thought the townhouses would be a good use for the land and reminded the planning and town board members that he and others fought a proposed 296-apartment project several years ago. He pleaded with them to help the Heritage residents with traffic, particularly trying to turn from Heritage Club Avenue onto Heritage Lake Road. “We beg you to do everything possible to get us a traffic signal there to help with the traffic that will be generated by this development here which I support.”
The board voted unanimously to approve rezoning 1.21 acres at 703 Forestville Road to general residential 3 which will allow the owners to subdivide for more homes.
Member Chuck Moseley recused himself from voting on the request to change the zoning for Richland Creek Community Church from Wake County residential to Wake Forest institutional campus development because he is a church member. The vote was 7-0 to approve.