Guest Column

Jim Tynen: Apartment complexes, high-density developments are nothing to fear

December 10, 2013 

I totally understand why many Cary residents are worried about high-density developments, including apartments. But I can also see why such developments are needed.

I once had to move out of a home I owned because my town went downhill. I don’t want to ever face that again.

Yet is it realistic to fear high-density developments will bring crime and traffic jams, while lowering property values?

On a recent Saturday afternoon, I stopped by the high-density development at High House Road and Davis Drive. The sound of nail guns drifted out from the half-finished buildings.

It looked like a typical apartment complex for average people.

I couldn’t visualize the Crips and the Bloods setting up there.

It was also hard to see that site creating a glut of traffic that would gum up nearby streets.

As for property values, I can’t believe one development would turn Cary into Detroit.

Here’s what I could imagine: people driving up in rental trucks and unloading their belongings.

I would guess many of these people already live in Cary. They might move into an apartment when a rough job market or unsteady marriage forces them to regroup.

Others will be young people who aren’t ready to buy a house. In this era, a lot of people can’t afford the stereotypical single-family home.

Others will be older folks in Cary who don’t want to mow the lawn anymore but want to stay close to friends, family and familiar scenes. Others will move to town so they can be closer to their children.

Many other tenants will be those whose hard work enables Cary to function.

We need people who cook the hamburgers at fast-food joints, put the dresses on the racks at stores and answer the phones at offices.

Why should Cary make it harder for them to live close to work?

Plus, apartment dwellers are likely to shop in Cary too. Our stores need customers.

No one wants to see a trashy development, but empty storefronts are a threat too.

Cary has invited thousands of people to work and shop and live here. It’s only fair that the town be open to the kinds of housing ordinary people need right now.

Jim Tynen lives in Cary and works as the communications director for the Civitas Institute in Raleigh.

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