Apex OKs residential growth in New Hill

aramos@newsobserver.comMarch 19, 2014 

Construction crews work at the Salem Village subdivision. Residential growth has reached a record high in Apex, with 811 new units expected in 2014, according to town staff.

SYDNEY WOLFORD — swolford@newsobserver.com

— Future growth has been looming over the rural New Hill community since plans for a regional wastewater treatment plant were announced about a decade ago.

The wait is over.

The Apex Town Council on Tuesday voted to annex about 300 acres on Horton Road and Old U.S. 1 and rezone the property to allow 440 homes for the Jordan Pointe development.

The move means that New Hill, a small unincorporated community nestled between Apex and Holly Springs, will gain about 1,245 people and undergo changes to the community’s landscape.

Nearby residents didn’t protest the development. Instead, they seemed resigned to the change and asked Apex officials to protect the integrity of New Hill.

The Jordan Pointe development is the first of many projects likely to get started now that the Western Wake Water Reclamation Facility is set to open soon, said Rick Ross, a New Hill homeowner.

“As pieces of New Hill are taken out of New Hill or become Apex, we don’t have a vote,” he said. “It’s just happening to us. It’s one of Wake County’s few natural rural scenes. It’s such a beautiful place. (I) hope you will establish an extremely high standard for this and other developments.”

Jordan Pointe can’t be more dense than 1.5 homes per acre. Homes will cost between $290,000 and $1 million or higher, according to town documents.

The low density will result in larger lots and fewer neighbors. Ross said that means New Hill has a better shot at maintaining a rural feel.

“We worked hard with the land owners to try to make this a special place,” developer Colen Davidson said during Tuesday’s public hearing.

Impact Homes, which built the Cameron Pond neighborhood in Cary, is developing the site.

Davidson agreed to add a 30-foot buffer along the main road. In addition, Impact Homes will be responsible for several road upgrades to reduce traffic impact.

The developer will add a 75-foot westbound right-turn lane on Old U.S. 1 at Horton Road; add a traffic signal at the intersection of Old U.S. 1 at New Hill Olive Chapel Road/New Hill Holleman Road; and add a 50-foot eastbound left-turn lane and a 125-foot westbound right-turn lane on Old U.S. 1.

Dan Brubaker of New Hill said there hasn’t been a large outcry from the community because they respect the landowners’ right to sell their property.

“When the sewer plant was approved we knew it was going to happen,” Brubaker said of growth. “It’s a high-quality development. It’s as good as (we) would have hoped for and better than we thought we were going to get.”

Brubaker, who is an amateur astronomer, asked the town to enforce its lighting rules when the development is under construction. He can see several planets on a clear night, he said.

“They should have lighting plans in order to reduce light pollution,” Brubaker said. “It’s important to preserve (the) last remaining dark skies in Wake County.”

The lack of public uproar about the project surprised council members.

“Frankly, I would have expected some pushback from neighbors,” said Councilman Scott Lassiter. “This has been a pleasant surprise.”

Jordan Pointe is likely just the start of more residential projects along Old U.S. 1.

“Growth is picking up with the wastewater treatment plant,” said Councilman Gene Schulze. “We want to do it right the first time.”

Ramos: 919-460-2609; Twitter: @AlianaCaryNews

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