Apex plan calls for more homes, business

aramos@newsobserver.comAugust 12, 2013 

— By 2030, Apex hopes to have more commercial centers and a better mix of housing options, according to the town’s new comprehensive plan.

The plan targets one of the biggest issues Apex faces in future growth: in-town jobs. More than 23,000 Apex residents – about half of the town’s population – need to travel outside of town for work.

Last week, the Apex Town Council approved Peak Plan 2030, which includes regulations and guidelines for land use, parks and greenways, historic preservation, utilities and economic development.

This was the first time the plan has been updated since 2004.

Under the plan, Apex will likely retain its bedroom community feel, with most of the land set aside for single-family homes. But Peak Plan 2030 also calls for more employment centers and commercial development.

The areas targeted for commercial, mixed use, industrial and office space are along the town’s busiest corridors, including U.S. 64, U.S. 1 and N.C. 540. Some industrial development is also planned along old U.S. 1.

Apex Chamber of Commerce President Dave Cozzarelli spoke out in support of the plan at a public hearing Aug. 6.

When the Beaver Creek shopping center was under construction, Cozzarelli said, he worried about home values. But he said home values have gone up since the project was completed.

“It can improve values if done appropriately,” Cozzarelli said.

Other residents spoke out about concerns over designating more commercial land when there are existing empty storefronts.

Councilmen Gene Schulze and Terry Rowe assured them that future growth would be market-driven.

Over the next 20 years, Apex is projected to capture more of Wake County’s office-employment growth. The area is expected to need about 800,000 square feet of office space through 2032, according to Peak Plan 2030.

There are 15,057 total jobs in the Apex area. Services such as food make up the greatest share of these jobs, followed by retail at 19.3 percent, construction at 11.1 percent and professional services at 10.1 percent, according to the plan.

Only 1,581 jobs are filled by Apex residents. The majority, more than 13,400, are filled by commuters.

By 2030, Apex is expected to grow to about 85,000 people. That’s about double the current population.

With more older people moving into the area, the plan calls for the town to look at adding other housing options such as apartments and townhomes.

There will be demand for about 15,000 more housing units by 2030. While about 9,200 will be single-family homes, there will also be a need for about 2,550 townhomes and about 3,300 apartments, according to a Kimley-Horn & Associates study.

Mayor Keith Weatherly said Peak Plan 2030 is good for economic development.

It’s a document that “will guide us for a number of years,” Weatherly said. “This is our planning documents that we show developers and others investing in Apex what our vision is.”

Ramos: 919-460-2609

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