New apartment project sparks battle over 'overgrowth' in Morrisville

MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- It was just one project, but the growth, or overgrowth, of Morrisville, was the larger looming debate.

The residents who think the town is getting too big too did not win the night.

"We're fighting for our small town feel. They're killing it," said Renata Tracy.

She, along with a small legion of moms from Morrisville and Cary, told ABC11 they weren't happy about Tuesday night's Morrisville Town Council vote but said they weren't surprised either.

In a razor-thin four to three vote, the council gave the go-ahead on a massive mixed-use development on the corner of Davis Drive and Morrisville Carpenter Road. It's a mix of rental townhomes and workspace for local innovators and 250 apartments.

To construct the project, the developer, Wood Partners, needed the town to re-zone the land for higher density use. The plot is 19 acres in all, but, eight acres is wetlands and unsuitable to build on.

"So they're cramming all of this on to eleven acres of land and then bragging about the eight acres of green space that they're saving," said Cary resident Bekha Lu.

Amy Mune, another mom from Cary, added, "It's too much of everything; too many apartments, too much traffic. We see accidents there constantly on that intersection."

They also fear the impact on already jam-packed schools in Morrisville and Cary.

"Morrisville residents cannot go to Morrisville schools," Tracy said. "So now you're adding potentially thousands of children to Morrisville schools. Where? Every school is at least 120 percent capacity."

Morrisville Town Councilor Steve Rao switched from a no to a yes vote after the developer reduced the size of the project and boosted the benefits for the community:

  • $800,000 for road and infrastructure improvements

  • $735,000 for greenways, sidewalks and parks

  • 20 affordable housing units at the apartment complex

"I disagree with the citizens of Morrisville that say we're not doing anything," said Councilor Rao. "We've got $300 million coming now from the Department of Transportation for state projects. We've invested over $50 million of our own money on many of our roads."

After clearing Tuesday's zoning hurdle, the developers will now submit site and construction plans that will give the public a better idea of what the project will look like.

Town planners said it could take up to a year before any construction gets underway.
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