Town of Cary
North Carolina

Rezoning

17-REZ-14 Fenton Mixed Use Development Rezoning

Information

Department:Planning and Development ServicesSponsors:
Category:Rezoning

Speakers:  Mary Beerman and Rob Wilson 

 

Executive Summary:  The applicant has requested the Town consider an amendment to the Town of Cary Official Zoning map by rezoning an approximately 92-acre portion of a 273-acre parcel from Office and Institutional (OI) and Resource/Recreation (R/R) to Mixed Use District (MXD). The subject property is located on the north side of Cary Towne Boulevard between I-40 and Adams Elementary School. A Preliminary Development Plan (PDP) is associated with this MXD rezoning (together, “the rezoning”), which proposes a mixed use development containing a mix of commercial, office, residential, and institutional uses.  The applicant has proposed development standards related to building architecture, site design, and signage that are unique to the subject property, as allowed when requesting rezoning to the Mixed Use District.

 

Recommendation: That Council conduct a public hearing on the proposed rezoning request and forward to the Planning and Zoning Board. Staff will provide a recommendation on the rezoning request when the case is brought back to Council for action.

 

Planning and Zoning Board Recommendation: The recommendation will be provided to Town Council following the P&Z Board Meeting.

Body

PART I – PROPERTY & PROJECT INFORMATION

 

SUBJECT PARCELS

 

Property Owner

County Parcel Number (10-digit)

Real Estate ID

Acreage

State of North Carolina

State Property Office

116 W. Jones Street

Raleigh, NC  27603-1300

portion of 0774311292

portion of 0112863

92.10 ±

(portion of 273-acre parcel)

Total Area

92.10 ±

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

 

Location

North side of Cary Towne Boulevard between I-40 and SE Maynard Road

Schedule

Public Hearing
November 2, 2017

Planning & Zoning Board
TBD

Town Council
TBD

Existing Zoning Districts

Office and Institutional (OI)

Resource/Recreation (R/R)

Mixed Use Overlay District

Existing Zoning Conditions

None

Proposed Zoning District(s)

Mixed Use District (MXD)

Mixed Use Overlay District

Proposed Zoning Conditions

As contained on associated Preliminary Development Plan (PDP)

Town Limits

Yes

Staff Contacts

Mary Beerman

Senior Planner

mary.beerman@townofcary.org

(919) 469-4342 

 

Rob Wilson

Planning Manager

rob.wilson@townofcary.org

(919) 462-3885

Applicant and Owner**

State of North Carolina

Contract Purchaser and Applicant’s Agent**

Columbia Development Group, LLC

1845 St. Julian Place

Columbia, SC   29204 

** For ease of discussion, the term Applicant is used throughout this report to refer collectively to the property owner and the contract purchaser.  

 

 

PART II –PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT

 

PROJECT OVERVIEW

 

17-REZ-14 Fenton Mixed Use Development (“Fenton”) is a proposed mixed-use development that is designed around an ‘L-shaped’ main street where residential and/or office uses are located on top of ground-floor retail tenants.  The PDP layout consists of a curvilinear grid pattern of streets, and provides a variety of pedestrian corridors throughout the development.  A total of eight parking decks are proposed, with many of the buildings wrapping around and screening the decks.   Several office buildings and one or more hotels are proposed as part of the project.  The applicant is also proposing a Development Agreement to handle important details and ensure that different aspects of the project get completed (see additional information under Project Details, Development Agreement).

 

 

Fenton is proposed to include many elements and attributes intended to make it an attractive and desirable destination.  Special elements include:

§         Architecture and landscaping exceeding the Town’s current minimum standards, establishing a unique sense of quality and place as illustrated in a proposed Community Design Guidebook.

§         Flexibility for signage to add character and variety for ground-level retail tenants. 

§         Public art integrated throughout the development, ranging from an “Art Walk” along Trinity Road to individual exhibits scattered in various locations throughout the site.

§         Six community gathering areas integrated into the development to provide both passive and active opportunities for residents and visitors.

§         The utilization of “Jewel Box” tenant spaces, incorporated into the medians along the development’s “main street.”

 

The overall PDP layout includes two points of ingress and egress off of Cary Towne Boulevard, a connection to the west (Quinard Drive), and the extension of Trinity Road across Walnut Creek through WakeMed Soccer Park to E. Chatham Street.  A location will also be reserved for a potential future pedestrian/bicycle bridge across Cary Towne Boulevard.

 

PROPOSED LAND USE  

 

PRELIMINARY DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Proposed Uses *

Minimum

Maximum

Office

700,000 SF

1,200,000 SF

Commercial

400,000 SF

575,000 SF

Residential

600 dwelling units

920 dwelling units

Hotel

200 rooms

450 rooms

*  The site will contain no drive-thru facilities except for a bank where the drive-thru is located in parking deck

 

PHASING

Although the proposed mix of land uses indicates that office will be the primary land use in terms of square footage for the project, consistent with the Imagine Cary Community Plan, the applicant has indicated that initially the primary land use will be retail followed by residential uses.  In order to ensure that the development will achieve a mix of uses from the start, the applicant has proposed performance objectives regarding the mix of uses for the initial development plan (minimum of 285,000 SF with at least one-quarter non-retail uses), and again for after the second development plan (cumulative minimum of 745,000 SF with non-retail uses increasing to at least one-third of the total). 

 

SITE CONTEXT AND FEATURES

 

Regional Context


The Eastern Cary Gateway (“Gateway”) is one of the main regional gateways into Cary.  The vision for this area takes advantage of its location between Downtown Cary and Raleigh’s western border, as well as existing and future regional transportation facilities (including RDU Airport).

 

Adjacent Uses and Zoning:

 

The subject property, currently undeveloped, is bounded on the north and east by Walnut Creek, on the south by Cary Towne Boulevard, and on the west by Adams Elementary School, the Village Green Townhomes, and the Oxford Square and Merriwood Apartment communities. 

 

 

 

Northeast:

Office and Institutional - Wake Med Soccer Park

South: (Opposite side of Cary Town Boulevard):

§    Mixed Use District (MXD)

-       Cary Towne Boulevard Retirement Residence

§    Office and Institutional (OI)

-       Vacant Property owned by the State of NC

-       Baptist State Convention

§         OI and Residential 40 (R-40)

-       Triangle Aquatic Center

West

§    Residential Multi-family Zoning (RMF) 

­    A   Mobile Estates

­    B   Merriwood Apartments

­    C   Village Green Townhomes

­    D   Oxford Square Apartments;   

§    Residential 40 (R-40)

-       Adams Elementary School

 

 

The WakeMed Soccer Park complex is located immediately north of Walnut Creek.  The Town operates the soccer park on land owned by the State of North Carolina.   The park is home to two professional soccer teams, the North Carolina Football Club (formerly the Carolina Railhawks) and the North Carolina Courage. The park also hosts a variety of NCAA and ACC soccer championships.  Over the last 5 years, the stadium has averaged 78,000 spectators per year.  There are also another 7 soccer fields that serve approximately 75,000 people annually. In addition to the soccer park, Wake Med contains a nationally renowned cross country course that supports 50 races per year, and attracts an annual average of 54,000 people to the park.  Overall, the park attracts over 200,000 visitors each year, and generates an estimated economic impact to Wake County of $5,000,000 annually.

 

 

Riparian Buffers:

 

The subject property does contain floodplain and riparian buffer area associated with Walnut Creek.  Field determination of such features is required at the time of development plan review.

 

 

AREA CONTEXT – EASTERN CARY GATEWAY

 

../17-REZ-14%20TOC%20Maps/Town%20Limits%20with%20ECG.jpg

The Eastern Cary Gateway Special Planning Area (SPA) is outlined in red on the above maps. 

The site is in Area 1 within the Future Growth Framework for the special planning area.

 

The proposed Fenton development is located in Area 1 of the Future Growth Framework Map for the Eastern Cary Gateway.  Area 1 is identified as Mixed Use Center – Employment Based, appropriate for high density, intensive employment uses mixed with supportive commercial and residential uses.  Development in this area should serve as an attractive gateway into Cary, ideally including a mix of uses with significant room for employment, yet flexible and responsive to the market. 

 

Other development activity currently being reviewed in the Eastern Cary Gateway includes two phases of redevelopment of the Cary Towne Center Mall, located on the south side of Cary Towne Boulevard in Area 6. 

 

§         Rezoning case 17-REZ-08 (Cary Towne Center), approved by council on October 26, 2017, would allow development of a major retailer, presumed to be IKEA, on a 20-acre portion of the site. 

 

§         Rezoning case 17-REZ-25 (Cary Towne Center Phase II) proposes to replace a portion of the remaining mall building and several outparcels with a mixed used development containing residential, commercial, office, and hotel uses.  (The required neighborhood meeting for this rezoning case will occur on November 1.  The public hearing has not yet been scheduled).    

 

The development programs envisioned for Fenton and Cary Towne Center, if fully realized, will establish a vibrant mix of integrated land uses, supported by the beginnings of expanded road, bicycle, and pedestrian networks.  These improvements will serve as a foundation for development of the remaining portions of the Gateway, as envisioned by the Imagine Cary Community Plan.  The ease of access to this area due to its proximity to an interstate interchange further emphasizes the opportunity for economic growth that will extend far beyond the borders of the Gateway itself.  Quality development within this area will set a standard and serve as catalyst for continued development and redevelopment of this important Gateway. 

 

PART III – IMAGINE CARY COMMUNITY PLAN

 

conformance and analysis

 

Attached is a complete list of policy statements found in the 2040 Imagine Cary Community Plan.  Based on staff review and analysis of the descriptions and detailed intent of all the Plan’s policies, staff has identified policies and recommendations applicable to this case and has provided an analysis of the extent to which the proposed rezoning conforms to these plan policies and recommendations.

 

The analysis below begins with a discussion of chapter 6, SHAPE (which includes general SHAPE policies, as well as policies specific to the Eastern Cary Gateway Special Planning Area) and then continues in chapter number order:  LIVE, WORK, SHOP, ENGAGE, and MOVE. 

 

shape Policies

The Town’s SHAPE policies guide future growth by:

Ø        Supporting the Town’s economic development efforts

Ø        Efficiently using existing and planned infrastructure

Ø        Ensuring the Town’s fiscal health

Ø        Maintaining the high quality of development found today

Future Growth Framework

 

The Future Growth Framework Map designates the subject property with the “Destination Center” development category.  Destination Centers include an integrated mix of commercial, office, and higher density residential development, and should be characterized by vertically-mixed use buildings. Urban designs frame the street with multistory buildings and active public spaces.

Applicable Policies:

§     Focus the most intense types of development in strategic locations. (Policy 2)

§     Encourage mixed use development.  (Policy 3)

§     Provide appropriate transitions between land uses.  (Policy 6)

§     Preserve and maintain Cary’s attractive appearance and quality of development.  (Policy 8)

 

Staff Observations:  The Fenton plan aligns with the SHAPE policies by proposing a mixed use development in the Eastern Cary Gateway Special Planning Area (“SPA”), a very strategic location.  SHAPE Policy 8, preserving and maintaining Cary’s appearance and quality, is well supported and depicted by the proposed Design Guidebook.  The SHAPE policies are furthered strengthened and defined in the Eastern Cary Gateway SPA section immediately below.

 

Eastern Cary Gateway Special Planning Area

The policies for Eastern Cary Gateway are designed to meet the vision for this area.

Applicable Policies:

§        Foster development of a compact mixed use, high-density destination center.  (Policy 1)

§        Improve the visual experience of gateway corridors.  (Policy 2)

§        Require connectivity and accessibility within and between developments.  (Policy 3)

 

As previously noted, the subject property is located in Area 1 of the Future Growth Framework Map for the Eastern Cary Gateway.  Area 1 is identified as Mixed Use Center – Employment Based, and is thus considered appropriate for high density, intensive employment uses mixed with supportive commercial and residential uses.  The following ranges provide a general guide for the intended mix of uses for this area: 

 

Ø      Office:           40 – 60%

Ø      Residential   20 – 40 %

Ø      Retail.           20 – 40%

 

Building height is envisioned as predominantly 5 – 15 stories, but could go higher or lower than that range.

 

Staff Observations:  The policies for the Eastern Cary Gateway SPA are supported by the Fenton PDP.

 

§         Policy 1:  The mix, intensity, and density of uses both meets the intent of the Future Growth Framework Map for the Eastern Cary Gateway and this policy by fostering the development of a high density Destination Center.

o       The Fenton PDP includes up to 1,200,000 square feet of office, up to 920 residential units, and up to 575,000 SF of retail space. 

o       If the minimum proposed development is constructed, then the mix of uses would be Office (41%), Residential (35%) and Retail (24%).

o       If the maximum development scenario were to be constructed then the mix of uses would be Office (45%), Residential (34%) and Retail (21%).

o       We note that these examples do not include the hotel land use. 

o       Proposed minimum building heights are 1 – 5 stories, and proposed maximum building heights are 2 – 14 stories.

 

§         Policy 2:  Cary Towne Boulevard is a gateway corridor, and this policy is addressed with the proposed buildings lining the thoroughfare. The architecture/buildings section in the proposed Design Guidebook includes photographs of multi-story buildings that could successfully achieve the creation of a sense of place along Cary Towne Boulevard.  Also, public art is proposed to highlight and define the intersection with Trinity Road.

 

§         Policy 3:  Connectivity between developments will be created with the extension of Trinity Road and Quinard Drive.  A north-south connection is also provided along the western edge of the subject property, in accordance with the Community Plan.

 

LIVE Policies

The Town’s LIVE policies respond to the housing challenges and opportunities facing Cary by:

Ø      Providing a variety of housing choices

Ø      Meeting new household needs

Ø      Maintaining high quality established neighborhoods

Applicable Policies:

§        Provide More Housing Choices for All Residents (Policy 2)

§        Provide for More Housing Options in New Neighborhoods (Policy 3)

§        Provide the Greatest Variety of Housing Options in Mixed Use Centers (Policy 4)

 

Staff Observations:  The Fenton plan includes a minimum of 600 and a maximum of 920 residential units, with the majority of units being provided in a vertically mixed setting.  New residential units above shops and office space, along with some single use residential buildings, will provide more housing choices in this highly-desired gateway location.

 

WORK Policies

The Town’s WORK policies respond to economic challenges and opportunities facing Cary by:

Ø      Maintaining a strong and diverse local economy

Ø      Providing a variety of employment options 

Applicable Policies:

§     Grow a sustainable and diversifying work force.  (Policy 1)

§     Enhance locational appeal to businesses and workers.  (Policy 2)

§     Diversify Cary’s economy.  (Policy 4)

§     Attract new, high value businesses.  (Policy 6)

§     Support the locational needs of new and expanding firms.  (Policy 8)

§     Reserve and provide employment sites in selected commercial mixed use and destination centers.  (Policy 10)

 

Staff Observations:  The economic development policies in the WORK chapter of the Imagine Cary Community Plan are well supported by this mixed use rezoning request. 

§         The elements of the Fenton PDP have the potential to create a distinctive mixed use destination within an identified Town Destination Center. This type of development will have a significant, positive impact for our community as the mix of land uses will create a unique “sense of place” with locational appeal to businesses and workers. 

§         The Fenton PDP would provide significant office space (700,000 – 1,200,000 sq. ft.) to attract new, high value businesses as well as support the location needs of new and expanding firms – thereby also providing employment opportunities for the work force.

§         A large amount of retail space (400,000 to 575,000 square feet) is also provided with the intent of attracting new, high value businesses.  These businesses will also provide diverse employment opportunities for the work force.

 

SHOP Policies

The Town’s SHOP policies respond to shopping and mixed use development challenges and opportunities facing Cary by:

Ø      Supporting the development of high quality mixed use and pedestrian-oriented commercial destinations

Ø      Integrating various scales of commercial centers into Cary’s existing urban fabric

Applicable Policies:

§     Focus commercial uses within Commercial Mixed Use Centers, Destination Centers, Downtown, and Commercial Centers.  (Policy 2)

§     Support the development of a limited number of destination centers.  (Policy 3)

 

Staff Observations:  The proposed rezoning supports the SHOP policies by placing a large mixed use development within a Destination Center.  [Also see the discussions above under Eastern Cary Gateway SPA.]

 

In addition, the proposed rezoning includes conditions regarding the level of architecture, landscaping, and hardscape, with the intent of providing a high-quality, safe, and enjoyable pedestrian-oriented experience.

 

engage Policies

Parks Recreation and Cultural Resources Master Plan Goals

§     Maintain a diverse and balanced park and open space system as the Town of Cary grows. (Goal 1)

§     Provide Cary citizens with a highly functional, safe, well-maintained greenway network that provides recreation, transportation, and education opportunities and wildlife benefits. (Goal 2)

§     Incorporate best management and planning practices to ensure quality services and efficient use of resources. (Goal 9)

 

 

Staff Observations:  According to the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Facilities Master Plan, Walnut Creek Greenway is proposed to run through a portion of the subject property.  The preliminary development plan includes dedication of an easement to the Town and construction of the greenway.

 

There are six community gathering spaces are distributed throughout the PDP, offering a variety of urban “open space” opportunities for residents, workers and customers.  These gathering spaces offer a minimum of 76,500 square feet (1.75 acres) for such use.  (The LDO requires a minimum of 5,000 square feet of community gathering space for developments larger than 20 acres.  For developments larger than 15 acres, features such as a central plaza/green, outdoor dining areas, fountains/water features, and/or public art are required within these gathering spaces.) 

 

Chapter 7, MOVE: Comprehensive Transportation Plan

 

Cary’s transportation requirements for development are a reflection of the Move chapter policies. Planned improvements illustrated on the adopted Move chapter maps were developed to ensure the safety and accommodation of all users and modes, reflect land use considerations, provide additional system connections, close gaps, and minimize thoroughfare widths wherever possible. 

 

Move Policy 3:  Design Transportation Infrastructure to Address Land Use Context

 

Cary Towne Boulevard

 

Existing Cross Section:  4-lane divided roadway with no curb and gutter.  The right-of-way increases along Cary Towne Blvd as you travel east with 260’ of right-of-way at Convention Dr widening to 290’ right-of-way adjacent to the Triangle Aquatic Center. 

 

Future Cross Section:

§     Road:  6-lane median divided roadway with minimum 130’ of right-of-way (to accommodate the street-side trail on north side)

§     Sidewalks:  5-foot sidewalk on the south side of Cary Towne Blvd and 10-foot street-side trail on the north  

§     Bicycle Lanes:  14-foot-wide outside lane in both directions

 

Trinity Road

 

Existing Cross Section:  Between Cary Towne Boulevard and Walnut Creek, a 126’ right-of-way was dedicated and a road segment was constructed as part of a prior Town project to gain a break in control of access on Cary Towne Boulevard. For the portion between E. Chatham Street and Walnut Creek, prior studies have been conducted working with the State to study potential alignment options; however, no improvements have been made or right-of-way dedicated for this portion at this time.  This extension is included in the Planned Roadway Widths map of the Imagine Cary Community Plan.

 

Future Cross Section:

 

Between Cary Towne Boulevard and Walnut Creek

 

§     Road:  4-lane median divided roadway with up to 135’ right-of-way

§     Sidewalks:  5-foot sidewalk minimum on east side; proposed street side trail on west side of Trinity Rd

§     Bicycle Lanes:  4-foot-wide bike lane in both directions

 

Between E. Chatham Street and Walnut Creek:

 

The Town plans to undertake a feasibility study for this segment of Trinity Road.  The anticipated right-of-way will likely range between 115’ to 135’.  There may be other changes to the Town’s typical cross section for a 4-lane thoroughfare with landscaped median; to include elements promoting a transit friendly and walkable corridor such as wider sidewalks, on-street parking, wider grass strip, bus shelters, etc.

 

 

Quinard Drive

 

Existing Cross Section:  None on site. Quinard Drive is proposed to extend east from SE Maynard Road to serve the subject property. This extension is included in the Planned Roadway Widths map of the Cary Community Plan.  A portion of Quinard has been constructed from SE Maynard eastward towards this site, although a gap in the right-of-way exists between this existing segment and the western boundary of this site.

 

Future Cross Section:

§         Road:  2-lane median divided roadway (Collector Avenue) with 80’ of right-of-way

§         Sidewalks:  5-foot sidewalks on both sides of the road

§         Bicycle Lanes:  4-foot-wide bike lane in both directions

 

Transit

 

Policy 1 for the Eastern Cary Gateway involves encouraging “the development of the Eastern Cary Gateway Destination Center by facilitating high density development that mixes uses, in a compact and walkable development pattern that will support future regional transit service.”   The Wake County Investment Strategy team is currently leading a feasibility study to evaluate corridors best suited for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) between downtown Raleigh and downtown Cary.  We anticipate that the main east-west line could follow one of three corridors:  Chapel Hill Road, East Chatham Street, or Western Boulevard Extension, although the study will determine which is most appropriate, and/or if there are other options that should be considered.

 

Recognizing that regional transit will likely be available in close proximity to this site, the applicant has offered to accommodate transit stops serving the project at locations deemed mutually agreeable to the Town and the applicant during future development plan review for each phase of the project.

 

PART IV – PRELIMINARY DEVELOPMENT PLAN DETAILS

 

PROJECT VISION AND DETAILS

 

Vehicular Access and Circulation

 

The PDP layout includes two points of ingress and egress off of Cary Towne Boulevard, a stub-out to the west (Quinard Drive), and the extension of Trinity Road across Walnut Creek through WakeMed Soccer Park to East Chatham Street.  Trinity Road, Quinard Drive, the identified Village Lane and a new unnamed north-south connector street will provide the primary internal street network for the subject property. 

 

Trinity Road

 

The applicant is proposing to complete Trinity Road from Cary Towne Boulevard to East Chatham Street as a paved, temporary road. 

 

Due to the topography of the subject property, the existing portion of Trinity Road between Cary Town Boulevard and Walnut Creek is proposed to be regraded and reconstructed in order to appropriately tie into the proposed ‘L-shaped’ main street corridor.  This segment of Trinity Road will be 4-lane median-divided cross-section. 

 

The exact location for the permanent alignment of Trinity Road on the north side of Walnut Creek (Trinity Road Extension) continues to be studied. The final location will need to balance the potentially significant economic development area between the road and I-40   with the potential impacts to the existing cross-country course, parking, and soccer fields. 

 

Recognizing the current benefit of these park facilities, the applicant is proposing to construct Trinity Road Extension in a “temporary” location just east of the existing cross-country course, providing connectivity to East Chatham Street for the near future while maintaining the full functionality of the park and its current facilities.   The applicant is also proposing to construct this temporary two-lane cross-section with no additional improvements (i.e. no curb and gutter, no pedestrian or bicycle accommodations).  The alignment of Trinity Road Extension will be determined by Town staff in conjunction with State and regional partners as part of future development plan review. 

 

Quinard Drive

 

Quinard Drive is currently a 2-lane roadway extending from the western boundary of the subject property to SE Maynard Road (see yellow highlighted road in graphic below). The road currently provides access to Maynard Summit Townhomes.


 

§         The Eastern Cary Gateway SPA envisions the eventual extension of this street to complete a connection between SW Maynard Road and Trinity Road. 

§         Additional right-of-way would need to be acquired from the Merriwood Apartment community in order to construct this improvement. 

§         The Fenton PDP includes construction of Quinard Drive as a 2-lane median-divided roadway extending from Trinity Road to the property’s western boundary.  The road is proposed to run south of and generally parallel to Walnut Creek. 

§         This new road segment will terminate at a roundabout near the western boundary of the subject property (shown on the right side of the above graphic). 

The responsibility for and timing of improvements needed to complete Quinard Drive between SE Maynard Road and the roundabout is a topic of interest to the applicant, and is an issue that may be addressed in the proposed Development Agreement.

 

New North-South Connector

 

The Eastern Cary Gateway SPA also envisions that a new north-south collector roadway will be provided to connect Quinard Drive to Cary Towne Boulevard.  The new road is intended to generally be located along the western boundary of this site. 

 

The SPA indicates that the nature of this road connection, including its roadway classification (e.g. collector road, collector avenue, or street) will depend on the specific types, amount, and character of development proposed for the subject property.  In order to encourage creative site design, the Town may consider an alternate roadway design, as long as such design satisfies the connectivity and traffic movement objectives of this road segment, while also complementing the overall character of this area.

§         The Fenton PDP proposes to provide the southern portion of this new north south connector.

§         The road will include two travel lanes and pedestrian access.

§         The road will extend from a right-in/right-out connection on Cary Towne Boulevard up to the proposed Quinard Road roundabout in the northwest corner of the subject property.

§         Right-of-way will be dedicated from the roundabout to adjacent properties to enable future connections to E Chatham Street to the north and SE Maynard Road to the west.

 

Pedestrian and Bicycle Access & Circulation

 

The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Master Plan shows a proposed street-side trail along Trinity Road and a portion of Cary Towne Boulevard, and a greenway along the south side of Walnut Creek.  The trails and greenways in the Eastern Cary Gateway area will ultimately provide an extensive pedestrian and bike network connecting major points of interest and activity throughout this immediate area.  In addition, these facilities will ultimately serve to provide connections to and between the downtown area and northern Cary (Reedy Creek, Black Creek), and areas in eastern Cary (South Hills, Crossroads). 

 

 

 

Irongate Greenway Between Western Boundary of Subject Property and Trinity Road

 

The applicant is proposing to construct the portion of the Irongate Greenway that is located on the subject property.  The greenway would be generally located within an existing sanitary sewer easement that runs along the creek.  The applicant has indicated that the Irongate Greenway will connect to a streetside trail on Trinity Road, thereby enabling pedestrians and bicyclists to access the proposed Fenton development.

 

Walnut Creek Greenway Between Trinity Road and Cary Towne Boulevard

The PRCR Master Plan shows the greenway network crossing to the north side of Walnut Creek at Trinity Road (at which point it becomes the Walnut Creek Greenway) and continuing southeastward to an 8’ x 8’ pedestrian tunnel that runs under Cary Town Boulevard.  The applicant does not propose construction of this portion of the greenway network as it is located off the subject property. 

 

We note that this pedestrian tunnel floods fairly often, and does not offer the best reliability or experience for future greenway users.  (See additional discussion of a potential alternative in the next section.)

 

 

Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge

 

Staff recommends that a bicycle and pedestrian bridge near the intersection of Trinity Road and Cary Towne Blvd be considered as an alternative to the existing tunnel.  A picture of the Town’s existing pedestrian/bicycle bridge over US 1/64 is shown here on the left.

 

A bridge would not only provide safer and more functional access than the existing 200-foot tunnel under the thoroughfare, but could also be designed as a highly visible aesthetic and artistic structure to highlight and emphasize entry into this important gateway area.  An example of one such creative design is shown here on the left.

 

Critical details such as the specific location and design of the endpoints of the bridge have not yet been developed.  However, the applicant has offered to provide an area to serve as a connection point for such a potential future bridge structure.   The specifics of how such a facility can be accommodated on the subject property may be determined at a later date through the Development Agreement.  

 

Streetside Trail Along Trinity Road

 

The PRCR Master Plan shows a proposed streetside trail along the entirety of Trinity Road between Cary Towne Boulevard and E Chatham Street.  The specific street design features and cross-sections to accommodate bicycles and pedestrians will be determined at a later date and may be addressed in the Development Agreement.  The LDO requires at a minimum a 10-foot wide concrete streetside trail on one side of the street, and a 5-foot wide sidewalk on the other.  The applicant is proposing to provide this feature for the portion of Trinity Road between Cary Towne Boulevard and Walnut Creek, as well as across the bridge over the creek.  Anticipating a temporary road connection through the WakeMed Soccer Park however, the applicant is not proposing to provide a streetside trail along Trinity Road north of the creek.

 

Streetside Trail Along Cary Towne Boulevard

 

The PRCR Master Plan shows a proposed streetside trail along the subject property’s Cary Towne Boulevard frontage west of Trinity Road, and a standard sidewalk for the frontage east of Trinity Road.   The applicant has offered to extend the streetside trail along the frontage east of Trinity Road, which will enable greater opportunities for continuity and connection in the future when off-site property located east of this site is developed.

 

Bicycle Accommodations

 

The applicant is proposing to provide dedicated bicycle accommodations along the subject property’s Cary Towne Boulevard frontage and along Trinity Road, subject to the approval of NCDOT and the Town.  The type and nature of these bicycle accommodations shall be determined as part of development plan review, and shall be designed so as to be accommodated within the existing right-of-way.  Options that will be considered range from traditional wide outside lanes to protected bicycle lanes (a.k.a. ‘cycle tracks’). 

 

Proposed Traffic Mitigation

 

Per section 3.4.1(D)(3) of Cary’s LDO, a traffic study is required for rezoning applications when a development is anticipated to generate 100 or more peak hour trips. The proposed mix of commercial and residential uses required a traffic study. A final Traffic Analysis Report (17-TAR-422) was prepared by the Town’s on-call traffic engineering consultant VHB, dated August 3, 2017.  In accordance with the LDO, the study has a 5-year build-out period, which is year 2022.  Findings of the study are as follows:

 

Project Description

 

The traffic analysis was based on a concept plan prepared by the applicant specifically for the purpose of conducting the traffic study.  The table below summarizes the proposed land uses on which the study was based, and the projected weekday trips and AM and PM peak hour trips. 

 

Land Use

Unit

Weekday Traffic

AM Peak Hour (vehicles/hour)

PM Peak Hour

(vehicles/hour)

General Retail

550,000 SF

29,941

671

2,675

General Office

650,000 SF

6.248

958

884

Hotel

280 rooms

2,288

149

168

Low-turnover Restaurant

25,000 SF

2,249

20

187

Apartment

600 du

3884

302

366

TOTAL TRIPS

 

44,610

2,100

4,280

Total External Trips

(total trips minus internal capture*)

 

37,182     

1,856

3,495 

* Internal capture refers to the process of accounting for trips that are not needed due to the mixed use nature of the project (i.e. people living in the development).

 

Intersections Studied

 

The traffic study evaluated a total of 23 intersections within one mile of the boundary of the subject property per LDO standards. A list of these intersections is included in an attached copy of the Executive Summary of the Traffic Analysis Report and in the table below.

 

The study evaluated AM and PM peak hour operations at each of the intersections studied for four analysis year scenarios:  Existing (2017) Conditions; Background (2022) Conditions; Build (2022) Conditions; and Improved (2022) Conditions (or Build conditions with improvements).

 

For Background Traffic (2022) Conditions, the following two (2) potential developments in the vicinity were included that may be approved and completed prior to, or at the same time as, the build-out of the proposed development. 

 

§         E. Chatham Street Apartments (16-TAR-407) – This site is located along E. Chatham Street, north of WakeMed Soccer Park.

§         Cary Towne Center Redevelopment Phase I (17-TAR-419) – This development includes a redevelopment site (IKEA) located within the Cary Towne Center (CTC) on the southeastern corner of SE Maynard Road and Cary Towne Boulevard.

 

The Executive Summary of the Traffic Analysis Report includes information on the Level of Service (LOS) reported at each intersection studied and recommendations for improvements at these intersections. The traffic study also includes traffic generated by developments that have been approved, but not yet constructed in the area. 

 

Intersection Improvement Recommendations

 

To mitigate traffic impacts the proposed development may have on the adjacent roadway system, the Traffic Analysis Report provided recommendations for improvements consistent with LDO Section 3.4.1(D)(3) Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA).  A summary of the study intersections with recommendations for improvements and their general location is provided in the table below.

 

Road and INTERSECTION Improvements

ü   Improvement offered as a zoning condition

X   improvement not offered as a zoning condition

ü   Improvement may be accomplished through restriping

      (additional information and engineering needed to confirm)

1.  SE Maynard Rd / Walnut St  signalized

ü

 

2.  SE Maynard Rd / Cary Towne Blvd signalized

X

3.  E Maynard Rd / E Chatham St  signalized

ü

4.   NE Maynard Rd / Chapel Hill Rd   signalized

ü

5.  Trinity Rd / Chapel Hill Rd   signalized

ü

6.  Cary Towne Blvd /  I-40 EB Ramps     

    unsignalized / future signalized

ü

7.  Cary Towne Blvd /  I-40 WB Ramps

    unsignalized / future signalized

ü

8.  Trinity Rd & E Chatham St

    unsignalized / future signalized

ü

9.   Trinity Rd & Cary Towne Blvd

unsignalized / future signalized

ü

10.  Cary Towne Blvd & Access A 

future unsignalized

ü

11.  Trinity Rd & Access B and C

      future unsignalized

ü

12.  Trinity Rd & Access D / Collector (Quinard)

      future signalized

ü

13.  Collector (Quinard) & Access E

      future unsignalized/full-movement

ü

14.  Collector (Quinard) &  Access F

      future unsignalized / Roundabout

ü

15.     Collector (Quinard) and Access G

      future unsignalized

ü

 

Additional information regarding the two intersections improvements that are either not proposed or need additional engineering are as follows:

 

§            (2) Intersection of SE Maynard & Cary Town Boulevard – Provide a second left-turn lane with at least 250 feet of storage and appropriate tapers.  Creation of this lane would require the construction of an additional eastbound thru lane, and restriping.  Staff believes that sufficient right-of-way exists to make this improvement.

 

§            (5) Trinity Road & Chapel Hill Road – Provide an exclusive right-turn lane with at least 250 feet of storage and an appropriate taper.  While enough pavement exists to restripe and create this lane, staff believes that there is not sufficient additional space under this scenario to retain the existing wide outside lanes for bicycle access without reducing lane widths.  Staff has encouraged the applicant to further investigate the available right-of-way and the possibility improving the cross-section to retain the wide-outside lanes.

 

We note that a table with detailed intersection improvement recommendations and the applicant’s justification as it relates to some of the study intersections is included as an attachment to the staff report.

 

Traffic Analysis Report (TAR) vs. Proposed Maximum Development

 

The scope of the Fenton Traffic Study was originally compiled in the fall of 2015, and then subsequently revised during 2016 and early 2017, prior to submitting the proposed rezoning and Preliminary Development Plan (PDP) in April 2017.  During the review of the rezoning/PDP submittal, the applicant decided to add more development program in order to be in conformance with the targeted mix of uses in the adopted Imagine Cary Community Plan.  Specifically, after researching other similar developments elsewhere in the country (e.g. Avalon in Alpharetta, GA), the applicant responded by proposing increased maximums for the amount of office, the number of residential dwellings, and the number of hotel rooms.

 

As a result of this dialogue and research, the maximum amounts of proposed development now exceed the amounts modeled in the traffic study as follows:

 

Land Use

Amount of Development Modeled  in Traffic Study

Minimum

Proposed in PDP

Maximum

Proposed in PDP

Retail/Restaurant

575,000 SF

400,000 SF

575,000 SF

Office

650,000 SF

700,000 SF

1,200,000 SF

Residential

600 dwelling units

600 dwelling units

920 dwelling units

Hotel

280 rooms

200 rooms

450 rooms

 

Based on the ITE Trip Generation rates for these land uses, Town staff has calculated the difference in terms of the number of trips if the maximum amount of each land use were to be developed.  A summary of the difference is as follows:

 

 

Category

Total # Trips

(Weekday, 24-hour)

 

AM Peak

 

PM Peak

TAR Assumed development

37,182

1,856

3,495

PDP Proposed development

41,784

2,541

4,197

Difference

+ 4,602

+ 685

+ 702

% Increase from TAR

12%

37%

20%

 

While we have estimated the total traffic impact if the maximum development scenario for all land uses were achieved, we do not have information regarding if, and if so how, these increases may impact the individual intersections that were analyzed in the traffic study.

 

The LDO requires that development plans that propose 100 or more residential units, or 100,000 square feet or more of non-residential development, must be reviewed by the Town Council in a quasi-judicial hearing unless the development plan application is submitted within two years of a rezoning.  However, applicants do have the ability to request relief from this requirement as part of a MXD rezoning request and the associated PDP.

 

The applicant has requested a modification to typical LDO standards to be able to construct up to these maximum amounts of development for each land use without engaging in further traffic studies or undergoing Town Council review, even if the development plans are submitted more than two years after the rezoning is approved.   This request is based on the applicant offering to make the full improvements identified in the existing traffic study for at least 13 of the 15 intersections where improvements were recommended.  If the applicant’s requested modification is approved, then the possibility exists that traffic impacts may exceed those modeled in the study. 

 

We believe that there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to the applicant’s proposal, and identity them as follows:

 

Advantages

§         Per the recently-adopted Imagine Cary Community Plan, this particular area (Area 1) of the Eastern Cary Gateway is identified as an “appropriate location for high density, intensive employment uses mixed with supportive commercial and residential uses.”  Given this objective, it would be reasonable to consider providing additional flexibility for development in this area.

§         Approval of the requested amount of development, especially the office use, would remove the need to return to Council in the future, and would help encourage and/or expedite such development activity.  For that matter, we frequently hear from office developers and the Chamber of Commerce that having office space “pre-approved” allows developments to be more competitive in the market.

§         If a large corporate tenant wants to locate in this development, they would be able to move quickly if needed.

 

Disadvantages

§         If the amount of actual constructed land uses exceeds the development program modelled in the traffic study, then there is the risk that impacts will occur that exceed the capacity of some of the surrounding roads or intersections, causing increased congestion and delayed wait times.

§         If additional off-site road improvements are needed in the future, adjacent developments and/or the Town may need to pay for those additional improvements.

 

Other Considerations

§         Transit is not included as part of the traffic study.  Bus ridership and/or other forms of transit that may become available in the future may help reduce traffic impacts.  Multiple transit options will be studied as part of the Wake County Transit Investment Strategy as it continues to evolve.

§         Traffic modeling does not account for the potential future connection of Quinard Drive to SE Maynard Road, which may be a topic of the proposed Development Agreement.

 

 

Streetscapes

Due to the amount of existing topography and the extent of earthwork necessary to implement the high-density vision outlined in the Eastern Cary Gateway portion of the Cary Community Plan, the applicant is requesting permission to remove all of the existing vegetation in the Cary Towne Boulevard and Trinity Road streetscape buffers.  In order to protect the aesthetics and attractiveness of these entranceways, the applicant has proposed conditions regarding the size of new landscaping, the maximum height of retaining walls, the type of materials, and overall architectural design.   Highlights of these conditions are provided for each street frontage below.

 

Cary Towne Boulevard

§         Any retaining walls along Cary Towne Boulevard shall have a 10-foot maximum height.

§         If multiple walls are needed, they shall be terraced with a minimum separation of 3 feet to allow for vegetation.

§         Large canopy trees shall be a minimum of 3 inches in caliper at installation (normal minimum is two inches in caliper).

§         A minimum of 80% of the Cary Towne Boulevard street frontage shall be flanked by buildings, landscaping, hardscape or plaza areas.  Surface parking lots may not exceed 20% of the frontage.

§         Where surface parking lots are located along this frontage, vehicular use screening shall be maintained at a minimum height of 4 feet (normal minimum is 3 feet).

 

Trinity Road

§         Any retaining walls along Trinity Road shall have a 10-foot maximum height.

§         Retaining walls shall be constructed out of architectural block, architectural concrete form liner, or masonry.

§         If multiple walls are needed, they shall be terraced with a minimum separation of 3 feet to allow for vegetation.

§         Parking deck D1 shall be a minimum of 35 feet from the Trinity Road right-of-way (the width of the required streetscape is 30 feet). 

§         An “Art Walk” will be provided along the streetside trail proposed on the west side of Trinity Road between Cary Towne Boulevard and the entrance to Village Lane.  Additional information regarding this amenity will be provided in the Design Guidebook (see next section for more information).

§         A reduced streetscape buffer is proposed along the western side of Trinity Road.  Although the required width (30 feet) will be met, the number of required trees are proposed to be modified as follows:

o       Upper story trees will be reduced from 3 trees to 2 trees per 100 linear feet

o       Under story trees will be reduced from 5 trees to 2 trees per 100 linear feet

 

Design Guidebook

The applicant has proposed a condition that the development of all buildings, structures, hardscape, site furnishings, lighting, screening, landscaping, signage, and public art (the “site elements”) shall be “substantially similar” to characteristics and features depicted in the Fenton “Community Design Guidebook.”  The Design Guidebook is offered as a commitment to ensure that these various site elements achieve the level of design and finish that has been expressed and also illustrated by the applicant through a marketing video and a trip to the Avalon mixed use development in Alpharetta, Georgia. 

The purpose of the Design Guidebook is to illustrate the character, type, and relationship of these site elements, and the sense of place intended to be created, based on the information and experiences that have been shared during the application review process.  The pictures included in the book are conceptual examples of these various site elements, and are not intended to limit creativity but rather be representative of the actual type and quality of elements that may be utilized.  The book does not require these elements to necessarily be duplicated, merely that the utilized elements and overall design be substantially similar to the quality and caliber of what is represented in the Guidebook.

It is important to note that while the Guidebook serves as a tool to identify how various site elements will generally exceed the Town’s normal Community Appearance Manual (CAM) minimum standards, the concepts identified therein also provide permission for the applicant to pursue creative and unique elements and designs that are not allowed by the Town’s standards – as long as such elements and designs are substantially similar to what is illustrated and represented in the Guidebook.

The applicant has requested flexibility for Building 2 to comply with either the Design Guidebook or the Town’s minimum architectural standards.  Building 2 is identified as being utilized by a large one or two-story retail tenant(s).

 

Finally, we note that this Design Guidebook is a work in progress.  Town staff is currently working with a Town consultant to review the proposed Guidebook and offer feedback to ensure that the desired objectives are achieved.  Thus, the attached Guidebook is a first draft of this effort.  We anticipate working with the applicant to bring the Council a more complete product for review at the Council’s upcoming work session.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Developer Agreement

 

Columbia Development Group, LLC, has indicated to staff its interest in entering into a development agreement with the Town.  A development agreement is a unique tool that may be useful for large projects that will be built over a longer period of time.  The agreement provides a level of certainty to the developer regarding what can be built and what mitigation measures will be required, if agreement is reached.  It also provides the Town with the opportunity to look at the long-term horizon and make sure the development will fit with the Town’s comprehensive planning efforts and local policies in more detail than rezoning allows.  In addition, development agreements give the Town greater flexibility in determining conditions and requirements for the project, and allow greater latitude and more creative solutions to address impacts. 

 

In accordance with this requested approach, the Fenton PDP contains a zoning condition which states that no development plans may be submitted unless: a) the development is subject to a development agreement approved by the Town; b) the developer is in compliance with the development agreement; and c) the proposed development plan complies with the development agreement.  The development agreement should provide the opportunity to address a variety of topics related to this project in greater detail, including but not limited to provisions for pedestrian and bike access, and timing, location, and cross-sections of road improvements. 

 

As required by State law (NCGS 160A-400.20 – 400.32), a public hearing must be held by the Council prior to approving a development agreement, and a copy of the agreement must be made available for the public to review.  Major modifications of development agreements also require public notice and a hearing.    Columbia has indicated a desire to bring a development agreement forward for public hearing and Council review simultaneously with the Council’s ultimate decision on the Fenton rezoning.  More information on the potential development agreement, and its legal requirements and implications, will be provided as this case moves forward. 

 

Requested Modifications to Development Standards

 

The subject property is located within a Destination Center, and is therefore eligible, through the Mixed Use District rezoning and PDP process, for the applicant to propose modifications and standards unique to the subject property.   The applicant is proposing certain development standards related to building architecture, site design, landscaping, parking, flags, and signage.  These requested modifications are summarized in the table below.

 

Topic

Summary of Requested Modification

ü  Staff believes intent of LDO will be achieved if granted

ü  Staff still gathering information/feedback to evaluate this request

   Staff does not support request

1. Grading and Replanting Buffers 7.2.3(G)(1)

Allow grading and replanting of required buffers adjacent to Cary Towne Blvd, Trinity Rd, and Quinard Dr.

ü

2. Champion Trees 7.2.5(C)

Allow removal of 16 champion trees, with replacement provided on-site per LDO.

ü

3. Streetscape Buffers 7.2.4(C)(5)

Provide streetscape buffers on private streets in accordance the Fenton Community Design Guidebook.

ü

4. Types of Parking Spaces 7.7.3(C)(1)

Ninety-degree parking shall be limited to parking lots and the secondary frontage of buildings. 

ü

5. Parking Increase 7.8.2(C)(4)

The number of parking spaces may exceed the maximum allowed based on use if the excess spaces are provided in a parking structure. (Maximum of 30% overage Will be unnecessary if 17-ACT-02 is approved).

ü

6. Residential Visitor Parking 7.8.2(C)(8)(C)

Waive requirement for additional spaces for visitor parking.

ü

7. Streetscape Plantings on Trinity Rd 7.2.4(D)

Allow alternate planting standards as outlined in the PDP along the western side of the Trinity Road frontage from Cary Towne Blvd. to Quinard Drive.  

ü

8. Signage Chapter 9 (Signs)

Allow pole-mounted banners and electronic reader boards along Village Lane, or when not visible from a public street.  All signage must be substantially similar to examples represented in the Community Design Guidebook or LDO. 

ü

9. Median Spacing Standard Specification and Design Manual

Median spacing on Trinity Road may be reduced to the extent illustrated on the PDP.  Final median spacing shall be determined at the time of development plan review.

ü

10. Retaining Walls 7.2.8(A)(3)

Allow retaining walls in construction of stormwater devices.  Where stormwater devices are not visible from public streets, allow tiered walls up to 10 feet in height.

ü

11. Traffic Analysis 3.9.2(F)(1)(d)

Town Council would have final decision-making authority (following a quasi-judicial hearing) on development plans for the project where:

1) the height of a proposed building exceeds the number of stories listed in the Committed Elements Table; or

2) the maximum square footage allowed for any specific use, as shown in the Proposed Density Limitations table, would be exceeded

ü

12. Streetside Trail on Trinity Road 7.10.4(C)

Any portion of Trinity Road north of Walnut Creek that is built in a temporary location will not include a streetside trail.

ü

 

 

summary of process and actions to date

 

Notification
Notice of the public hearing on the proposed rezoning was mailed to property owners within 800 feet of the subject property, published on the Town’s website, and posted on the subject property.

 

Neighborhood Meeting

A neighborhood meeting for the proposed rezoning was facilitated by Planning staff at Cary Town Hall on Wednesday, July 12, 2017.  According to information provided by the applicant, approximately 23 people attended the meeting.  Questions and concerns expressed included:  phasing and timing of buildout; the future alignment of Trinity Road; potential improvements to I-40 interchange; impact on adjacent neighborhood to east, including noise, light pollution, crime, landscape buffers, location of parking deck, stormwater control, street connectivity, and property value; provision of a pedestrian connection across Cary Towne Boulevard; and the potential number of new residents and jobs.

 

next steps

 

Council may forward the case to the Planning and Zoning Board for their review and recommendation. After making their recommendation, the Planning and Zoning Board will forward the case back to Council for final action.

 

DRAFT ORDINANCE FOR CONSIDERATION

 

DRAFT ORDINANCE FOR CONSIDERATION

17-REZ-14 Fenton Mixed Use Development

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE OFFICIAL ZONING MAP OF THE TOWN OF CARY TO CHANGE THE ZONING OF 92.10 ACRES OWNED BY THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, BY REZONING FROM OFFICE AND INSTITUTIONAL (OI) AND RESOURCE/RECREATION (R/R) TO MIXED USE DISTRICT (MXD). THE EXISTING MIXED USE OVERLAY DISTRICT (MUOD) DESIGNATION WILL REMAIN.

 

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE TOWN COUNCIL OF THE TOWN OF CARY:

 

Section 1: The Official Zoning Map is hereby amended by rezoning the area described as follows:

 

PARCEL & OWNER INFORMATION

 

Property Owner

County Parcel Number (10-digit)

Real Estate ID

Acreage

State of North Carolina

State Property Office

116 W. Jones Street

Raleigh, NC  27603-1300

portion of 0774311292

portion of 0112863

92.10 ±

(portion of 273-acre parcel)

Total Area

92.10 ±

 

Section 2:

That this Property is rezoned from OI and R/R to MXD subject to the individualized development conditions set forth in the “Fenton Preliminary Development Plan” approved by the Town Council as of this date and to be filed in the Planning Department, and to all the requirements of the Cary Land Development Ordinance (LDO) and other applicable laws, standards, policies and guidelines, all of which shall constitute the zoning regulations for the approved district and are binding on the Property.

 

Section 3:

The conditions proposed by the applicant to address conformance of the development and use of the Property to ordinances and officially adopted plans, to address impacts reasonably expected to be generated by the rezoning, and to promote the public health, safety and general welfare, and accepted and approved by the Town are set forth in the “Fenton Preliminary Development Plan” approved by the Town Council as of this date and to be filed in the Planning Department.