Volume 15, Number 49
There is a zoning battle raging on North Main Street because the landowner at 1047 North Main wants to sell the 4.5 acres to a developer who plans 40 townhouses there.
The land is owned by Albert Dudley Jr., who lives in Virginia and has inherited it from his father. The family home, a rambling rustic-appearing building with gables, has been in disuse for at least a year with tall weeds growing in the front yard which always has featured two or three vehicles that might not be usable.
The land is in the town’s extra-territorial jurisdiction and has Wake County rural district zoning which allows for up to eight single-family houses. While the house is valued at under $70,000, the Wake County tax appraisers set the land’s value at $200,000. It is immediately adjacent to The Meadows subdivision on the north, close to Olde Mill Stream subdivision on the west, and abuts the 9-acre lot for the historic Battle-Purnell house on the south. Across North Main is the Edgeford Park subdivision.
Julie Ellis and her husband, Daniel Safriet, own the Battle-Purnell house, built in 1802, the oldest house in town and a local historic landmark. Ellis is one of the leaders of the opposition to the rezoning and said this week the protesting group has over 250 signatures on a petition.
Many of the neighbors met last week with David William Jr. with 11 Investment, the developer, and told him they did not want the land rezoned for townhouses. They would prefer five or six houses on the 4.5 acres.
The neighbors also have concerns about traffic and noise. The concern that the townhouses would decrease the value of nearby homes is so great that as many as three owners have put their houses on the market. Ellis said she would sell their home and her small equestrian center if the land is rezoned.
Although there are not any townhouse developments near this area of North Main Street, developers have begun building townhouses in subdivisions such as Bishops Grant and Stonegate at St. Andrews. There are townhouses in Richland Hills, Traditions and Heritage.
Williams submitted the rezoning and master plan request to the Wake Forest Community Development Department, formerly the Wake Forest Planning Department, in June where it is still under review. After review and any consequent changes, the request will first go to the planning board, which will hold a joint hearing with the town board. After the planning board votes on a recommendation that will go to the town board, which has the final say. The developer will also have to submit a request for annexation.
Williams, who is the president of Williams Custom Building and one of three principals in Focus Design in Wake Forest along with his connection to 11 Investment, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. But he told The News & Observer this week that the townhouse project is what town leaders want to see – infill projects near the heart of downtown. Also, “We feel like this would take a home that is dilapidated and could have unsafe activity, to putting a product on the ground that would be in line with what the town has been requesting for many years.”
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The town departments have recently been reorganized to have fewer people reporting directly to Town Manager Kip Padgett.
The planning and engineering departments have been consolidated into the Community Development Department headed by Director Chip Russell with assistance from Brendie Vega, now the assistant community development director, and Eric Keravuori, still the town engineer and head of the engineering department.
The new Inspections and Facilities Department is headed by J.J. Carr, and the new Administrative Services Department is headed by Chief Financial Officer Aileen Staples and made up of the finance and IT departments.