Holly Springs OKs future development on Avent Ferry Road

snagem@newsobserver.comSeptember 20, 2013 

— A stretch of Avent Ferry Road is set to attract some commercial development, despite pleas from neighbors who voiced concerns about traffic.

The Holly Springs Town Council voted Tuesday to change the town’s land-use plan to make way for development on about four acres at 1251 Avent Ferry Road. The council also voted to rezone the property for commercial growth.

The wooded area near the intersection with N.C. 55 would be ideal for “a small-scale, pedestrian-friendly walkable community,” said Laura Holloman, a town planner for Holly Springs. The area won’t become the site of a large grocery chain, she said, but perhaps smaller retail stores.

But Robert Castillo, who lives across the street from the property, said Avent Ferry Road is already clogged with traffic. And the nearby fire station doesn’t help matters, he said.

“I currently live with noise and chaos seven days a week, 365 days a year,” Castillo said.

Former Holly Springs mayor Gerald Holleman also opposed the change. Traffic is a problem, he said, and evacuation routes should be considered in case of an emergency at the Shearon Harris nuclear plant.

When it comes to Holly Springs, Holleman said, the state Department of Transportation is “either asleep or don’t care.”

“We need another bypass,” said Holleman, drawing a round of applause from the crowd at the meeting.

The property on Avent Ferry Road was zoned for open space because of state stormwater rules that no longer apply, according to town staff.

Without the change in designation, said Councilman Tim Sack, “it probably wouldn’t get developed at all.”

Any developer that wants to build on the site would likely be required to widen Avent Ferry Road, staff said. In the end, Sack said, that would save the town some money.

A small retail project on Avent Ferry wouldn’t add much traffic on the road, said Kendra Parrish, senior engineer for the town. The traffic-congestion problem runs deeper, she said.

Councilwoman Cheri Lee was the only council member who opposed changing the land-use designation and the zoning.

“Can that area right there really accommodate more traffic?” she asked. “That’s where my concern is.”

Nagem: 919-460-2605; Twitter: @BySarahNagem

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