Town of Cary
North Carolina

Rezoning

18-REZ-22 Green Level West Office Rezoning

Information

Department:Planning and Development ServicesSponsors:
Category:Rezoning

Speaker: Rob Wilson, Planning and Development Services

 

Executive Summary: The applicant has requested the Town consider an amendment to the Town of Cary Official Zoning Map by rezoning approximately 1.98 acres located at the northeast quadrant of the Branton Drive and Green Level West Road intersection, from Residential 12 (R-12) and Residential 40 (R-40) to Office & Institutional Conditional Use (OI-CU) with zoning conditions that limit land use to office (business or professional), cap the building floor space at 15,000 square feet, specify architectural limitations, prohibit dumpsters and loading docks, limit the maximum building height to 35 feet, and provide enhancements (increased setbacks, fence and larger plantings) to offer additional separation and screening for adjacent residential properties to the north and east.  The existing Watershed Protection Overlay District (Jordan Lake Sub-district) will remain.

 

Recommendation: Staff recommends approval of this rezoning request with the conditions as proposed by the applicant.

 

Planning and Zoning Board Recommendation: The Planning and Zoning Board found the request to be consistent with the Imagine Cary Community Plan by a vote of 4-2.

Body

Changes since the Town Council Public Hearing (January 10, 2019): The applicant proposed new conditions to increase setbacks, provide a fence, and increase the size of the buffer plantings between the developable area on the site and the adjacent neighbors to the north and east.  A condition was also proposed that if a generator is installed on the site, it shall be screened from adjacent residential uses by a masonry wall.

 

Changes since the Planning and Zoning Board Meeting (May 20, 2019): In response to concerns shared by staff and discussed by Planning and Zoning Board members, the applicant proposed new conditions to limit the size and scale of building materials and to limit the amount of transparency on ground level facades facing the streets.

 

Click on the map to see surrounding development activity.

 

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 Owners

County Parcel Numbers
(10-digit) (PIN)

Real Estate IDs (REID)

Addresses

Acreage

Wait4It, LLC
250 Towne Village Drive

Cary, NC  27513

0734616440

0197626

0 Green Level West Road

1.71

Wait4It, LLC
250 Towne Village Drive

Cary, NC  27513

0734614487
 

0462876

0 Branton Drive

0.27

Total Area

1.98

 

 

OVERVIEW

 

Location of Subject Property

Northeast quadrant of the Branton Drive and Green Level West Road intersection.

Schedule

Town Council
Public Hearing

January 10, 2019

Planning & Zoning Board
May 20, 2019

Town Council


September 26, 2019

Existing Zoning District(s)

Residential 12 (R-12), Residential 40 (R-40) and Watershed Protection Overlay District (Jordan Lake Sub-district)

Existing Zoning Conditions

None

Proposed Zoning District(s)

Office & Institutional Conditional Use (OI-CU) and Watershed Protection Overlay District, Jordan Lake Sub-district.

Proposed Zoning Conditions

1.              The maximum building square footage permitted is 15,000 square feet.

2.              The maximum permitted building height is 35 feet.

3.              The following use shall be the only permitted uses allowed on the properties: “Office, Business or Professional.”

4.              Health Care office use shall be prohibited.

5.              No dumpster is permitted on site.

6.              No loading dock will be constructed or permitted on site.

7.              Structures on the subject properties shall be constructed using pitched (sloped) roofs.  No flat roofs are permitted.  Single-slope (“shed” type and butterfly roofs) shall not exceed 33% of the total roof area.

8.              Roofing materials shall be neutral, grayscale or a muted color.  Primary or high intensity color roofing is not permitted.

9.     A wooden, double-sided privacy fence shall be constructed and maintained within the 40’ buffers along the northern and eastern property boundaries and shall be located no less than 3’ nor more than 10’ from the property lines.  The precise location shall be determined at the time of development plan submittal.

10.   Minimum building setback from the northern and eastern property boundary shall be 70’.

11.   Mid-story evergreen trees required as part of the Type A Buffer shall have a minimum height of 10’ at the time of installation.

12.   If an emergency generator is located on the site, the generator shall be shielded from adjacent single-family residential uses by a solid brick or masonry wall a minimum of 4’ in height.

13.   To achieve a human scale, building façade materials shall not include cast-in-place concrete or precast concrete.  Concrete masonry units (CMUs) shall not exceed 8” tall by 16” long in size, and shall only be utilized at the base of the building up to a maximum height of 4 feet above average grade as defined by the Land Development Ordinance.

14.   The transparency of the ground level facades facing the streets shall not exceed 75%.

 

Town Limits

PIN 0734614487 (.27 acres) is located outside the corporate limits but inside the Town of Cary ETJ.  Annexation will be required prior to development plan approval. PIN 0734616440 (1.71 acres) is within the corporate limits of the Town of Cary.

Staff Contacts

Rob Wilson

(919) 462-3885

rob.wilson@townofcary.org

 

Applicant 

Donna Cassidy

 

Applicant’s Contact

Charlie Yokley

McAdams

919 361-5000

yokley@mcadamsco.com

 

 

sUMMARY OF REQUEST

 

A close up of a map

Description automatically generated

 

The applicant has requested to rezone an assemblage of approximately 1.98 acres which includes two parcels (shown in yellow) that are located in the northeast quadrant of the Branton Drive and Green Level West Road intersection. The 1.71acre parcel is currently zoned Residential 12 (R-12) (rezoned from R-40 on February 14, 1991) and is located inside Cary’s corporate limits. The 0.27acre parcel is currently zoned R-40 and is located outside of the Town’s corporate limits.  Annexation of the 0.27-acre parcel will be required prior to the approval of a development plan for the site.

 

The ownership and property boundaries of the two parcels have changed since the application was originally submitted on June 26, 2018.  On November 28, 2018 (prior to the Town Council Public Hearing on January 10, 2019) the applicant purchased the 0.27-acre parcel from the larger 19.3-acre Beaver property that is located west of Branton Drive (shown above in purple).  On May 23, 2019 (following the Planning and Zoning Board meeting on May 20, 2019), the applicant purchased the 1.71-acre parcel.  So, the owner and applicant are now one and the same.

 

The requested zoning for the 1.98-acre assemblage is Office & Institutional – Conditional Use (OI–CU), with zoning conditions that limit land uses, building location, building size, and certain architectural and site design elements.  The zoning conditions also include enhancements (increased setback, fence and larger plantings) to offer additional separation and screening for adjacent residential properties to the north and east.  The Watershed Protection Overlay District, Jordan Lake Sub-district, specifies an impervious surface limit of 70% for nonresidential uses when using engineered stormwater control measures (SCM’s), as stipulated by state statute. This Overlay District will not change.

 

An analysis of the case finds the following:

 

1.      Proposed use. The site is within the Traditional Neighborhood designation on the Future Growth Framework Map of the Imagine Cary Community Plan. Single family detached houses generally predominate in a Traditional Neighborhood, but the designation does allow for a “limited amount of nonresidential uses.” Thus, the proposed use of office may be consistent with the Cary Community Plan if the office building can reasonably be considered to meet the criteria of either a “Neighborhood Commercial” or a “Commercial, Small Format” business.

 

2.      Proposed size and height. The applicant has proposed zoning conditions that limit the size of the proposed office building to 15,000 square feet and the building height to 35 feet. The height limit mirrors the height limit for the R-12 and R-40 districts, but the proposed building size limit of 15,000 square feet, especially with its proximity to detached residential dwellings, may be larger than what the Imagine Cary Community Plan intended when discussing a “limited amount of nonresidential uses” in Traditional Neighborhood areas.

 

3.      Proposed architectural conditions. The applicant has proposed zoning conditions that are intended to make the office building appear more residential in nature to improve the transition between the proposed building and the surrounding residential neighborhoods. These conditions specifically limit the color of the roof, the design of the roof, the size and type of building materials, and the amount of transparency allowed on the building.

4.      Access and roads. The site borders Green Level West Road and Branton Drive. Both roads are state-maintained. If the rezoning is approved, NCDOT might require ingress and egress to and from the site on Branton Drive. In April 2018, the Town finished a project to widen Green Level West Road from 2-lanes to 4-lanes (the ultimate cross-section per the Town’s Planned Roadway Widths Map), added a dedicated left turn lane onto Branton Drive from eastbound Green Level West Road, and painted a crosswalk across Branton Drive.
 

5.      Buffers and Setbacks. If developed as an office use, the site will be required to provide a 40-foot Type A perimeter buffer (adjacent to the residential properties) and a 30-foot streetscape along Green Level West Road. The applicant has proposed zoning conditions to increase the building setback from the adjacent residential properties to the north and east to 70 feet, and to install both a fence and taller-than-required landscaping in the buffer.
 

APPLICANT’S JUSTIFICATION

 

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

 

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

 

Notification Requirements

North Carolina General Statute

Abutting properties

Town of Cary Land Development Ordinance

Properties within 100 feet

Town of Cary Practice

Properties within 800 feet

 

Neighborhood Meeting

A neighborhood meeting for the proposed rezoning was facilitated by staff at Cary Town Hall on September 5, 2018. According to information submitted by the applicant, 20 nearby property owners attended the meeting. Questions and concerns expressed at the meeting included increased traffic, entry into the site from Branton Drive, noise from garbage pickup, noise from a back-up generator, and light pollution. These concerns are summarized in the attached meeting minutes submitted by the applicant.

 

Activity After the Neighborhood Meeting

The applicant conducted a second meeting on October 3, 2018, with several nearby property owners.  In response to the neighbor’s concerns, the applicant amended their initial application and proposed additional zoning conditions to address architecture and to prohibit the use of dumpsters, loading docks, and health care buildings.

 

The applicant, as well as several nearby property owners, also reached out to Town staff and Council members to discuss the various aspects of the request. The applicant’s contact met with Town staff several times to discuss the case. An adjoining property owner met with Town staff to discuss site-specific concerns. In addition, both the applicant and several neighbors met with two council members to discuss the case in further detail. Lastly, Town staff corresponded with additional neighbors via phone calls and email.

 

Town Council Public Hearing, January 10, 2019

Staff presented an overview of the rezoning request, followed by the applicant who shared justification for the request.  A total of fourteen people spoke during the hearing.  Ten citizens shared concerns regarding traffic volume, increased cut-through traffic, speeding in surrounding neighborhoods, light, noise and stormwater impacts, non-residential architectural appearance of the building and roof, and the general incompatibility of the proposed use.  One speaker, who identified herself as a Cary resident who worked for the applicant’s company (Net32), spoke in support of the proposal.  In addition, the two business owners and the project’s attorney spoke in support of the proposal.

 

The Council expressed concerns regarding whether or not the transition between the proposed use and the adjoining residential uses would be reasonable and encouraged the applicant and neighbors to talk further in an effort to determine if additional conditions could be offered to address the neighbor’s concerns and make the project complementary to the adjoining neighborhoods. 

 

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

 

Changes Since the Town Council Public Hearing

The applicant met with some of the neighbors since the public hearing, and provided four additional conditions in an effort to improve the transition between the proposed use and the adjoining residential homes:

§         Install a wooden double-sided privacy fence along the northern and eastern property boundaries

§         Install taller mid-story evergreen trees in the northern and eastern buffer (10 feet instead of 8 feet tall at installation - 25% larger than required)

§         Provide a greater building setback from the northern and eastern boundaries (70 feet instead of 50 feet – 40% larger than required)

§         If an emergency generator is located on the site, it shall be shielded from adjacent residential uses by a masonry wall that is a minimum of 4 feet in height

 

The existing architectural conditions were also simplified to only include the architectural limitations actually being imposed (the original conditions included items that are already required by the LDO).

 

Planning and Zoning Board Meeting (May 20, 2019)

Staff presented an overview of the case and the proposed zoning conditions.  Staff then provided a review of the applicable sections of the Imagine Cary Community Plan, noting that the Shape Chapter emerged as the most important policy in the plan.  While the proposal makes a strong case that an appropriate buffer transition will be achieved between the proposed office and adjacent residential uses, based on concerns regarding the land use and architectural transitions, staff’s preliminary analysis concluded that on balance, the proposal fell short of providing certainty that a harmonious and appropriate transition would be achieved.  

 

The applicant then presented examples where similar types of office development successfully coexist with adjacent residential uses in Cary and Raleigh as justification for the request.  Based on the proposed zoning conditions for this site, the applicant shared his opinion that this proposal would be an example of such an appropriate transition

 

The Board raised the following questions and concerns as part of its discussion:

 

§         Was the site ever part of White Oak Estates?  Staff explained it was not.

§         Is Branton Drive maintained by the Town?  Staff shared that it is NCDOT-maintained.

§         Could the site be used as a distribution center?  Staff noted that it could not because the applicant proposed a condition that the site may only be used for office.

§         How will the site be accessed?  Staff explained that site access would be determined during development plan review in conjunction with NCDOT.

§         Can additional zoning conditions still be proposed regarding architecture?  Staff confirmed that this was still an option.

§         Has any cost analysis been done on the architecture of the roof?  The applicant responded that, although an architectural firm has been retained, it was premature to spend funds on such analysis.

 

The P&Z Board thanked the applicant for working with the neighbors and adding more conditions to address neighbor concerns.  The Board acknowledged that they do not envision this site as being developed under the existing Residential-12 (R-12) zoning district.  The Board summarized its discussion by noting that the applicant has provided good buffers and conditions but wished there were more conditions relating to architectural standards.

 

The Board concluded its discussion by finding the request to be consistent with the Imagine Cary Community Plan by a vote of 4-2.  Supporting members noted the large number of zoning conditions related to buffers and screening and the site’s location adjacent to a future Destination Center.  Board members who did not support the motion noted that there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the future Destination Center located adjacent to this site across Branton Drive (further discussed below in the Community Plan Conformance and Analysis section) and what might be appropriate on this site, as well as the lack of architectural conditions to ensure that the building would be a harmonious and appropriate fit with the adjacent neighborhoods.

 

Changes Since the Planning and Zoning Board Meeting

The applicant has proposed additional architectural zoning conditions to limit the size of building materials and the amount of transparency that may be incorporated into the building in an effort to keep the building more human in scale and provide greater assurance that the building will be harmonious with the adjacent neighborhoods. 

 

site characteristics and context


Adjacent Zoning: The site is currently zoned R-12 and R-40. The properties north and west of the site are zoned R-40, the properties to the east are zoned R-12, and the properties to the south (on the south side of Green Level West Road) are zoned R-8-CU or Wake County R-40 Watershed.

 

Stream Buffers:  The site does not appear to be impacted by stream buffers, according to Cary GIS.

 

 

 

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. 

 

Adjacent Uses: To the east side of the site is the Landsdowne neighborhood, where homes situated on approximately 1/3 of an acre lots were built beginning in the mid-1990s. To the north side of the site is the White Oak Estates neighborhood, a community of large-lot (2+ acre) homes that was platted in 1973. To the west side of the site is the remaining portion of 2820 Green Level West Road (identified in the graphic below in pink as the Susan Beaver’s Property), which contains a single-family dwelling and a few out-buildings on approximately 19 acres. To the south side of the site on the opposite side of Green Level West Road is the Ashley Woods neighborhood, where homes situated on approximately 1/3 of an acre lots were built beginning in the late-1990s.

 

             

cary community plan conformance and analysis

 

Attached is a complete listing of each policy statement 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 applicable to this case and has provided an analysis of the extent to which the proposed rezoning conforms to these plan policies and recommendations.

 

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 

Applicable policies:

§         Policy 3:  Retain and Grow Existing Cary Businesses

§         Policy 6: Attract and Nurture Small Businesses

§         Policy 8: Support the Locational Needs of New and Expanding Firms


Staff Observations:

 

§         Policy 3: Retain and Grow Existing Cary Businesses. This policy seeks to provide opportunities that help Cary retain and/or grow existing firms and jobs that are already in Cary, in order avoid losing them to other localities.

 

§         Policy 6: Attract and Nurture Small Businesses.  The intent of this policy is to encourage and support the development of new businesses, and the expansion of existing small businesses.  Providing a supportive regulatory environment to support the growth of existing small businesses is noted as a priority.

 

§         Policy 8: Support the Locational Needs of New and Expanding Firms. This policy addresses the evolving regional and national market for office development, and the locational needs of different business sectors. This policy also supports ensuring that adequate land is available to develop employment uses in a variety of locations.

       Green Level West Road was widened from 2-lanes to 4-lanes in early 2018 and is designated as a thoroughfare.

       Given the site’s location on a thoroughfare, as well as being adjacent to a Destination Center, an area designated for intense future development, an office building at this site could support the locational need of a new and/or expanding firm.
 

engage Policies

Parks Recreation and Cultural Resources Master Plan Goals

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

 

Staff Observations: 

 

The Town of Cary Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources (PRCR) Master Plan does not identify any proposed parks within or adjacent to the subject site. The straight-line distance to the closest park, Thomas Brooks Park, is 0.75 miles away. The closest park using the street or greenway network is Sears Farm Road Park, which is 1.2 miles away. 

 

According to the PRCR Master Plan, there are not any proposed or existing greenway corridors or street-side trails within or adjacent to the site. The straight-line distance to the closest greenway trail access is 0.32 miles away at the White Oak Creek Greenway, and the street network distance to that entrance is 0.53 miles. There is also an existing Street-Side Trail on Hwy 55, approximately 0.5 miles due east of the site.
 

 

Greenway Trails and Parks

 

shape Policies

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:

§         Policy 6: Provide Appropriate Transitions Between Land Uses

 

Staff Observations: 

 

§         Policy 6: Provide Appropriate Transitions Between Land Uses. The intent of this policy is to provide for harmonious transitions between different types and intensities of land uses, to help mitigate any negative impacts that a development might have on an adjacent site. Transitions can be achieved through form transitions, use transitions, architectural transitions and/or natural buffer transitions. 

 

Staff believes that the “appropriate transition” issue is an important one when considering this proposal.  Accordingly, we provide additional information and analysis regarding the three different types of transitions (Land Use, Architectural and Buffer) below.

 

Land Use Transition

 

§         We look to the Town’s adopted Future Growth Framework Map in the Shape chapter for direction regarding appropriate land uses for an area:

 

 

The Future Growth Framework Map designates the subject site with the “Traditional Neighborhood” development category. Single family detached houses are generally the predominant use in a Traditional Neighborhood, but the designation does allow for a “limited amount of nonresidential uses”, specifically “Neighborhood Commercial” businesses and “Small Format Commercial” businesses. This notion may be supported by the site also being located adjacent to the Green Level Special Planning Area “Destination Center” at the intersection of Green Level West Road and NC 540. The Cary Community Plan states that for sites located on the boundaries between development categories on the Future Growth Framework Map, the mapped edges of a particular development category are not intended to be strictly interpreted. They may be interpreted in light of the policies relevant to the site and the particular site’s circumstances.

 

Proposed Use:

§         A business or professional office building may be an appropriate use within the Traditional Neighborhood Development Category depending on the context, as well as the types of conditions offered. “Incidental uses” within the Traditional Neighborhood can include neighborhood business or small format commercial businesses.

 

       “Neighborhood businesses” are defined in the Cary Community Plan as “small format businesses designed for use by retail, service, or office uses to serve adjacent neighborhoods, including corner gas stations, convenience stores, neighborhood banks, and other small format stores that fit into the neighborhood fabric” (emphasis added).  Given that an office building could serve the adjacent neighborhood, the key criterion for the applicant to meet this definition is to ensure that the use “fits into the neighborhood fabric”.

       “Commercial, Small Format” businesses are considered to be smaller in size and also fit into a “commercial or corridor context,” according to the Cary Community Plan.  In this particular case, there is a Commercial Center that is 650 feet east of the site, which is developed with over a dozen commercial businesses. Given the distance between these sites and the Commercial Center being primarily oriented towards NC Highway 55 rather than Green Level West Road though, it appears to be a stretch to consider this proposal to be consistent with this category.

       Immediately west of the site is a “Destination Center,” although given that this center has yet to develop, it would also seem premature to utilize it to establish a “commercial or corridor context” in this case. 
 

Proposed Building Size:

§         The applicant’s proposed zoning condition for a building size no greater than 15,000 square feet approaches the upper size limit of what is generally considered a “small format” or “neighborhood” business and may be larger than what the Imagine Cary Community Plan intended.

§         This relatively large building size may make it more difficult for the proposed building to “fit into the neighborhood fabric,” which consists of detached residences and no office buildings.

 

Other Features

§         The proposal includes prohibitions on dumpsters and loading docks that would serve to limit the negative audial and visual externalities associated with an office building and ease the transition from office to residential.

 

Architectural Transition
 

The architectural treatment of new development should “create a cohesive connection, including matching neighborhood character through building materials and architectural elements.” In an effort to address this policy, the applicant has proposed the following architectural standards as zoning conditions:
 

§         The principal structure shall be constructed using pitched (sloped) roofs and shall not include a flat roof.  If any shed-type roof is included, it shall not exceed more than 33% of the roof area. 

§         Roofing materials shall be neutral, grayscale or muted in color.  Primary or high-intensity color roofing is not permitted.

§         To achieve a human scale, building façade materials shall not include cast-in-place concrete or precast concrete.  Concrete masonry units (CMUs) shall not exceed 4” tall by 16” long in size, and shall only be utilized at the base of the building up to a maximum height of 4 feet above average grade as defined by the Land Development Ordinance.

§         The transparency of the ground level facades facing the streets shall not exceed 75%.

 

These proposed conditions do provide assurance that the color of the roof will be neutral, the form of the roof will be predominantly residential in nature, the building materials will be residential in scale, and that the amount of transparency associated with the building will be limited.  When assessed collectively, these conditions do holistically address the building’s architectural design and materials in a manner that should provide a harmonious transition between any non-residential building on this site and the residential structures on the adjoining single-family lots.

 

Buffer Transition

 

Appropriate separation and buffering should be provided to mitigate negative impacts that a non-residential development might have on adjacent residential properties.  The applicant has proposed greater building setbacks (40% larger), the installation of taller mid-story evergreen trees (25% larger), and the installation of a double-sided fence along the northern and eastern boundaries of the site to provide additional separation and privacy for adjacent residents.  More detail and analysis regarding these conditions is provided below.

 

§         The Land Development Ordinance requires that a 40-foot Type-A perimeter buffer be provided on the subject site between the proposed office use and the adjacent residential uses to the north and east.  The Ordinance also seeks to retain existing vegetation in such buffers, with the requirement that buildings shall be set back a minimum of 10 feet from the preserved buffer vegetation (effectively a building setback of 50 feet in this case).  The applicant is proposing that the minimum building setback from the northern and eastern property boundaries shall be 70 feet, exceeding the LDO requirements by 20 feet.  

§         The Type-A standard requires the installation of mid-story evergreen trees (a minimum of 8-feet tall) and is intended to provide the greatest degree of screening feasible between land uses.  The applicant has proposed to install mid-story evergreen trees that are a minimum of 10-feet tall at installation, exceeding the required minimum height by 25 percent. 

§         The applicant is also proposing to construct and maintain a wooden double-sided privacy fence on the outer edge of the 40-foot Type A buffer, within three to 10  feet of the adjacent property boundary (the flexibility in range allows for the fence to be located so as to prevent damage to existing vegetation).

 

§         The developer would also be required to construct a 30-foot streetscape along the property line facing Green Level West Road, per LDO requirements.

 

MOVE Policies

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

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)

Staff Observations

Cary’s transportation requirements for development reflect 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. 

 

Branton Drive

Existing Cross Section: 

§         Road:  2-lane road with no curb and gutter within 60 feet of right-of-way

§         Sidewalks:  None

§         Bicycle Lanes:  Non

 

Future Cross Section:

§         Road:  2-lane road with curb and gutter in minimum 50 feet of right-of-way

§         Sidewalks:  5-foot sidewalk on one side of the road.

§         Bicycle Lanes:  none

 

Green Level West Road

Existing Cross Section: 

§         Road:  4-lane road with curb and gutter in 105 feet of right-of-way

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

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

 

Future Cross Section:  Green Level West Road is built to its ultimate cross-section as provided in the Town’s Planned Roadway Widths map. 

 

Improvements Being Considered by the Town of Cary as Part of Ongoing Budgeted Capital Projects:  None

 

Transit:  GoCary Route 4 serves High House Road approximately 1,500 feet east of the subject property. There are sidewalks between the bus stop and the subject property.

 

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.

 

KEY REQUIREMENTS FROM THE LAND DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE

 

Land Use
An office use is a permitted use in the OI-CU zoning district.

 

Density and Dimensional Standards

LDO Standard

Existing Zoning District

R-12

Proposed Zoning District
OI-CU

Max. Gross Density

3.63 du/acre

None

Min. Lot Size

12,000 square feet

None

Minimum Lot Width

80 (90 for corner lot)

None

Roadway Setback

From thoroughfare: 50 ft
From collector: 30 ft
From other streets: 20 ft

30 feet

Side Yard Setback 1

10

None

See Landscape Buffer Section Below

Rear Yard Setback 1

25

None

See Landscape Buffer Section Below

Maximum Building Height

35 feet

 

Landscape Buffer and Streetscape

If the rezoning is approved and the property is developed with an office use, a 40-foot wide Type “A” perimeter buffer, a 30-foot wide streetscape along Green Level West Road, and a 15-foot wide streetscape along Branton Drive would be required on the site. The three adjoining parcels east of the site have an existing 25-foot rear setback and the parcel to the north has an existing 20-foot side setback.

 

Traffic

The proposed rezoning of 1.98 acres from Residential 12 (R-12) and Residential 40 (R-40) to Office & Institutional Conditional Use (OI-CU) includes a zoning condition to limit the land use to office (business or professional) with a maximum building size of 15,000 square feet. Based on the ITE Trip Generation Manual, 10th edition, Land Use Code 720 – Medical-Dental Office Building, the proposed rezoning is anticipated to generate approximately 42 A.M. and 52 P.M. peak hour trips.  Since the threshold for a traffic study is 100 peak-hour trips, a traffic study is not required.

 

Site Access

Based on preliminary discussion with NCDOT, access to the subject site might be permitted on Branton Drive. Due to limited intersection spacing on Green Level West Road between Branton Drive and Glenmore Road, an access on Green Level West Road is less likely. However, if access on Branton Road is not feasible, NCDOT might allow a partial access, such as a right-in/right-out on Green Level West Road.

 

Stormwater

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.

 

STAFF RECOMMENDATION         

 

The Town Staff’s preliminary recommendation to the Planning and Zoning Board was that the proposal was not consistent with the Imagine Cary Community Plan.  As noted in the preceding Community Plan analysis, Staff believes that Policy 6 (Provide Appropriate Transitions Between Land Uses) in the Shape Chapter is extremely important when determining if the proposal is consistent with the Plan.  Of the three different types of transitions discussed in the Shape Chapter (land use, architectural, and buffer), at the time of the Planning and Zoning Board’s review, Staff’s determination was that the applicant had only fully committed to one of these transitions and that this level of performance was not sufficient to justify the proposed zoning change.

 

Since the Planning and Zoning Board recommendation, the applicant has proposed additional conditions to limit the size and scale of building materials and to limit the amount of transparency on ground level facades facing the streets.  These additional conditions are more restrictive than what was considered by the Planning and Zoning Board.  Staff believes that these additional conditions tip the scale to present a more compelling case that at least two transitional elements (architectural and buffers) are satisfied.

 

Therefore, based on the additional architectural conditions that have been offered since the Planning and Zoning Board meeting, the Town Staff’s recommendation for the rezoning request is for approval and the rationale for the recommendation is discussed below.

 

§         Policies in the chapters for WORK, SHAPE and MOVE were found to be applicable to the rezoning request.

 

§         The proposal supports WORK Policies 3 (Retain and Grow Existing Cary Businesses), 6 (Attract and Nurture Small Businesses) and 8 (Support the Locational Needs of New and Expanding Firms) by providing space that could either serve as a new opportunity for one or more small businesses, or could be utilized as an opportunity for an existing Cary business to relocate or expand, thereby remaining and growing in the community.

§         The proposal may support the Future Growth Framework Map in the SHAPE chapter by providing a limited amount of office use at the edge of a Traditional Neighborhood.  The site is also across the street from the edge of a largely undeveloped area that is identified as a future Destination Center.  The current absence of other adjacent non-residential development may indicate that this use is premature for the edge of an existing Traditional Neighborhood.  The proposed maximum size of the building (15,000 SF) may also exceed what the Community Plan intended when discussing the appropriateness of “a limited amount of nonresidential uses” in such situations.

§         Traditional Neighborhoods do allow limited office and commercial uses at the edge of neighborhoods when “harmonious transitions” and “appropriate design approaches” are utilized to ensure that the use “fits into the neighborhood fabric.” The proposal includes conditions that seek to address this transition and fit by limiting architectural design and the size of building materials. The proposal also seeks to address this transition by prohibiting health care uses, dumpsters and loading docks.

§         Appropriately separating developments is another component to providing harmonious transitions between different types and intensities of land uses and helping mitigate impacts that non-residential development may have on adjacent residential properties.  The proposal includes conditions that seek to address the transition from the proposed use to the adjoining existing residential lots, including an increased setback, larger buffer plantings, and a privacy fence along the northern and eastern boundary of the site.

§         By being located on a road that is built to its ultimate cross-section, the proposal supports mobility and makes efficient use of existing transportation infrastructure.

 

 

NEXT sTEPS

 

The Town Council may take final action on the rezoning request.  If the rezoning is approved, the developer or property owner must submit and obtain approval for a Development Plan for the subject property prior to commencing construction of infrastructure or submitting requests for building permits.