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Plan for 965 new homes may change after opposition

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This story has been corrected to report that the Wake Forest Board of Commissioners has yet to vote to annex the Averette Road property into town limits.

WAKE FOREST — The Wake Forest Board of Commissioners on Tuesday postponed a decision on allowing a developer to build 965 new homes off Averette Road because the developer may make changes to the plan after neighbors argued against the project.

The town’s advisory planning board voted 7-1 against the project Oct. 1, with many of that board’s members saying the proposed 677 single-family homes and 288 townhouses would be too large a development for the area. Speakers at a public hearing Oct. 1 argued that roads cannot handle the additional traffic.

Because the planning board recommended that commissioners don’t approve the project, the developer, Tryon Investment Partners, has until Nov. 15 to make changes and request a second public hearing.

Tryon has been asking the town to rezone more than 270 acres off Averette Road to make way for the project. The board of commissioners decided not to vote on the rezoning Tuesday and opted to put the issue on the agenda for next month’s meeting, after the Nov. 15 deadline.

Commissioners on Tuesday also held a public hearing regarding the developer's request to annex the property into the town limits. The public hearing will resume at next month's meeting. Commissioners have not yet voted on the annexation.

Chief among the opposition to the original site plans was concern over traffic. Commissioner Brian Pate claimed each home will likely have two adult drivers and possibly a teenage driver.

“So we’re looking at somewhere around 1,400 to 1,800 additional cars at a peak time,” Pate said at the planning board meeting. “Where are they going to go?”

The developer paid for a traffic impact analysis and town staff said the project met all regulatory requirements.

“I feel that this area of town is nowhere near ready for this,” Pate said, drawing applause from the audience.

Tommy Craven, speaking on behalf of the developer, argued that the new construction would add $320 million to the town’s tax base, generating revenue for the town. Rynal Stephenson, also working with the developer, said traffic will be alleviated some because there are multiple entrances and exits to the proposed subdivision.

“It’s a well planned out neighborhood. I really like how it looks,” planning board member Karin Kuropas said. “I just don’t like where it’s placed.”

Officials also expressed concern that the development would increase the cost to the town to provide fire services to the area. One citizen, Frank “Spank” McCoy, who owns nearby property, voiced concerns about the impact to the watershed by not including buffers around some waterways.

McCoy spoke again at Tuesday’s meeting, urging the board to delay until concerns about the watershed have a chance to be addressed. Another citizen speaker, Hughen Nourse, argued “I doubt Highway 98 can really handle the added traffic this could provide.”

Commissioners meet again Nov. 19. It is not known if Tryon will call for a second public hearing before then.

Also Tuesday, commissioners:

• Proclaimed November as National American Indian Heritage Month in Wake Forest.

• Proclaimed Nov. 30 as Small Business Saturday.

• Received annual reports from each of the town’s advisory boards.

• Held a public hearing on the 2020-2025 capital improvement plan.

• Held a public hearing on the annexation of 0 Wall Road, and approved the annexation.

• Approved annexation of 0 Burlington Mills Road.

• Recognized Anthony Thornburg on his retirement.

• Appointed Randy Bright and Edward G. Bond Jr. to the Wake Forest Fireman’s Relief Fund.

• Authorized the town manager to execute an agreement with the N.C. Department of Transportation for more time and funding to complete the Priority Pedestrian Corridors Project.

• Authorized entering into a contract with Kimley-Horn for $197,150 for the Clean Water Management Trust Fund Project.

• Adopted the 2019 Comprehensive Transportation Plan.

• Approved an offer from Ting Fiber to buy property on East Holding Avenue.

• Authorized the consolidation agreement with the Wake Forest Fire Department.