Local News

Neighbors fight plans for Cary office park

Posted July 23, 2008 6:13 p.m. EDT
Updated July 24, 2008 9:17 a.m. EDT

— Neighbors once again are fighting plans to develop an area at the intersection of Piney Plains and Stephens roads in northeast Cary.

Wimberly Associates wants to develop a 450,000-square-foot office park on the 16-acre site near Cary Crossroads. Residents of the nearby Wellington Park subdivision said increased stormwater runoff could flood their property and worry about traffic congestion in the area.

"We're not against development, and we're probably not against an office park. But the scope of the office park that they are proposing we are against," said Ruth Merkle, a board member for the Wellington Park Homeowners Association.

Attorneys for Wimberly Associates have met with residents three times in recent months to discuss their concerns, and they said they have added numerous details to the site plan to accommodate them, including retention ponds, tree buffers and additional landscaping.

Some neighbors contend the accommodations aren't enough.

"I do appreciate the developer's efforts to listen to our concerns, but just because they're listening doesn't mean that (an office park is) the responsible thing to do," Wellington Park resident Kenneth Mastro said.

Attorney Gray Styers said an office park would be a good fit between Crossroads and nearby subdivisions.

"We need good transition of land use, and an office park serves that very very well," Styers said. "An office park will increase the tax base for Cary."

Two years ago, Wimberly Associates proposed a 350-unit condominium development for the site. The Cary Town Council rejected the plans after neighbors protested.

The developer filed suit against Cary over the failed project, alleging the plan met all town requirements. Styers said the lawsuit would be withdrawn if the town allows the office park to move forward.

Some residents said they fear town leaders will approve the plan to avoid the lawsuit. Styers said his clients want to avoid another protest.

A public hearing on Wimberly Associates' request to rezone the property for an office park proposal is scheduled for Thursday evening during the Town Council meeting. The plans are expected to go before the planning board in September and return to the Town Council in October.

Because residents have filed valid protest petitions against the office park plans, six of seven Town Council members would have to approve the plans.