Developer withdraws western Cary townhome project

aspecht@newsobserver.comFebruary 20, 2014 

— Developers have canceled their plans to build up to 94 townhomes in western Cary after town leaders asked for the project to be less dense.

Engineering firm BNK and developer D.R. Horton withdrew their request Feb. 13 for Cary to annex and rezone 15 acres on the corner of Turner Creek Road and N.C. 55.

The move came after the Town Council postponed a vote on the request on Jan. 30. Some council members said they wouldn’t vote to approve the plan unless developers reduced the proposed density from an average of six homes per acre.

Developers went back to the drawing board but couldn’t deliver the council’s wishes, Jason Barron, an attorney for the applicants, wrote in a letter to Cary staff.

“Unfortunately, the density that was previously offered is the lowest density that can be achieved with this developer at this time,” he said.

Barron declined to comment further.

Councilwoman Gale Adcock said the proposal was another example of plans that comply with Cary’s zoning rules, but not the spirit of them.

“They could do better,” she said. “They’re asking for six (homes per acre), and I think it should be three.”

Council members had the same concerns last month about plans for a subdivision at the intersection of Holly Springs Road and Cary Parkway.

The two proposals faced similar criticism: that they’d increase traffic and disrupt the character of surrounding neighborhoods.

The townhomes in western Cary would have been across the street from an elementary school.

Developers showed a “lack of sensitivity to the concern for the safety of our children” by proposing such a dense project, said Bob Perkins, one of several people who protested the project in January.

Council members told Barron they were concerned that developers hadn’t worked with local residents as much as they could have.

The council had already tabled the annexation and rezoning request in August 2013 so developers could address concerns of nearby residents.

Yet many residents who tried to get in touch with the developer failed to do so, said Councilwoman Lori Bush.

As a result, “not one person has spoken in favor of this,” Councilman Ed Yerha noted.

Despite its drawbacks, council members Jack Smith and Don Frantz said they’d support the project.

“We can’t penalize somebody for coming in under the guidelines that we set,” Frantz said. “I’m not thrilled with it, but I would vote for it.”

Specht: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @AndySpecht

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