Planning Roundup: New Retail for Lake Boone Trail; Holly Hill Expanding

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Planning Commission members approved a request to rezone a 34-acre property on the north side of Lake Boone Trail between Blue Ridge Road and the I-440 Beltline.

The Villages of Lake Boone Trail apartment complex currently stands on the property. The case was delayed at the September 10th Planning Commission meeting to give the City Attorney’s office time to review the complex rezoning request.

While no substantial changes have been made to the initial request, some conditions have been refined to ensure they are in line with the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).

Attorney Michael Birch, representing the applicant, said the rezoning would address the lack of retail services in the area.

“There is a pent up demand and a public desire for service retail uses in this area,” Birch said. “The Blue Ridge Corridor Study identified a pent up demand and immediate need for service retail.”

Glenwood Place Apartments Approved

Commissioners approved plans for a 292-unit apartment building at the intersection of Women’s Club Drive and National Drive, inside the I-440 Beltline off Glenwood Avenue.

Due to the topography of the property, the building will sit on a hill that is essentially overlooking the neighboring Country Club Hills neighborhood. This caused area residents to be concerned about the size of the proposed building and how the lighting will impact their homes.

The property consists of about 13-acres that are zoned Office and Institutional and Conservation Management. The building will be constructed primarily in the area zoned Office and Institutional, while leaving the Conservation Management parcel of land as is.

Properties zoned as Conservation Management are typically developed for recreational purposes or natural green space.

Initial plans called for pathways to be built throughout the Conservation Management portion of the property with a connection to the neighboring greenway, but area residents rejected the idea.

Allan Bloom, an area homeowner, said the height and scale of the planned complex are not in keeping with the character of his neighborhood.

“This five-story building looming over us is a hulking presence,” Bloom said.

Neighbor Michael Tollison echoed his sentiment.

“The building is sitting on a very large hill overlooking very low houses,” Tollison said, “This is going to be a very large, lit building sitting in the back of a residential area with very expensive homes.”

Several Commissioners shared residents’ concerns about lighting.

Commissioner Quince Fleming asked, “What are you doing to address neighbors’ comments about the lights in the parking lots affecting their homes?”

Commissioner Joseph Lyle said, “My concern is really for some of those neighbors in the back,” Lyle said, “there’s not much we can do because of the topography, but what we may be able to do is make sure that the lighting back there is not extreme.”

Commissioners added conditions to their approval prohibiting the use of pole lighting and requesting some type of light screening in the planned parking deck to address these concerns.

Holly Hill Hospital Adding New Facility for Children and Adolescents

HollyHillHospital wants to expand to better serve the needs of its younger patients.

Commissioners approved plans for a new psychiatric hospital on Michael Smith Lane, between Carl Sandburg Court and Sungate Boulevard in southeast Raleigh.

The new facility will be about 53,600 square feet and will serve Holly Hill’s child and adolescent population.

Michael McDonald, CEO of Holly Hill Hospital, said the current facility has 168 licensed beds to treat patients needing help with psychiatric and substance abuse. It uses, on average, about 157 beds each day.

A transit easement is being built on the property voluntarily. Currently, the route 19 bus goes by the property but does not stop there. When a transit stop is established, property owners have offered to build a new bus shelter.

Oberlin Road Rezoning Sent to City Council

A request to rezone a half-acre property on Oberlin Road has been sent to City Council for review.

The property is located on the west side of Oberlin Road, at the intersection of Oberlin Road and Van Dyke Avenue.

If approved, the property would be rezoned from Office and Institution-1 to Office Mixed Use-Urban Limited.

Urban Limited is a frontage. The purpose of a frontage is to give a street or neighborhood a specific look, preserve the existing character of an area and guide the look of future development.

Deputy Planning Director Ken Bowers said the rezoning is primarily being done to produce a better urban form than is possible under the current zoning. There will be no increase in development intensity.

Much of the discussion centered on a condition that would prohibit vehicle access from Van Dyke Avenue.

Transportation Planning Manager Eric lamb said the condition is problematic and is in conflict with part of the new Unified Development Ordinance.

Ross Massey, representing the applicant, said the biggest concern expressed by neighbors has been vehicle access onto Van Dyke Avenue.

Area resident Laurie Hall echoed that sentiment.

“Van Dyke is a nightmare as it is,” Hall said, “The neighbors are adamant that you cannot let any more traffic onto Van Dyke.”

Commissioners discussed ways to address neighbors concerns while staying within the parameters of the UDO.

“I know the neighbors are concerned about traffic,” Commissioner Eric Braun said, “Is there a way to, since the applicant already seems to be comfortable putting an access on Oberlin if it’s allowed, can they amend the condition to say something like, they’ll request access onto Oberlin?”

The condition was removed from the plan, and a note recommending staff work to address area residents’ concerns about access onto Van Dyke Avenue was added to the approval.

Glenlake Office Expansion Moves Forward

Commissioners approved plans for a new office building to be constructed in the existing Glenlake Office Complex. The new building will have about 171,600 square feet of office space and will be located on Parkdale Avenue south of its intersection with Edwards Mill Road.

Commissioner Rodney Swink questioned the property’s stormwater management system and plans to utilize green design.

“Since this is part of a series of buildings that are coming together, and you’ve been anticipating this,” Swink said, “as you’ve done each one are you perhaps incorporating any new stormwater management elements, maybe green features or you basically have a single solution that you are committed to?”

When developers first began construction of the Glenlake Office Complex they anticipated the needs of future development and already incorporated it into their plans.

Daniels Street Rezoning Deferred

A request to rezone Daniels Street just northeast of the intersection of Oberlin Road and Smallwood Drive has been deferred at the applicant’s request.

The Hillsborough Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) met with the applicant last week, but will not have a chance to vote on the case until after the Planning Commission meeting.

The case was sent to the Committee of the Whole and will be discussed at their October 1st meeting.

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