Residents of several Wake Forest neighborhoods are preparing for one last stand against a proposed development for 40 townhomes that awaits a final vote on Tuesday.
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 current zoning governing the property allows for up to eight single-family homes or a small business such as a funeral home or child day care center.
Indeed, Wake Forest has experienced tremendous growth during the past decade, and it has dozens of approved plans under construction or in final stages of development. An I-Team analysis of available records shows the approved plans account for 64 subdivisions, 6,614 single family homes and 1,188 town houses.
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"Well I think the growth is important, and we all want to see that, but I think it needs to be controlled growth," resident Ron Bostic told the ABC11 I-Team. "We have to think about what we're doing as we expand. Traffic is going to be an issue, and it's going to be a massive increase in the number of people and cars."
The developer, 11 Investments, LLC, first proposed the development last summer and told planning administrators that the proposal meets all traffic, buffer and stormwater concerns. Per town ordinance, the developer had to meet face to face with neighbors to discuss the plans - but that hardly changed minds.
Bostic was part of a packed house for the April 3 public hearing that included more than three hours of mostly opposing statements from residents. Nonetheless, the board voted 7-2 in favor of the proposal, offering a non-binding recommendation to town commissioners that they should also approve the rezoning.
"It was a feeling of frustration, and we were abandoned," Bostic said.
Despite multiple calls and requests, all planning board members who voted in favor declined to speak with the ABC11 I-Team on camera.
Thomas Smith was one of only two board members to vote against the proposal, and he resigned in protest the next day.
"I voted 'no' simply because the project is plain wrong," Smith wrote in his resignation letter sent to colleagues and other town officials. (Smith also provided a copy of the letter to the ABC11 I-Team) "The Planning Board has proven to the residents of Wake Forest that their voice does not matter pertaining to rezoning matters ... if the voice of the Wake Forest residents (aka voters) does not matter to you, then in your opinion whose voice does matter?"
The Board of Commissioners meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, at Town Hall, 301 S. Brooks St. A copy of the agenda can be found here.