Town of Cary
North Carolina

Rezoning

17-REZ-04 Weston Planned Development District (O&I-3) Amendment

Information

Department:Planning & Development ServicesSponsors:
Category:Rezoning

Speaker: Debra Grannan, Planning

 

Executive Summary:  A zoning condition for the 19.27-acre tract that is now the Weston Manor subdivision (‘property’) requires the owners or developers of that property to provide a private pedestrian asphalt trail and bridge connection from the property across Town-owned property to the Black Creek Greenway.  A private pedestrian bridge was constructed in 2007, and in 2012 it was damaged and repaired by the developer.  In 2016 it was badly damaged and removed by the developer following a heavy rain storm.  The Weston HOA and owners of the 43 residential lots developed on the property have requested that the zoning condition be removed.

 

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 remove the condition requiring the private pedestrian bridge.  Typically, a rezoning should be evaluated to determine whether the land uses and densities allowed in the proposed zoning district are consistent with the Imagine Cary Community Plan.  In this case, the evaluation should be focused on whether the existing condition is consistent with the Plan.

 

 

SUBJECT PROPERTY

The zoning condition applies to approximately 19.27 acres that now consists of the 43 detached residential lots and common open space that is the Weston Manor subdivision.

(A complete list of the parcels is contained within the Ordinance section at the end of this report.)

 

 

 

Close Up – Vicinity Map

 

overview

 

Acreage

19.27 ±

General Location

Weston Manor Subdivision;

East of Norwell Blvd. and South of Weston Parkway

Schedule

Town Council Public Hearing
March 22, 2018

Planning & Zoning Board
 

April 23, 2018

Town Council
 

TBD

Existing Zoning District(s)

Planned Development District (PDD), Weston PDD

Existing Zoning Conditions

As indicated in the Weston PDD

Proposed Zoning District(s)

Planned Development District (PDD) Major, amended as described below

Proposed Zoning Conditions

The only proposed change is to remove the requirement for the O&I-3 Tract (Weston Manor) to provide a private pedestrian bridge to connect to the Black Creek Greenway.

Town Limits

Yes

Applicants

Weston Manor Home Owners Association and the individual property owners in the Weston Manor neighborhood

Applicants Contact

Mike Hunter,

Weston Manor Homeowners Association

Staff Contact

Debra Grannan

(919) 460-4980

Debra.grannan@townofcary.org

 

 

Summary of Request

 

The Weston PDD was established in 1984 and initially consisted of predominantly non-residential land uses and common open spaces.   In 2004, a rezoning request was approved to allow three tracts of land within the PDD to be changed from office to residential use.

 

In lieu of a sidewalk along Norwell Drive, the applicant agreed to provide an internal sidewalk network to facilitate pedestrian movement to North Cary Park and Cary Parkway via the Black Creek Greenway.

 

All three of the proposed residential tracts were adjacent to existing or proposed public greenways, and construction of private trail connections to the public greenways was specifically offered as a zoning condition for each of the three proposed residential tracts.  This included specific language for the O&I-3 tract (on which Weston Manors was ultimately developed) that stated: “The Internal sidewalk network will connect to the Black Creek Greenway to the east by a private 6’ asphalt trail and bridge.” Only the O&I-3 tract was conditioned to require construction of a bridge to provide the private trail connection.

 

Trail and bridge development plans were approved by the Town of Cary Development Review Committee (DRC) in 2007.

 

The development plan, sealed by the developer’s engineer, noted that the required “private, 6’ asphalt trail and bridge” was to be privately owned and maintained and that an encroachment agreement would be required for its location on Town property.

The bridge was subsequently constructed as the neighborhood was built.  The location and the height of the bridge were not conducive to ensuring its sustainability.

In 2012, the bridge was damaged by debris that was trapped against the bridge during a storm but was repaired.

This photo shows an image of the bridge as it existed in 2012 (after repair).

In October of 2016, a significant storm event resulted in extensive damage to the bridge and the bridge was removed.  

 

As shown in this 2018 photo, there is no longer the required private bridge to connect the internal sidewalk network to the Black Creek Greenway even though all the homes have been built and occupied.  An asphalt pedestrian trail from the neighborhood is in place; however, it stops at the top of the Black Creek stream bank. 

 

The obligation and responsibility for construction and maintenance of this private network, including bridge, is the subject of an approved zoning condition offered by the original owner; an obligation and responsibility to be paid for and borne by the owner(s) and/or developer(s) of the properties benefitted by the rezoning.  The absence of this bridge has resulted in a zoning violation which impacts the owners of the 43 properties in the Weston Manors subdivision and the Weston Manors Home Owners’ Association.

 

Some residents of both Weston Manors and the Bexley neighborhood have asked the Town to take over responsibility for the pedestrian bridge; however, as this is the approved zoning for the property, the Town is without authority to assume responsibility for the bridge’s reconstruction or maintenance.  Rezoning this property to remove the zoning condition is within the purview of the Town Council.  Funding to construct a public bridge in this vicinity could be considered separately from this proposed PDD amendment.

 

APPLICANT’S JUSTIFICATION

 

Attached are the applicant’s responses to the justification questions contained in the application form.  Please note that these statements are that 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.

 

Neighborhood Meeting

A neighborhood meeting for the proposed rezoning was facilitated by Planning staff at Cary Town Hall on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.   According to the information submitted by the applicant, approximately 10 nearby property owners attended the meeting.   Questions and concerns expressed at the meeting included cost of bridge replacement, liability issues regarding the bridge, and what other options exist for residents to improve accessibility to the public greenway, as summarized in the attached meeting minutes submitted by the applicant.

 

Changes Since the Neighborhood Meeting

In addition to the HOA, the applicants for the case now include all the individual property owners in the Weston Manor subdivision.

 

Town Council Public Hearing (March 22, 2018)

Staff presented an overview of the request.  Mike Hunter, the president of the Weston Manor HOA asked council to support the amendment.  One resident of the Weston Manor neighborhood spoke in support of the amendment.

 

The Town Council verified with staff that any future discussions related to the Town taking responsibility for installing or maintaining a future bridge would need to be discussed separately and no commitments were being made as part of this rezoning case.

 

cary community Plan conformance and analysis

 

Attached is a complete listing of each policy statement in the 2040 Imagine Cary Community Plan.  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.

 

Future Growth Framework

The Weston Manor Subdivision is located within an area identified for Employment Mixed Use Campus on the Growth Framework map.  The private bridge to the Black Creek Greenway trail is within an area designated as Traditional Neighborhood.

 

 

 

ENGAGE Policies

 

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.

 

Staff Observations:  Without a private pedestrian bridge, there is no direct access from the Weston Manor neighborhood to the Black Creek Greenway; however,

approximately one mile south of this location, in the North Cary Park, the Town of Cary has constructed a bridge with a higher elevation and broader span than what was designed for the Weston Manor Bridge.  The Town bridge has withstood the impact of the storms which destroyed the Weston Manor Bridge. This bridge provides public access from the park to the Black Creek Greenway.

 

 

 

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

Policy 4:  Focus Investments on Improving Connections and Closing Gaps

Policy 6:  Improve Pedestrian and Bicycle crossings

 

Staff Observations: 

 

The intent of this policy is to incorporate pedestrian and bicycle crossing improvements to places that are often the most challenging for pedestrians and cyclists to navigate and have the least conflict points. 

 

 

Removal of the Weston Manor pedestrian bridge connection has made it less convenient for residents of this and the nearby Bexley Subdivision to access the Black Creek Greenway, but access is still within proximity.

 

While a bridge in this vicinity may provide a quicker access and better off-road experience for residents, there is a pedestrian route (sidewalk and asphalt trails shown in red on the map above) along Norwell Blvd to access the North Cary Park.  The distance from the former bridge in Weston Manor to the North Cary Park Bridge is approximately one (1) mile.  The distance from Bexley Bluff Lane (entrance of Weston Manor and Bexley subdivisions) to the greenway trails in the North Cary Park is approximately half a mile.

 

SERVE Policies

 

Cary’s Serve Polices are designed to meet community needs while respecting the environment and providing top quality facilities and infrastructure.

Applicable polices include:

Policy 1: Provide Serves and Facilities for Current and Future Generations That Balance High Quality and Affordability

Policy 8: Integrate Concepts of Resilience and Adaptation into Planning Process.

 

Staff Observations:  The SERVE policies of the Imagine Cary Community Plan are primarily focused on the Town’s responsibilities for public services.  In this situation, we are evaluating a private bridge and greenway connection that may have initially been intended to serve one neighborhood, but which served the Bexley neighborhood as well.   The responsibility for ensuring high-quality construction and long-term maintenance of a bridge that meets Cary’s public bridge standards raises the question of affordably for the 43-household Weston Manor subdivision.

 

The intent of Policy 8 refers to the ability to provide and maintain acceptable levels of service in the face of exceptional circumstances that could otherwise impede those operations and services.  Adaptation refers to making changes or adjustments in methods, manner or type of services provided to respond to changing conditions over time.   At the time the zoning conditions were proposed, there was no sidewalk or asphalt trial network in place to access the Black Creek Greenway.  That network now exists for both the Weston Manor and the Bexley neighborhoods.

 

 

STAFF ANALYSIS SUMMARY

 

Town Staff’s summary of analysis for the rezoning request with the conditions is discussed in the table below.

 

Summary of Analysis

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

§         While having a bridge from the Weston Manor neighborhood to the Black Creek Greenway would be more convenient for residents of Weston Manor and Bexley, there is an alternate method of connecting to the Greenway that is located approximately one mile away.

§         Constructing and maintaining a bridge that meets Cary’s standards for a public bridge could create a financial burden on a small subdivision.

 

 

Next Steps

 

 

Following the Planning and Zoning Board recommendation on whether the request is consistent with the Imagine Cary Community Plan, Town Council may consider action on this request.