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Triangle Listed at Top of National Growth List

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RALEIGH — Everyone knew that the Triangle was in the midst of rapid growth, but the latest Census Bureau statistics show just how fast the Triangle is growing compared to the rest of the country.

It is not necessarily a bad predicament to be in, but Triangle developers are struggling to hammer out enough homes to meet demand.

"I have builders that have to put off home buyers for months at a time saying 'I can't start your home because the framer I have here is tied up for the next six months.' So, its a little frustrating," says Tina Bernhardt, who is with Howard, Perry and Walston.

The latest Census Bureau statistics show nearly 200,000 newcomers flooded Wake, Orange, and Durham Counties from 1990 to 1997 making the Triangle the 14th fastest growing area of the country. During that same time nearly 78,000 new home permits were issued ranking 23rd nationally.

"Most of the development has been happening in western Raleigh, Morrisville, Cary, Apex and Holly Springs," Wake County Planning Director Mike Jennings said.

Jennings was not surprised by the growth statistics, and emphasizes the numbers just reinforce that the region has to plan better for traffic, affordable housing, schools, water and sewer needs. Regional studies predict that the dramatic growth will only continue to change the landscape of the Triangle.

"Well, I think the old cartoon 'we have met the enemy and he is us' is the thing I think we need to keep in mind," Jennings said.

Cary has shouldered much of that growth through the 90's and Thursday night the town council took measures to slow development in the community. Real estate agents expect that will only drive up the cost of housing there.

Regional planners now expect explosive growth to hit other outlying areas like Apex, Morrisville and Clayton.

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Cullen Browder, Reporter
David Renner, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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