Residents scoff at NW Cary Parkway plan

snagem@newsobserver.comJuly 1, 2013 

— Plans to develop a 19-acre tract of land at NW Cary Parkway and Evans Road have been floating around for years.

Several iterations of proposals have called for commercial and residential growth. At one point, developers hoped to put a convenience store and gas station at the corner known as the Singh Property.

But the lot remains vacant, a victim of neighbor protests and a changing economic climate.

Last week, the Cary Town Council sent a proposal to build 216 apartments on the site back to the drawing board.

Some residents in the nearby Silverton community said they worried the project would bring too much traffic and hurt their homes’ property values. Enough people submitted valid protests that, under state law, the project would need the approval of six of seven council members to move forward.

“I feel that this development is too intense,” resident Elizabeth Adams told the Town Council on Thursday. “I’m especially concerned about the safety of children in the neighborhood.”

Some said they’d rather see retail stores or offices on the site.

“We’re just concerned that area is being overbuilt with apartments,” resident Jeff Cox said.

But it might not be easy for the developer, Singh, to attract commercial growth. Retail stores and restaurants are flocking to the Park West Village development, just up the road in Morrisville.

Singh has been trying to develop that corner of NW Cary Parkway for seven years, said Jason L. Barron, a partner with the Morningstar Law Group, which represents the developer. Park West has “humstrung” the efforts, he said.

“It’s been very successful,” Barron said of Park West.

The town’s Planning and Zoning Board didn’t like the apartment plan either – members voted 6-3 to recommend denial of the project. The town’s planning staff also had qualms.

“We had preferred to have some commercial uses there,” said Ricky Barker, Cary’s associate planning director. “That’s something that’s missing.”

Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said he could envision a Starbucks at the site, along with some townhomes.

“But then it comes down to, can you make this work financially?” he said.

Council members said they were optimistic about a compromise. The developer will talk more with residents.

“That’s what counts, I think, is that everybody’s satisfied,” said Councilman Ed Yerha.

Nagem: 919-460-2605 or twitter.com/BySarahNagem

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