Wake Forest neighbors say townhomes plan not a good fit

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Some say it won't fit with the character of the neighborhood.

Dozens of residents argue that proposed plans for new townhomes will not fit in their neighborhood.

The application for a new subdivision under review by the Town of Wake Forest is for at least 40 townhomes in a 4.5 acre lot at 1047 North Main St. The application, submitted last month, could be debated by the town's planning board as early as September.

"I'm not opposed to growth," neighbor Julie Ellis told ABC11. "But I want growth to be in the right direction."

Ellis, along with her husband, Dan, lives in the historic Battle Purnell House adjacent to the property in question. While the house dates to the early 1800s, the Ellises moved in back in 1991.

"I think so many times in history we act suddenly and then say, 'Oh my gosh, why did we do that? That was the wrong thing to do,'" Ellis told ABC11. She worries the townhomes will threaten the character of the area, which she said is more appropriate for single family homes.

"This is not about lower-income housing. We just don't want that many neighbors or noise," she explained.

According to town administrators, the property is zoned now for no more than eight single-family homes; any change will require a change to the zoning ordinance.

According to Brendie Vega, Assistant Director of Community Development, the planning staff has not finished reviewing the proposal, which includes whether it will meet town standards on stormwater and buffer zones, among other requirements.

"Our Unified Development Ordinance, Manual of Standard Specifications, and adopted plans will be what we use to guide us in our review," Vega wrote in an email to ABC11. "Some of the concerns I have heard are not necessarily specific to this project, but to overall growth throughout the Triangle."

Wake Forest in particular has experienced quite a growth spurt in the last several years. A review of town plans shows 39 approved subdivisions since 2010, which account for 6,766 new homes.

Vega said the planning staff meets with a lot of developers who are interested in projects "that ultimately never move forward," and there are many projects that never make it to the public-hearing phase.

Regarding the townhomes, the developer will hold a public meeting with residents to share its plans on July 27.
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