Town of Cary
North Carolina

Referred to Planning & Zoning
Mar 14, 2019 6:30 PM

18-REZ-29, 2832 Carpenter Upchurch Road


Department:Planning and Development ServicesSponsors:

Speaker: Debra Grannan, Planning and Development Services


Executive Summary: The applicant has requested the Town amend the Town of Cary Official Zoning Map by rezoning approximately 13.82 acres, located at 2832 Carpenter Upchurch Road, from General Commercial Conditional Use (GC-CU) (12.72 acres) and Residential Multi-Family Conditional (RMF-C) (1.10 acres) to Residential Multi-Family Conditional Use (RMF-CU) with zoning conditions that include limiting land use to townhouses with a maximum density of eight dwelling units per acre and providing public streets.


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 Determination: A written determination of the Planning and Zoning Board regarding consistency with the Imagine Cary Community Plan will be provided to Town Council following the P&Z Board meeting.


NOTE: The purpose of the rezoning is to determine whether 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.


Location of the site is shown outlined in a bold gray boundary on the vicinity map above.  Existing Cary Town Limits are shaded dark yellow.  Click here or on the map to see surrounding development activity.




Property Owner

County Parcel Numbers
(10-digit) (PIN)

Real Estate IDs (REID)



Olde Carpenter LLC

1933 Morrisville Carpenter Rd

Cary, NC 27519





2832 Carpenter Upchurch Road

13.82 acres (portion of 25.37-acre parcel)

Total Area






Location of Subject Properties

Southeast corner of the intersection of Morrisville Parkway and Carpenter Upchurch Road


Town Council
Public Hearing

March 14, 2019

Planning & Zoning Board

Town Council

Existing Zoning District(s)

Base zoning districts:  General Commercial – Conditional Use (GC-CU) and; Residential Multi-Family – Conditional (RMF-C);

Overlay zoning districts:  Morrisville Parkway Mixed Use Overlay District (MUOD) with an Activity Center Concept Plan (ACCP)

Existing Zoning Conditions

Base zoning district conditions case 99-REZ-96, approved in July 1999 included conditions related to:

§         Right-of-way dedication;

§         Master Sign Plan completion prior to site plan;

§         Completion of a master street tree planting plan;

and for the GC-CU area conditions relate to:

§         Development of a concept plan for the site;

§         Limits on the maximum sizes for retail tenants;

§         Architectural compatibility;

§         Buffers to the south and east;

§         Driveway and pedestrian connections;

§         Outdoor public gathering space;

and for the RMF-CU area there are conditions related to:

§         Pedestrian and driveway connections.


The Mixed Use Overlay District provides alternative zoning options, via the approved Parkway Activity Center Concept Plan (ACCP), if the owner elects not to develop under the base zoning.  Under the ACCP, the site can be used for:

§         Up to 133,000 sq. ft. of commercial uses, and

§         Up to 125,000 sq. ft. of office/institutional uses,

but subject to the conceptual site layout illustrated in the ACCP, including locations of buildings, roads, and parking.

Proposed Zoning District(s)

Base zoning district:  Residential Multi-Family – Conditional Use (RMF-CU);


Mixed Use Overlay District: No change to the boundaries of the Mixed Use Overlay District (MUOD).


Activity Center Concept Plan:  Removal of the site from the Parkway Activity Center Concept Plan (ACCP).

Proposed Zoning Conditions

1.      Uses shall be limited to townhouses and neighborhood recreation.

2.      The maximum density shall be eight (8) dwelling units per acre.

3.      There shall be a minimum of 5,000 square feet of Community Gathering space.

4.      All streets shall be designed and constructed to public street standards and shall be offered for dedication to the public.


Town Limits


Staff Contact

Debra Grannan, Assistant Planning Director

(919) 460-4980


Olde Carpenter LLC

Applicant’s Contact

Glenda Toppe

Glenda S. Toppe & Associates
(919) 605-7390




This rezoning request applies to a 13.82-acre portion of a 25.37-acre parcel located at the southeast quadrant of the intersection of Morrisville Parkway and Carpenter Upchurch Road.  There is a single circa 1950 home on the site. 

View looking north on Carpenter Upchurch Road, with the existing driveway into the site,

and the existing ca. 1950 farmhouse in the distance.


The site is currently split-zoned, with most of the site zoned General Commercial Conditional Use (GC-CU, 12.72 acres), and a small portion at the southeast corner zoned Residential Multi-Family Conditional (RMF-C, 1.1 acres).  This zoning dates from July 1999.


The site is also located within a Mixed Use Overlay District (MUOD).  The MUOD provides alternative overlay zoning options via the Parkway Activity Center Concept Plan (ACCP), approved in August 2004.  However, for the subject site, the ACCP reflects the commercial or office uses that are possible under the base district’s GC-CU, while providing additional details for streetscapes, buffers, interior roads, and other features. With the Multi-family residential designations on the plan, adjacent parcels may be developed as either residential multi-family or townhomes.


The Master Use Plan from the Parkway Activity Center Concept Plan, approved in 2004.  For reference, the subject site is outlined in the bold black dashed line. 


The applicants’ request is to rezone the site to Residential Multi-family Conditional Use District (RMFCU), and to remove the site from the Parkway Activity Center Concept Plan. The proposed zoning conditions would limit the allowed uses to townhouses and neighborhood recreation, with a maximum density of eight dwellings per acre, and with a Community Gathering Space of at least 5,000 square feet. 


The primary findings bearing on this case include: 

1.      The proposed rezoning is consistent with the Imagine Cary Community Plan’s Future Growth Framework Map, which designates the site as Mixed Neighborhood

The 1996 Land Use Plan envisioned a shopping center-anchored mixed-use center at this location.  In response to market changes in this part of Cary since 1996, the current Imagine Cary Community Plan recommends this area be part of a traditional neighborhood.  As a result, the existing GC-CU zoning is no longer consistent with the comprehensive plan, while the requested zoning is consistent. 

2.      The proposed rezoning is consistent with the Community Plan’s LIVE and WORK policies related to:

§     Providing more housing choices for all residents, and      

§     Providing for more housing options in new neighborhoods.   

§     Growing a sustainable and diversifying workforce.    


site characteristics and context


Existing zoning around the site

Locations of potential streams and buffers shown with blue shading


Adjacent Uses and Zoning: 

§         Properties north of the site are zoned Office & Institutional – Conditional Use (OICU) and Planned Development District Major (PDD Major) (the Carpenter Village PDD).

§         Properties to the east, including the eastern portion of the subject parcel not included in this rezoning request, are zoned Residential Multifamily – Conditional/Conforming (RMF-C).

§         Properties west of Carpenter Upchurch Road are zoned Office, Research, and Development (ORD) and Residential-40 (R-40).

§         The large Heritage Pines subdivision that’s located immediately south of the site is zoned Transitional Residential – Conditional Use (TR-CU).  In addition, there is a single half-acre parcel zoned Residential-20 (R-20) at the southwest corner of the site.


Streams:  Cary’s most recent GIS maps do not indicate any streams, floodplain, or wetlands on the subject property. A 100-foot river buffer might slightly overlap the easternmost corner of the site.  Field determination at the time of development plan review will be required to determine whether the site contains any wetlands. 


sUMMARY OF Process and Actions to Date


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. Required mailed notification distances are noted in the table below; the Town exceeds the minimum mandated by state law and the Land Development Ordinance (LDO).


Mailed Notice Requirements

North Carolina

General Statute

Town of Cary
Land Development Ordinance

Town of Cary


Abutting properties

Properties within 100 feet

Properties within 800 feet



Neighborhood Meeting, January 9, 2019

A neighborhood meeting for this case was facilitated by Planning staff at Cary Town Hall on January 9, 2019. According to information submitted by the applicant, approximately 20 nearby property owners attended the meeting, the majority of whom were residents of the Heritage Pines subdivision to the south.  Neighbors generally expressed support for townhouses, as opposed to a shopping center or multifamily development, as could occur under the existing zoning.  Some neighbors asked about the nature of the future buffer between the site and Heritage Pines, the amount of open space to be retained, guest and spillover parking, traffic, pedestrian and bicycle safety, and safe pedestrian crossings on Morrisville Parkway near the elementary school. 


Neighbors also had questions about vehicular access points, intersections, traffic, parking locations, stormwater management, site amenities and recreation, the provision of bike lanes on Carpenter Upchurch Road, traffic and queuing at the entrance to Green Hope High School, and what could be built on the site if the rezoning does not occur.  The comments are summarized in the attached meeting minutes submitted by the applicant.


The applicant’s responses to the justification questions contained in the application form are also available in an attachment. Please note that these statements are that of the applicant and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Town of Cary.



cary community plan conformance and analysis


Attached is a list of each policy statement in the 2040 Imagine Cary Community Plan.  Based on staff review and analysis of the descriptions and detailed intent of the Plan’s policies, staff has identified policies and 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 Town’s LIVE policies respond to the housing challenges and opportunities facing Cary by:

§         Providing a variety of housing choices

§         Meeting new household needs

§         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)


Staff Observations:


Regarding Policy 2, Provide More Housing Choices for All ResidentsThis policy focuses on providing more housing choices in Cary for the types of households that may desire products other than large detached homes, such as singles, couples and empty-nesters, seniors, and young families.  Thus, by adding townhouses to the housing mix in this area, the proposed rezoning could further this policy.


Regarding Policy 3, Provide for More Housing Options in New NeighborhoodsCary’s northwestern growth area is an area where “new neighborhoods” are being created.  This policy encourages a mix of housing options within the newly-emerging neighborhoods in Cary, so that residents can find housing options at different stages in their life cycle, without having to leave their part of the community.  Adding townhouse options in this area could provide additional opportunities for young families, empty-nesters, and small households, thereby supporting this policy.



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 

Applicable policies:

§         Grow a Sustainable and Diversifying Workforce (Policy 1)


Staff Observations


Policy 1, Grow a Sustainable and Diversifying Workforce.  The proposed rezoning supports this policy, since it will increase the supply of housing for the growing RTP workforce, providing townhouse options for singles, millennials, and small households. 



Parks Recreation and Cultural Resources Master Plan Goals

Applicable plan goals include:

§         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)


Staff Observations:


According to the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Facilities Master Plan, there are no parks within or adjacent to the site.


Carpenter Park is located approximately one mile north of the subject site.  The town also owns property approximately 0.5 miles north of the site at 1928 Morrisville Carpenter Road, in the Carpenter National Register Historic District, which contains the historic C. F. Ferrell Store building, warehouses and land that may be programed at a future date for public use.


There are no proposed greenway or street-side trails adjacent to or within the site.


Street-side trail is proposed along the north side of Morrisville Parkway and the Kit Creek Greenway extends north from Morrisville Parkway north of the site.  Improved pedestrian signals and a crosswalk will facilitate access to the trails from the subject site.  These improvements are being constructed with the Morrisville Parkway and Carpenter Upchurch intersection improvements currently underway.  



Historic Preservation Master Plan Goals

Preserve, Protect and Maintain Cary’s Historic Resources (Goal 2)

Preserve Historic Contexts (Goal 3)


There are no documented historic resources on this site. 



shape Future Growth Framework

As can be seen in the map below, the subject site is located within an area designated as Traditional Neighborhood on the Future Growth Framework Map.  The site is also immediately adjacent to an area designated as Mixed Neighborhood, starting on the north side of Morrisville Parkway. 


Traditional Neighborhoods are typified by large, master planned communities, most of which contain some degree of housing mix.  While detached housing predominates, Traditional Neighborhoods often include moderate amounts of other housing types, such as small lot single family, patio homes, townhomes, and multifamily, but these tend to be sited in discrete “pods.”  Traditional Neighborhoods provide a transition outward from Cary’s Heritage Neighborhoods in the original core of Cary,


The Mixed Neighborhood development category generally encompasses and describes neighborhoods and housing located in the northwestern part of Cary’s planning area, within about 2-3 miles of Research Triangle Park.  Mixed Neighborhoods, along with Suburban Neighborhoods, also provide an outward transition from Traditional Neighborhoods. 


Mixed Neighborhoods are intended to have substantial variety in housing types, unit sizes, lot sizes, and densities.  The predominant land use types will typically be a mix of detached homes, attached dwellings and townhomes, and multi-family housing.  


Staff Observations: 

The proposed townhomes are a housing type one can expect to find in a Traditional Neighborhood at this type of location, as the site (a) fronts on a major thoroughfare; (b) is immediately adjacent to an area designated as Mixed Neighborhood; and (c) is next to existing townhouse developments, both to the south and north.   

The existing GC-CU and ACCP zoning does not conform to the Imagine Cary Future Growth Framework.  The GC-CU and ACCP zoning dates from 1999 and 2004, when the now-defunct Land Use Plan envisioned a shopping-center anchored mixed-use activity center around the intersection of Morrisville Parkway and Carpenter Upchurch Road.  The current Future Growth Framework reflects the fact that development patterns and market changes since 2004 have made the site no longer viable for a shopping center, and hence no longer viable for a mixed-use activity center.  The proposed rezoning aligns better with the Cary Community Plan’s Future Growth Framework than does the existing GC-CU zoning. 



The Town’s SHAPE policies guide future growth by:

§         Supporting the Town’s economic development efforts

§         Efficiently using existing and planned infrastructure

§         Ensuring the Town’s fiscal health

§         Maintaining the high quality of development found today

Applicable policies:

§         Provide Appropriate Transitions Between Land Uses (Policy 6)


Staff Observations Regarding Policy 6: 

The townhouses proposed by the rezoning are compatible with adjacent development in the area, which consists of townhomes south of the site in Heritage Pines, and townhomes north of the site in the Olde Carpenter Townhomes development. 

Adjacent to the site’s southern boundary, there are two existing detached home sites on large lots.  The Town’s development ordinances will require that a 40-foot Type A buffer be provided adjacent to those two properties, which should provide an adequate transition. 



Cary’s MOVE policies are designed to respond to transportation challenges and opportunities:

§         Provide an efficient, functional, and well-designed transportation system

§         Allow mobility choices

Applicable policies:

§         Ensure Safety for All Users and Modes (Policy 1)

§         Apply Multimodal Street Designs (Policy 2)

§         Design Transportation Infrastructure to Address Land Use Context (Policy 3)

§         Ensure a Well-Maintained System (Policy 8)


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. 


Morrisville Pkwy (Thoroughfare)

The road is built-out consistent with the Imagine Cary Plan.


Existing Cross Section:

§         Road:  4-lane median divided roadway with 100 ft of right-of-way which includes the street-side trail on the north side

§         Sidewalks:  5-ft sidewalk on the south side of Morrisville Pkwy and 10-ft street-side trail on the north  

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


Carpenter Upchurch Road (Collector)

Existing Cross Section:  2-lane road with no curb and gutter is located within 135 ft of CSX right-of-way.  There are no pedestrian or bike facilities.


Future Cross Section:

As the road is within CSX’s ROW, any improvements will need to be made to the east, away from the railroad. 

§         Road: 2 lane road with curb and gutter.

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

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


Nearby Capital Projects:  At the Morrisville Pkwy / Carpenter Upchurch Rd intersection, a new signal is being installed and the intersection is being modified to address safety concerns at the railroad crossing.  Construction will be complete summer 2019. 


Transit:  The vicinity of the subject property is served by GoTriangle Route 311, which is a peak-period commuter route between Apex and Research Triangle Park via NC Route 55. While there are no stops currently at the intersection of Route 55 and Morrisville Parkway (approximately 450 feet west of the subject property), stops may be added in the future if demand increases.



Notes: 1) Streets in Cary are typically constructed or widened in increments, with developers completing the half-width section along their frontage when the property is developed. 

2) Construction of other off-site improvements may be voluntarily offered as zoning conditions by applicants for rezoning cases.  3) NCDOT may require additional off-site improvements.








Conventional RMF Zoning District


Proposed RMF-CU Zoning District

Max. Gross Density

12 units/acre

8 units/acre

Min. Lot Size


Minimum Lot Width

20 feet

Roadway Setback

From thoroughfare: 50 From collector avenue: 30 From other streets: 10/18

Side Yard Setback

0/3 minimum, 16 between building groupings

Rear Yard Setback

The width of the roadway or front and rear setbacks combined shall equal at least twenty (20) feet and any individual rear setback shall be at least three (3) feet.

Maximum Building Height


1   Unless a zoning condition voluntarily offered by the applicant states otherwise, where a regulatory stream buffer forms a rear or side property line of a lot, and pursuant to NCGS 143-214.23A(f), the Town must attribute to each lot abutting the stream buffer a proportionate share of the stream buffer area (a) for purposes of lot area requirements (i.e., the portion of the stream buffer between the applicable lot line and the near edge of the associated stream will be included for the purpose of determining if the minimum lot size requirement of the LDO is satisfied); and (b) for purposes of calculating the minimum rear or side setback and perimeter buffer if applicable (i.e., the setback or buffer will be measured from the near edge of the associated stream instead of from the actual property boundary).




The LDO will require a 50-foot streetscape buffer along Morrisville Parkway, and a 30-foot streetscape buffer along Carpenter Upchurch Road.  Along the site’s southern property line, a 40-foot Type A buffer will be required adjacent to the two detached homes.  A 20-foot Type B buffer will be required along the portion of the southern property line adjacent to the Heritage Pines townhouses. 




The proposed rezoning of 13.82 acres to Residential Multi-Family – Conditional Use (RMF-CU) with a maximum density of 8 dwelling units per acre would yield a maximum of 110 dwelling units. Based on the ITE Trip Generation Manual, 10th edition, Land Use Code 220 – Multifamily Housing (Low-Rise), the proposed rezoning is anticipated to generate approximately 52 AM and 64 PM peak hour trips.  The threshold for a traffic study is 100 peak-hour trips; therefore, a traffic study is not required.




The Town 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 new 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 transport 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 the 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.





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 to Council for final action.










An Ordinance to amend the official zoning map of the Town of Cary to change the zoning of 13.82 acres owned by Olde Carpenter, LLC, by removing the property from a previously approved Activity Center Concept Plan (ACCP) and rezoning from General Commercial Conditional Use (GC-CU) and Residential Multi-Family Conditional (RMF-C) to Residential Multi-Family Conditional Use (RMF-CU). The existing Mixed Use Overlay District (MUOD) designation will remain.   




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




Property Owner

County Parcel Numbers
(10-digit) (PIN)

Real Estate IDs (REID)



Olde Carpenter LLC

1933 Morrisville Carpenter Rd

Cary, NC 27519




2832 Carpenter Upchurch Road

13.82 acres (portion of 25.37-acre parcel)

Total Area



Section 2:

That this Property is rezoned from GC-CU and RMF-C to RMF-CU subject to all the individualized development conditions set forth herein, if any, 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:


1.      Uses shall be limited to townhouses and neighborhood recreation.

2.      The maximum density shall be eight (8) dwelling units per acre.

3.      There shall be a minimum of 5,000 square feet of Community Gathering space.

4.      All streets shall be designed and constructed to public street standards and shall be offered for dedication to the public.