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965-home Averette Road plan back to drawing board

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WAKE FOREST — The developer of a planned 956-home subdivision off Averette Road will make changes to its plans after neighbors and elected officials expressed concern about the size of the development.

The Wake Forest Board of Commissioners decided Tuesday not to vote on requests to annex and rezone the nearly 272 acres until after new site plans are submitted to the town and staff and the planning board reviews those new plans. That process, which will include a new public hearing, could take several months.

Some of the changes the developer is considering, town planning employee Jennifer Currin told commissioners Tuesday, are modifications that could alleviate traffic on Averette Road. That includes improving site distance at intersections, making turn lanes longer and working with state officials to lower the speed limit on Averette Road.

The developer told the town its new plans may also make adjustments to accommodate storm water and surface water concerns raised by citizens, Currin said.

The developer, Tryon Investment Partners, had been seeking town approval to build 677 single-family homes and 288 townhouses on the property. After the town’s planning board 7-1 against the project Oct. 1, it asked the town for more time, and a new public hearing, so it could revisit its plans.

The commissioners this week seemed happy to delay their vote, with several indicating they would have voted against the project otherwise.

“I just think it’s too much in one spot,” Commissioner Brian Pate said. “If it were half of what it was, I wouldn’t have so much heartburn but being that close to 1,000 houses really, really bothers me. I’m willing to give them an opportunity for them to revisit their plan.”

Commissioner Liz Simpers, who made the motion to refer the development back to the planning board, agreed. While she acknowledged the board doesn’t have the authority to compel one, she said she’d like to see an independent third-party conduct an environmental impact study of the development.

Commissioner Anne Reeve was absent from Tuesday’s meeting, but the four commissioners present voted in favor of Simpers’ motion.

Later in the meeting, the commissioners approved two other rezoning requests.

One changed the zoning of 10 acres in the 1800 block of South Franklin Street from a neighborhood business district to mixed residential use. The rezoning allows plans for the Greenway Village at Heritage apartment complex to move forward.

Pate was the lone dissent in the 3-1 vote for the rezoning. Pate cited concerns with growth, traffic and building in the floodplain as reasons for his vote.

The final rezoning moved nine acres on Cliff Lane of low-income housing — just off Capital Boulevard directly south of the town limits — into a highway business district. The commissioners in May denied a similar rezoning request on the land because they were not in favor of a proposal to build a storage facility on the property.

The owner, David Wilson, is now planning to sell the property and has abandoned his plans to build there, according to records filed with the town.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners:

• Annexed property on Burlington Mills Road.

• Waived a town ordinance to allow alcohol consumption on public land during Friday Night on White events next year.

• Extended approval of conditional rezoning at 1628 S. Main St.

• Refinanced the remaining 2009 Public Improvement General Obligation Bonds at a lower rate with Benchmark Community Bank.

• Adopted a resolution supporting the S-Line and SA-Line high-speed rail corridors.

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