Town of Cary
North Carolina

Rezoning

17-REZ-14A Amendment of Fenton Mixed Use Rezoning Ordinance

Information

Department:Planning and Development ServicesSponsors:
Category:Amendment

Attachments

  1. 17-REZ-14 Signed Ordinance

Speaker: Rob Wilson, Planning and Development Services

 

Executive Summary:  On January 25, 2018 Council approved a rezoning ordinance for the Fenton Mixed Use Development, which required that Columbia Development Group, LLC, purchase the property from the State of North Carolina before the zoning would become effective.  Columbia has requested that this requirement be amended to permit purchase by either Columbia or a related entity in which Columbia has an ownership interest and an operational role.

 

Staff Recommendation: Staff recommends approval of the proposed amendment to the rezoning ordinance.  See below for more information on the recommendation.

 

Planning and Zoning Board Recommendation: [Updated 9/25/18 – The P&Z Board recommended approval unanimously (7-0).] The P&Z Board will make its determination regarding consistency with the Cary Community Plan at its meeting on September 24, 2018.  This staff report will be updated to include the Board’s recommendation by 5:00pm, Tuesday September 25th, 2018.

Body

Summary of Council Public Hearing:

The applicant’s request was presented to the Town Council at a public hearing on August 23, 2018.  There were no speakers, and no comments or questions from Council.

 

Summary of Planning and Zoning Board Meeting:

This staff report will be updated to include the Board’s recommendation following its meeting on September 24, 2018.   

 

Background

 

On January 25, 2018, Council approved Rezoning Ordinance 17-REZ-14 Fenton Mixed Use Development MXD district (“Fenton District”), which rezoned approximately 92 acres of land adjacent to WakeMed Soccer Park, north of Cary Towne Boulevard, and near the interchange of Cary Towne Boulevard and Interstate 40 (the “Property”).  The site is one of the last remaining large undeveloped parcels of land in the Eastern Cary Gateway Special Planning Area (SPA). 

 

The Preliminary Development Plan (PDP) associated with the Fenton District sets forth many details and components of the proposed development of the Property such as (1) mixed-use development designed around an ‘L-shaped’ main street where residential and office uses are located on top of ground-floor retail uses, (2) a curvilinear grid pattern of streets with a variety of pedestrian corridors, (3) multiple parking decks, with buildings or other appropriate materials wrapping around and screening these decks, (4) several office buildings and one or more hotels, and (5) street-level retail including restaurants, hotels, institutional, and multifamily residential units. 

Development in the Fenton District is also required to adhere to a “Design Guidebook” which sets forth special and context specific development standards relating to building architecture, site design, and signage, and requires that development of buildings, structures, hardscape, site furnishings, lighting, screening, landscaping, signage, and public art be in accord with the Design Guidebook.

 

 

One of the conditions of the Fenton Preliminary Development Plan is that a development agreement must be approved by the Town Council prior to the submittal of a detailed development plan.  The developer has been working in good faith with Town staff on this requirement, and we anticipate that a development agreement will be ready for a public hearing and Council’s consideration this fall.

 

Proposed Ordinance Amendment

 

The Property is currently owned by the State of North Carolina.  Columbia Development Group, LLC, (“Columbia”) has a purchase agreement with the State for the Property.  Therefore, the currently adopted Rezoning Ordinance included the following provision:

 

“This Ordinance shall become effective upon the sale and closing of the Property to Columbia Development Group, LLC, as evidenced by a deed properly recorded in the Wake County Register of Deeds Office.  If that sale and closing does not occur prior to June 30, 2019, this zoning ordinance is of no effect.”

 

After adoption of the Rezoning Ordinance, Columbia entered into discussions with a potential development partner.  At this time, Columbia anticipates creating a new entity, which will purchase the Property instead of Columbia.  Columbia, its owners, managers, or principals will have an ownership interest and an operational role in the new entity.  Therefore, Columbia requests that Section 4 of the Rezoning Ordinance be amended to read as follows (new text is underlined, text to be deleted is shown with strikeout): 

 

This Ordinance shall become effective upon the sale and closing of the Property to Columbia Development Group, LLC or a related entity in which Columbia Development Group, LLC, its owners, managers, or principals own a portion of the entity and participate in operations of the entity, including significant involvement, responsibility, and supervisory authority in the development of the Property known as The Fenton District.  Such sale and closing shall be as evidenced by a deed properly recorded in the Wake County Register of Deeds Office, with a recorded certificate from Columbia Development Group, LLC that the requisite ownership and operational control interests have been satisfied.   If that sale and closing does not occur prior to June 30, 2019, this zoning ordinance is of no effect.

 

Procedure

 

State law requires that a public hearing be held for any amendment to a zoning ordinance, and that all zoning amendments be referred to the Planning and Zoning Board for a determination of consistency with the Comprehensive Plan. As the applicant has not requested any changes to the Town’s zoning map, no neighborhood meeting is required.  Notice of the public hearing on the proposed rezoning was published on the Town’s website and posted on the subject property.

 

Discussion 

 

The zoning ordinance amendment does not propose any changes regarding allowed uses, intensity of uses, or to any of the conditions included in the Fenton District or approved PDP.  The only proposed change is an amendment to modify the identity of the entity that must close on the property and activate the already approved zoning ordinance.  Columbia Development Group, LLC, or its owners, managers or principals would still be required to have an ownership and operational role in the owning entity for the MXD zoning to be utilized.

 

Both the Planning and Zoning Board and the Town Council unanimously determined that the original Fenton Mixed Use rezoning was consistent with the Imagine Cary Community Plan.  Since this proposed change is technical in nature, staff believes that the previously-established consistency is maintained and recommends approval of the request.

 

Next Steps

 

The Town Council may take final action on the proposed amendment to the rezoning ordinance.  If the amendment is approved, the development entity must obtain approval of a Development Agreement from the Town Council.  Once a Development Agreement has been approved, the development entity may submit and obtain approval for a Development Plan for the subject property prior to commencing construction of infrastructure or submitting requests for building permits.