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Planning Board signs off on community in northeast Wake Forest.
By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — A new subdivision plan with a large amount of open space, including pond, creeks and parks, cleared its first hurdle Tuesday, with the 4-3 recommendation by the town planning board to move ahead.
The community is Tryon Subdivision, a 131-acre subdivision with 279 homes and 136 townhouses, developed by Tryon WF, LLC of Knightdale. It’s located off Copper Beech Lane and Oak Grove Church Road adjacent to The Reserve, Kings Glen and Bishop’s Grant neighborhoods.
The three dissenters were planning board members DeHaven Fields, Steve DeRosa and Shirley Sulick, who appeared to object primarily to allowing the developer to move an eight-acre portion of the site from the protected Swift Creek watershed, allowing more homes to be built on that parcel.
Watersheds are determined by whichever way the water flows downhill. The ridgeline cuts through the property and the eight acres fall on the side that drains toward a water reservoir.
“The developer has proposed grading to flow the water away,” thereby removing the land from the more protected watershed, said Charlie Yokley, senior town planner.
“The effect of this regrading on this watershed is completely insignificant,” said Tommy Craven, principal with Priest, Craven and Associates, a land-use consultant representing the developer. Craven pointed to a place in the ordinance which allows for some variation on the watershed.
But planning department staff said the adjustment was minor, considering the developer is building in 30 acres of open space, almost three times the town’s requirement of 12 acres for a development that size.
The development also features walking trails, sidewalks on both sides of the street and two divided median roadways, townhouses with two-car garages and rear-access alleyways for garbage pickup, said Chuck Walker, a land planner representing the developer.
The site’s neighbors are all resident landowners who are rapidly seeing the rural community around them turn into suburban neighborhoods.
One of them is Frank McCoy, who lives adjacent to the site’s southwest portion. McCoy protested the loss of wetlands and what he believes will be a degradation of water quality issues and loss of wildlife habitat of box turtles, hawks, deer and the like.
“The things we do here can have an effect all the way to the ocean,” he said.
Many of the trees onsite are 20-inches wide or more, he noted, adding, “Wake Forest — keep it up like that, call it Wake Desert.”
Bob Horton, who lives adjacent to several of the developments, said that Hurricane Fran washed out a large swath of the area planned to be developed, even with the trees present. Furthermore, he said, current development isn’t keeping pace with regulations, preventing silty runoff from construction sites.
“I just came back and had a nice orange pond because they do not do what’s required with catch basins,” he said. “My biggest concern is the runoff that’s going to take place.”
Planning Director Chip Russell countered that development standards can never fully protect from the damage incurred during 20-year storms.
“There are certain storms that no matter what you do, like Fran, are going to trump anything,” he said.