Town of Cary
North Carolina

Rezoning

17-REZ-06 Cary Towne Center

Information

Department:PlanningSponsors:
Category:Rezoning

Speaker: Debra Grannan, Planning

 

Executive Summary:  The applicant has requested the Town consider an amendment to the Town of Cary Official Zoning map by rezoning an approximately 20-acre portion of the Cary Town Center Mall property located at 1105 Walnut Street, from General Commercial Conditional Use (GC-CU) to Mixed Use District (MXD.) There is an associated Preliminary Development Plan (PDP) which proposes a new 380,000 square foot building for retail use with a maximum height of 60 feet.  This replaces a portion of the existing building on the property. According to the Imagine Cary Community Plan Future Growth Framework Map, the subject property is located within a Destination Center, specifically the Eastern Cary Gateway.  Through the MXD process, the applicant may propose development standards unique to the subject property.  The applicant has also proposed specific development standards related to building architecture, site design and signage.

 

Preliminary Recommendation: Staff recommends approval of this rezoning request with the conditions as proposed by the applicant. See below for more information on the recommendation.

 

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

 

 

Body

NOTE: The purpose of the rezoning is to determine whether or not the land uses and densities allowed in the proposed zoning district are appropriate for the site.  Technical design standards of the Land Development Ordinance are addressed during review of the site or subdivision plan.

 

 

SUBJECT PARCELS

 

Property Owner(s)

County Parcel Number(s)
(10-digit)

Real Estate ID(s)

Deeded Acreage

Cary Venture LP

2030 Hamilton Place Blvd

Ste. 500

Chattanooga, TN

37421-6000

Portion of 0773167149

Portion of

0186351

1.74

Portion of 0773163696

Portion of 0016643

18.41

Total Area

20.15

 

 

 

 

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

 

Address

1105 Walnut Street

Schedule

 

Town Council Public Hearing

August 24  2017

Planning & Zoning Board
 

September 25, 2017

Town Council

 

TBD

Existing Zoning District(s)

General Commercial Conditional Use (GC-CU)

Existing Zoning Conditions

The 1990 rezoning Case Z-578-90-1 included multiple zoning conditions,  including but not limited to:

·         A building height elevation not to exceed the existing Hudson-Belk Store

·         A 250 foot building setback from eastern property line adjacent to the Ivy Meadows subdivision

·         Specific planting requirements for the buffer along the eastern property line.

 

Some conditions approved in 1990, such as preservation of an oak tree, which has since died, are no longer applicable.  A complete list of the previous zoning conditions is attached.

Proposed Zoning District(s)

Mixed Use District (MXD)

Proposed Zoning Conditions

As contained on the associated PDP, including, but not limited to:

·         Limiting building height to 60 feet

·         Limiting building to 380,000 square feet of retail use

·         Providing a 150 foot building setback from the eastern property line adjacent to the Ivy Meadows subdivision

·         Preservation of the landscape buffer area between the proposed building and the eastern property line

Town Limits

 

Yes

Staff Contact

Debra Grannan

Senior Planner

Debra.grannan@townofcary.org

(919) 460-4980 

Applicant

Jason Barron, Morningstar Law Group

421 Fayetteville Street, Suite 530

Raleigh, NC 27601

jbarron@morningstarlawgroup.com

Property Owner

Cary Venture, LP

2030 Hamilton Place Blvd

Ste. 500

Chattanooga, TN 37421

 

 

 

Background and SUMMARY OF REQUEST

The Cary Town Center Mall opened in 1979 with approximately 325,000 square feet of retail space, which included anchors Hudson Belk and Ivey’s.  In the early 1990s, the mall expanded to add several new retail spaces,  a food court and out-parcels, which increased the building area to  approximatley 1.1 million square feet.

Recently, multiple  tenants have vacated large poritions of the mall, including outparcels and the spaces previously occupied by Sears and Macy’s.

The site has been considered for multiple redevelopment opportunities over the past several years.  A 2014 request to rezone the property to increase building height limits on the site (in an effort to spur redevelopment) was met with oppostion from nearby residents, and the request was subsequently withdrawn. 

 

The current redevelopment propoal seeks to rezone a 20-plus-acre portion of the property in the vicinity of the former Sears building from General Commercial Conditional Use (GC-CU) to Mixed Use District, with an associated Preliminary Development Plan (PDP).  The applicant proposes to replace approximately 255,500 square feet of exsisting retail use with a new 380,000 square foot retail building.  The net increase of retail use is roughly 124,000 square feet.  The maximum building height proposed is 60 feet. 

 

The portion of the property east of Convention Drive, adjacent to Ivy Meadows subdivion, is proposed for surface parking only, and the buffer in that area is proposed to be a 50-foot wide Type A buffer.   The existing berm and 110 feet of buffer area between Ivy Meadows and the proposed new building is proposed to remain.  In terms of screening, a Type A buffer (the Town’s heaviest level of screening) would continue to be required between the Mall and the adjacent neighborhood for the entire length of the buffer.

 

 

 

A structured, table-top-style parking deck is proposed adjacent to the front façade of the proposed building, between the building and Convention Drive.  This type of parking structure allows parking in close proximity to the entraces of the building and also creates an opportunity for covered parking.

 

Adjacent Uses and Zoning:

 

North: Opposite side of Convention Drive:  Multi-Family Residential (Cary Retirement Residence) (MXD); Office (Baptist State Convention) (O&I) and Indoor Recreation (Triangle Aquatic Center) (O&I/ACCP)
 

South: Detached Residential (R-12) and Retail (GC-CU)

 

East: Detached Residential (R-12) (Ivy Meadows)
 

West: Retail (GC-CU) 

 


Streams:  Cary’s most recent GIS maps indicate possible streams in close proximity to the subject property, but not within the area proposed for redevelopment.  Field determination of such features shall be required at the time of development plan review.

 

Floodplain and Wetlands:  Cary’s most recent GIS maps do not indicate the presence of floodplain or wetlands on the subject property. Field determination of such features shall be required at the time of development plan review.

 

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, March 1, 2017.  According to the information provided by the applicant, approximately 70 people attended the meeting.  Many of those in attendance expressed an eagerness to know who the specific retailer would be and when they proposed to locate on the subject property.  There were also specific questions regarding the development standards and the site design, as summarized in the attached meeting minutes submitted by the applicant.

 

Town Council Public Hearing (August 24, 2017)

 

Staff presented a detailed description of the request and described the applicant’s proposed development standards.  The applicant provided a justification for the request.

 

During the public hearing, several nearby property owners spoke in support of the request.  Some speakers noted that while they were supportive of the proposed use, they had concerns about noise and site lighting.  One speaker noted that maintenance was needed on the existing buffer between the subject property and the Ivy Meadows neighborhood.  One council member questioned how the proposed retail use would be compatible with the adjacent mall property. 

 

The Council forwarded the request to the Planning and Zoning Board.

 

Changes since the Town Council Public Hearing

The applicant removed the modification request to increase the height of parking lot lights, and clarified that maintenance of the fence between the subject property and Ivy Meadows would continue.

 

IMAGINE CARY COMMUNITY PLAN CONFORMANCE AND ANALYSIS

 

The 2040 Imagine Cary Community Plan (CCP) is the comprehensive plan for the Town of Cary, adopted on January 24, 2017.  This report section identifies policies and elements of the Community Plan that are relevant to this rezoning case, and provides an analysis of the extent to which the proposed rezoning conforms to these plan policies and recommendations.

 

Attached is a complete listing of each policy statement in the 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 applicable to this case and has provided an analysis of those policies below.

 

Since the subject site is located within a Special Planning Area, the analyses that follow begin with a discussion of the Eastern Gateway Special Planning Area, and then continue with analyses of plan and policy conformance in chapter number order. 

 

Chapter 6, SHAPE – The Eastern Cary Gateway Special Planning Area (SPA)

 

As shown below left, the subject site is within the boundaries of the Eastern Cary Gateway (ECG) Special Planning Area (SPA).  This SPA covers the entirety of one of only five Destination Centers identified in the Cary Community Plan.  The SPA includes four Policies unique to the (ECG), as well as a special Future Growth Framework Map, below right.  On that map, the subject site is within Area #6, Mixed Use Center, Commercial-Based

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Among the SPA’s four policies, the following policy is applicable to this case:

 

Policy 1:  Foster Development of a Compact Mixed Use, and High Density Destination Center

 

Staff Observations:  The subject rezoning, with its PDP, proposes a multistory building and a multistory parking deck.  As such, the intensity and compactness of development far exceeds that of the two existing, vacant department stores and their associated surface parking lots.  Accordingly, the rezoning would further the intent of increasing development intensity within this destination center.  This policy also expresses an intent to increase the mix of uses within the entire destination center.  While the proposed rezoning retains commercial/retail uses on the site, the policy intent is focused on the entire destination center.   

 

The map below provides a zoom-in on the SPA’s Future Growth Framework Map in the vicinity of the subject site in Area 6, Mixed Use Center – Commercial-Based.

 

 

For Area 6, Mixed-Use Commercial, the SPA provides a number of specific recommendations (page 128 of the Community Plan) applicable to this case, including: 

 

SPA Land Use Recommendations for Area 6:

a.       This site is an opportunity for continuing to provide larger scale commercial uses found at lifestyle centers such as North Hills in Raleigh, and use a compact and vibrant form that encourages “park once” shopping and dining experiences.

b.      Development in this area should have a range of mixed uses with a guarantee of significant room for retail, yet flexible and responsive to the market. The following ranges provide a general guide for the mix of uses in this area: 25-50% Residential, 40-65% Retail, 10-35% Office.

Staff Observations: 

§         The subject rezoning includes an opportunity for a large scale commercial use.

§         The entire Cary Towne Center Mall site is currently retail/commercial, including the subject site.  The proposed rezoning does not advance the goal of changing the mall site’s mix of uses to 25-50% residential and 10-35% office.  However, at 20.15 acres, the subject site comprises only about a quarter of the mall’s entire 88.4 acres.  It is possible that future redevelopment of the remaining 68 acres of Cary Towne Center will provide future residential and office space.  It is also worth noting that an age-restricted multi-family residential development with 128 units was constructed on the north side of Convention Drive in 2015.

SPA Site Design Recommendations for Area 6:

a.       This site is an opportunity for continuing to use a compact and vibrant form that encourages “park once” shopping and dining experiences.

b.      Height is envisioned as predominantly 4-6 stories, but could go higher.

c.       The mall’s existing large parking lots and wide streets provide redevelopment opportunities to create small block sizes, vertically mixed uses, and vibrant public spaces.

d.      Designs will use context sensitive transitions to limit impacts on adjacent residential neighborhoods.

 

Staff Observations: 

§         With the compact, structured parking facility proposed in the PDP, the rezoning could provide the “park once” shopping and dining experience as described in the Cary Community Plan.

§         The proposed PDP does propose a multistory building, but at less than the 4-6 stories recommended in the SPA. 

§         The PDP proposes a 4,000 square foot outdoor public space on its 20.1 acres.  The actual development plan will likely be for less than 20 acres, therefore this sized gathering are is consistent with LDO requirements. There are still 68 acres remaining on the mall site for future redevelopment, where some integral and vibrant public spaces could someday be provided.

§         Regarding the opportunity to create smaller block sizes with mall redevelopment, the proposed PDP adds a new internal street along the west side of the building, proceeding south from Convention Drive at a 90 degree intersection.  In addition, an internal drive is proposed running along the north side of the building, extending west from Convention Drive. 

§         The PDP does not specify a vertical mix of uses within the proposed 380,000 sq. ft. retail building.   Minor vertical mixing could occur with single tenant retailers who offer different types of retail uses, such as restaurants or dining at street level, and general retail on other levels. 

§         Regarding transitions to adjacent uses, the key transition of interest is to the Ivy Meadows neighborhood east of the site.  Ivy Meadows is currently buffered from the mall by a 110-foot vegetated buffer and berm. 

Much of that buffer area is retained in the proposed PDP.

The existing Sears building is two stories, and the existing Macy’s is one story, and both will be replaced by the 2-story retail building proposed by the PDP.  The existing Sears building is set back 250 feet from the nearest Ivy Meadows home lot, and the Macy’s building about 470 feet.  While the PDP’s proposed 2-story retail building is set back 150 feet from the nearest Ivy Meadows home lot, that setback – including the 110-foot vegetated buffer – should still provide an adequate transition.  While the PDP building setback is closer to Ivy Meadows than the existing Sears and Macy’s buildings, the proposed use may pose less of an impact to the neighborhood than could occur with redevelopment under the existing GC-CU zoning.  For example, allowed uses under the current zoning include:  outdoor amphitheater, schools, nightclubs or bars, amusement establishments, convenience stores, auto dealers or rentals, car washes, gas stations, and auto garages. 

 

A portion of the PDD, east of Convention Drive and adjacent to the Triangle Aquatic Center (TAC) is proposed for surface parking only.  In that area, the applicant proposes a 50-foot wide Type-A buffer, which would create a dense visual screen between the parking area and the adjacent property. Existing vegetation would be preserved, and supplemented if necessary to achieve the opaque standard.

There is no existing berm, and it was not required by the 1990 rezoning case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3, WORK, Policies

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

§         Maintaining a strong and diverse local economy

§         Providing a variety of employment options 

 

Policy 1:  Grow a Sustainable and Diversifying Workforce

Policy 2Enhance Locational Appeal to Businesses and Workers

 

Staff Observations:  The proposed rezoning and PDP would enable the redevelopment of space previously occupied by two major vacated department stores.  Such redevelopment could improve the overall vitality of the mall, and therefore improve the attractiveness of Cary as a place to live, work, and shop, which in turn could help Cary attract a diverse workforce, especially millennials. 

 

While the proposed PDP does not provide urban housing options or office space for businesses and workers, there are still 68 acres at the mall, and about 95 acres north of Cary Towne Boulevard, within the destination center, currently being considered for development as part of rezoning case 17-REZ-14, Eastern Cary Gateway Mixed Use Development PDP. 

 

Chapter 4, SHOP, Policies

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

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

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

 

Policy 1:  Facilitate Redevelopment of Underperforming Commercial Centers

 

Staff Observations:

§         The site currently contains the vacated Macy’s and Sears buildings, plus some small tenant spaces within the mall.  The proposed rezoning/PDP supports Policy 1 by enabling the redevelopment of this portion of the mall.

 

§         The proposed PDP supports the intent of Policy 1 that redevelopment should occur at greater intensities than currently exists.  The current site entirely relies on surface parking, while the PDP proposes a 2-level parking deck.  The current site is split between 1- and 2-story buildings, while the proposed PDP is entirely 2-story.

 

The former Sears has about 168,000 square feet of floor space, the Macy’s an estimated 47,000 sq. ft., and the small tenant spaces on the site approximately 30,000 sq. ft., for a total of about 255,500 square feet.  The retail building in the proposed PDP has a maximum of 380,000 square feet, which represents an increase of about 55% over existing commercial floor space.

 

Policy 2:  Focus Commercial Uses within Commercial Mixed Use Centers, Destination Centers, Downtown, and Shopping Centers

 

Staff Observations:  The proposed PDP conforms to this policy, by placing a large commercial space within a destination center.

 

Policy 3:  Support the Development of a Limited Number of Destination Centers

 

Staff Observations:  See the discussions above under “Chapter 6 - Eastern Cary Gateway SPA.”

 

Chapter 5, ENGAGE: Goals from the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Master Plan

 

Engage: PRCR Plan Goal 2 - Provide Cary citizens with a highly functional, safe, well-maintained greenway network that provides recreation, transportation, and education opportunities and wildlife benefits.

 

The Convention Drive Street-Side Trail is proposed along the outside of Convention Drive from Cary Towne Boulevard to Walnut Street.  This greenway will ultimately connect to three other greenway trails linking it to the larger town-wide network, and is identified in the PRCR Master Plan as one of five primary, cross-town trail corridors.  The northern portion of the Convention Drive Street-Side Trail (Cary Towne Blvd to Triangle Aquatics Center) is existing except for the portion along the Baptist State Convention parcel. 

 

Per Cary’s LDO, the street-side trail along the subject property road frontage is required to be constructed with this development.  The developer has indicated that construction of the trail to Town standards may require installation of a retaining wall along portions of Convention Drive.  They have also indicated that the 3rd lane on Convention Drive may not be necessary and that it may be removed to make way for street-side trail construction that would require little to no retaining wall. 

 

Staff and the applicant considered a possible option of installing a 6-foot wide sidewalk and a 2-way cycle track (buffered bike lane) in lieu of the standard 10’ street-side trail; however, the applicant determined that there may not be sufficient land area to accommodate this type of design. Staff will continue to evaluate this potential design opportunity at the time of Development Plan Review.

 

Chapter 6, SHAPE Policies

 

The Town’s SHAPE policies guide future growth by creating the geographic development framework that best achieves the vision and policies contained in the other plan chapters, particularly LIVE, WORK, SHOP, ENGAGE, MOVE, and SERVE.

 

Policy 3:  Encourage Mixed-Use Development

 

Staff Observations:  The mix of uses recommended by the Community Plan for the site was discussed above under the heading “Chapter 6 - Eastern Cary Gateway SPA,” and conformance analysis was provided in the Staff Observations following the heading “SPA Land Use Recommendations for Area 6.”   

 

Policy 4:  Support and Facilitate Redevelopment and Infill Development

 

Staff Observations:  The proposed rezoning and PDP clearly conform to the intent of this important policy, since the proposal enables redevelopment of two vacant department stores. 

 

Policy 6:  Provide Appropriate Transitions between Land Uses

 

Staff Observations:  The subject of transitions was discussed above under “Chapter 6 - Eastern Cary Gateway SPA,” in the Staff Observations following the heading “SPA Site Design Recommendations for Area 6.”

 

Town-Wide Future Growth Framework Map

 

The Eastern Gateway SPA includes its own specific SPA Future Growth Framework Map, which provides more detail than the town-wide Future Growth Framework Map on page 93 of the Community Plan.  The town-wide map designates the subject site as being part of the large Destination Center that encompasses the entire SPA.  Destination Centers are described on page 106 of the Community Plan as:

 

“Cary’s premiere mixed use centers that include an integrated mix of commercial (shopping, services), office, and residential uses, arranged in a walkable pattern with an active pedestrian realm where buildings front streets. Destination Centers are intended to contain the greatest development intensities found in Cary, and be regional destinations…

“Uses may be mixed both vertically (within multi-story buildings) and horizontally (adjacent sites) within the center, however, by far the greatest emphasis should be on vertical mixing, with ground floor retail, and offices and housing on upper floors…”

 

The chapter includes the bulleted items in the text box to the right. 

 

 

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

 

The subject property is accessed via shared driveways on three roadways, Cary Town Boulevard, Maynard Road, and Walnut Street.  Convention Drive is currently located on the perimeter of the site to the north and east.  Portions of Convention Drive are public right-of-way, where the road connects to Cary Town Boulevard on the north and Walnut Street to the south.

 

Cary Towne Boulevard

Existing Cross Section:  4-lane divided roadway with no curb and gutter.  The right-of-way increases significantly along Cary Towne Blvd as you head east, starting at 160’ of right-of-way east of Maynard Road and increasing to 300’ right-of-way east of Convention Drive.

 

Future Cross Section:

§         Road:  6-lane median divided roadway with 130’ of right-of-way (to accommodate 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

 

SE Maynard Road

Existing Cross Section:   5-lane roadway plus a southbound right-turn lane. The road is constructed with curb and gutter and sidewalks on both sides of the roadway.  The right-of-way narrows from 100’ of right-of-way to 86’ of right-of-way adjacent to the Bank of America parcel on the west side of the road. 

 

Future Cross Section:

The cross section is currently designed in accordance with the CCP for roadway width, sidewalks and bike lanes.

 

Walnut Street

Existing Cross Section:  4-lane divided roadway with curb and gutter and sidewalks on both sides.  West of the Cary Towne Center intersection there is 100’ of right-of-way.  East of the intersection there is 90’ of right-of-way.

 

Future Cross Section:

§         Road:  6-lane median divided roadway with 125’ of right-of-way

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

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

 

Convention Drive

Existing Cross Section:  3-lane roadway with curb and gutter.  Sidewalk exists on the north side of the roadway from Cary Towne Boulevard to Triangle Aquatic Center.  The majority of the road is private, except on either end where the road connects to Cary Towne Boulevard on the north end and Walnut Street on the south.  Each segment contains 60’ of right-of-way.  

 

Future Cross Section:

·         Road:  The majority of the road is private so any additional improvements will be determined by the developer.  Currently no road improvements are planned for the two segments dedicated to the town.

·         Sidewalks: A 10-foot street side trail on the east side of Convention Drive is proposed.

·         Bicycle Lanes: Not required.

 

Status of Planned Improvements by the Town of Cary: None planned

Transit

The Cary Town Center Mall property is currently served by both a GoCary Fixed Route and a GoTriangle transit route.  A future GoCary route is proposed along Walnut Street and is anticipated within the next three to five years.  Adjustments to the routing, as a result of new development, will need to be evaluated, both with this project and adjacent properties.

 

 

 

 

Note: Streets in Cary are typically constructed or widened in increments, with developers generally completing the half-width section along their frontage when the property is developed.  Construction of off-site improvements are not required but may be voluntarily offered as zoning conditions by applicants for rezoning cases.  In some cases construction of off-site improvements may be required by NCDOT.

 

Proposed Development Standards

 

The applicant proposes certain development standards related to building architecture, site design, flags and signage.  While these may deviate from those typically found in Cary’s Land Development Ordinance (LDO), a Preliminary Development Plan in a mixed use overlay district allows flexibility for applicants to request different 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.

 

Please note, that while a number of the requests reference the name of a specific retailer, the identity of the retailer is not a zoning condition.

 

Below is a summary of the proposed development standards in comparison to the applicable LDO standards.  A detailed list, which includes maps showing various site features and the applicant’s justifications, is contained on the cover sheet and supplemental pages of the PDP and is attached to this report.

 

Request

LDO Standard

Parking Reduction of 34.2%

Proposed: 985 spaces

1,497 spaces

(1/250 Square Feet)

 

10-foot wide streetscape adjacent to Convention Drive

15-foot streetscape for local roads

Reduction of spacing between street intersections to 125 feet; a second location with spacing of less than 100 feet is being evaluated on the Preliminary Development Plan

 

150 feet of separation required

Keep existing overhead utility lines above ground in the vicinity of various  offsite road improvements

Moved or installed underground

Sidewalk along only one side of Convention Drive

Sidewalks required on both sides

Parking Lot Lights to extend 40-foot above grade (including a four- foot base)

37- foot height limit, with a raised foundation

Provide foundation plantings along 20% of all non-loading and non-service sides of non-residential buildings

Required along 50% of all non-loading and non-service sides of non-residential buildings

Architectural & Signage Modifications

 

 

Building Materials: Prefinished, high-quality, composite metal wall panels on a two-foot tall concrete base

75% Masonry Material (Brick, stone, concrete block or other similar material or veneers)

 

Architectural Design

The applicant proposes a certain color palette and prototypical design which distinguishes the specific tenant from other retail users.

 

There are some elements of the Cary Appearance Manual standards, but the building design would be unique to Cary.

 

Note:  the applicant has referenced the importance of the color palette as part of their request; the Town’s Ordinance sets limits on the number of colors that may be used but does not restrict the specific hue. 

Specific architectural standards regarding the building façade related to:

·         Rhythm

·         Articulation

·         Expression

·         Proportion

·         Scale

·         Composition

 

Note:  The proposed façade complies with the Town’s standards for Transparency.

Increase in wall sign area by approximately 50% to 3,632 square feet

Limited to 1,989 square feet

(Three square feet of sign area per linear foot of building frontage.)

Wall Sign Types:

Mix of different sign types including a permanent, externally illuminated panel with 675 square feet of display area; including ability to change message.

Uniformity on similar facades required

Flags on flagpoles: Height of 35 feet

 

 

·         Three flagpoles with two flags each

·         Individual flag size 40 sq. ft.

·         Overall height 25 feet

Feather Flag Circles

·         Two locations with eight individual flags at each location

·         Individual flag size 117 sq. ft. (each)

·         Overall height 40 feet

 

Not allowed

Ground Signs: Welcome  and commercial directional signage proposed at multiple locations

Requires setbacks of 50-feet from right of way and limits on the number of signs, size, and height

 

 

 

Landscape Buffer: 

The proposed PDP retains a large portion of the existing buffer adjacent to the Ivy Meadows Subdivision.  This buffer area may be impacted by the construction of a street side trail and retaining wall in the vicinity.

 

A portion of the site, east of Convention Drive and south of the Triangle Aquatic Center is proposed for surface parking.  The buffer between that area and the Ivy Meadows neighborhood is proposed to be a 50-foot wide Type-A buffer.   Existing vegetation would be preserved and supplemental landscaping may be required to provide the highest level of screening required by the LDO.

 

The existing opaque wooden fence located within the buffer area would be maintained.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Streetscape:  The applicant has proposed a 10-foot wide streetscape along Convention Drive.  The LDO typical standard calls for a 15-foot streetscape to be required adjacent to Convention Drive, which is a local road. There is no existing streetscape in that area.

 

Open Space:  The applicant has proposed a 4,000-square foot gathering space near the front entrance of the business. 

 

Traffic: 

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 commercial uses required a traffic study. A final Traffic Analysis Report (17-TAR-419) was prepared by the Town’s on-call traffic engineering consultant VHB, dated February 27, 2017.  In accordance with the LDO, the study has a 5-year build-out period, which is year 2021.  Findings of the study are as follows:

 

Project Description (assumed for purposes of the traffic study)

 

              Replace 255,554 square foot (SF) of existing retail with 380,000 SF of new retail for a net increase of 124,446 SF

 

Land Use

Weekday Traffic

AM Peak Hour (vehicles/hour)

PM Peak Hour

(vehicles/hour)

Saturday Midday Peak

General Retail

(Land Use Code 820)

7,698

365

732

1,189

 

Intersections Studied

 

The traffic study evaluated a total of 20 intersections within one (1) mile of the site boundary per LDO standards. A list of these intersections is included in an attached copy of the Executive Summary of the Traffic Analysis Report.

 

The study evaluated AM and PM peak hour operations at each of the intersections studied for four analysis year scenarios:  Existing (2016) Conditions; Background (2021) Conditions; Build (2021) Conditions; and Improved (2021) Conditions (or Build conditions with improvements).

 

For Background Traffic (2021) Conditions, one (1) potential development (E. Chatham Street Apartments; 16-TAR-407) in the vicinity was 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 site is located along E. Chatham Street, north of WakeMed Soccer Park. In addition, the vacant portion of the Cary Towne Center was also included in the Background Traffic (2021) Conditions.

 

The Executive Summary of the Traffic Analysis Report includes information on level of service 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).

 

§         Intersection of Walnut Street and Cary Towne Center/Cary Commons (signalized) (Applicant has offered these improvements as zoning conditions)

o       Modify the southbound approach to provide a shared through/right-turn lane and two exclusive left-turn lanes (one inbound lane may be eliminated).

o       Widen the westbound approach to provide an exclusive right-turn lane that extends back to the AT&T Entrance (~350 feet of storage length).

o       Extend the exclusive left-turn lane on the eastbound approach to provide at least 250 feet of storage length and appropriate taper.

o       Modify traffic signal at this intersection based on the Town of Cary and NCDOT’s design standards to accommodate the lane geometrics changes.

 

§         Intersection of Walnut Street and AT&T/Cary Towne Center Entrance (unsignalized) (Applicant has offered these improvements as zoning conditions)

o       Widen the westbound approach to provide an exclusive right-turn lane with at least 100 feet of storage and appropriate taper.

 

§         Intersection of Cary Towne Boulevard and I-40 EB Ramps (unsignalized) (Applicant has offered these improvements as zoning conditions)

o       Install a traffic signal with a CCTV camera and connections to the Town’s Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) that meets the Town of Cary and NCDOT’s engineering design standards.

o       Extend the outside receiving lane on Cary Towne Boulevard to provide a full width lane with a minimum length of 1,000 feet and a merging taper based on the Town of Cary and NCDOT’s engineering design standards.

 

§         Intersection of Cary Towne Boulevard and I-40 WB Ramps (unsignalized) (Applicant has offered these improvements as zoning conditions)

o       Install a traffic signal with a CCTV camera and connections to the Town’s ATMS that meets the Town of Cary and NCDOT’s engineering design standards.

 

§         Intersection of Cary Towne Boulevard and Convention Drive/Principal Lane (signalized) (Applicant has offered these improvements as zoning conditions)

o       Restripe the northbound approach to provide a shared through/left-turn lane and dual right-turn lanes.

o       Extend the two exclusive left-turn lanes on the westbound approach to provide at least 500 feet of storage length and appropriate taper.

 

(Applicant has not offered these improvements as zoning conditions)

o       In order to fully utilize the dual left-turn lanes on the westtbound approach, modifications to the inbound lanes on Convention Drive should be considered by eliminating closely-spaced cross access and weaving conflicts.

 

§         Intersection of SE Maynard Road and Walnut Street (signalized) (Applicant has not offered these improvements as zoning conditions)

o       Widen the southbound approach to provide a second left-turn lane with at least 325 feet of storage and appropriate taper.

o       Modify traffic signal at this intersection based on the Town of Cary and NCDOT’s design standards to accommodate the lane geometrics changes.

 

Staff Comment Regarding Improvements Offered by Applicant

 

All of the above improvements that were indicated as offered by the applicant were also listed on the Cover Sheet of the Preliminary Development Plan (PDP).

 

§         Internal Traffic Circulation

As shown on the PDP, the applicant has offered to install a traffic signal, internal to the site at the intersection of Convention Drive and Cary Towne Center’s loop road. This signal is proposed to be located in close proximity (~170 feet south) to the Cary Towne Boulevard/Convention Drive intersection, which is also currently signalized. With significant increases expected to the left-turning traffic from Cary Towne Boulevard onto Convention Drive, internal traffic circulation would become critical during the weekday and Saturday peak hours. Improvements at the intersection of Convention Drive and loop road must ensure queue backups will not extend onto Cary Towne Boulevard.

 

Since this intersection was not analyzed in the traffic study, staff believes additional analysis and review would be required to fully evaluate the proposed geometry and signal operations at the intersection of Convention Drive and the loop road. Staff has requested additional information during the PDP’s review. Additionally, the proposed improvements on the loop road should also make accommodations for pedestrian infrastructure that would be installed in future phases of Cary Towne Center redevelopment.

 

·         Improvements Offered by the Applicant. 

The applicant has offered to complete transportation improvements at five (5) of the six (6) study intersections recommended in the traffic study. The proposed improvements on Cary Towne Boulevard would also benefit the future phases of the Cary Towne Center redevelopment. The improvements offered on the PDP mitigate several impacts identified in the traffic study and therefore, appear to be reasonable.

 

Stormwater

 

The Town of Cary has specific stormwater and floodplain management requirements for new development that must be addressed during the development plan review process to satisfy Cary’s Land Development Ordinance. These development requirements are established to mitigate potential flooding impacts and to enhance water quality of our streams while protecting current and future residents of Cary.  These protections are provided comprehensively as follows:

         During development plan review, address improving stormwater and floodplain management by addressing the potential for replacing aging and inadequate infrastructure, as allowed and applicable.

 

         During construction, provide sedimentation and erosion control measures to prevent transportation of sediment from the construction site.

 

         In perpetuity, limit the stormwater runoff from new development to pre-development site conditions with approved stormwater control measures (SCM’s) that restrict stormwater flow leaving the site to engineered limits.

 

         Upon completion of post-construction SCM’s and prior to final acceptance of the new development, require independent certification that they will function as designed, and require provisions for the ongoing maintenance of the SCM’s, to  protect quantity and enhance the quality of stormwater leaving the site in perpetuity.

 

Preliminary staff recommendation

 

Based on the analysis in this staff report, Town Staff’s preliminary recommendation is for approval of the rezoning request with the conditions as proposed by the applicant.

 

Rationale for Recommendation

§         The specific development standards proposed by the applicant for the subject property, especially related to building architecture and signage, represent a notable paradigm shift from other Cary developments. This property is located within a Special Planning Area, The Eastern Cary Gateway; therefore, the town has the opportunity to consider the design elements of this project on an individual basis, without applying new standards on a town-wide basis.  As applied to this project, the architecture and signage proposed are appropriate to the proposed use of the property and  establish sign size in relation to the scale of the lot and the building on which the signs are placed.

§         The proposed Preliminary Development plan will likely promote economic development and the value of commercial properties in close proximity to the site.

§         Preservation of a significant perimeter buffer area between the subject property and adjacent residential property provides a comfortable transition between uses and maintains an attractive community appearance.  

§         Staff’s analysis of the rezoning request finds the request to be consistent with the policies of the Cary Community Plan, specifically policies found in the chapters for WORK, SHOP, SHAPE, and MOVE.

§         The proposed rezoning and PDP would enable the redevelopment of space vacated by two major department stores, at greater intensities than currently exist, and within a destination center.