Traffic Calming Project Near North Hills Approved

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Editor’s note: a previous version of this article incorrectly stated that case Z-16-14 was approved; it failed to receive the required number of votes required for approval.

City councilors on Tuesday rejected rezoning plans for a new multifamily development on Varsity Drive while approving a traffic calming project on Currituck Drive near North Hills.

Rezoning

Councilors heard two rezoning cases Tuesday.

Z-16-14 concerned the rezoning of a property on Varsity Drive near the NC State campus. Although the property currently houses a spattering of multifamily structures, the rezoning would allow for the creation of a four- or five-story apartment building consisting of 180 units. Mayor McFarlane said she was still concerned about the height of the building.

Although the case received a vote of 4-3 in its favor, five votes are needed to approve a rezoning case.

The second case on Tuesday is one that will affect a significantly larger portion of the city. Z-27-14 concerns the remapping of all commercial properties within the Unified Development Ordinance zoning districts. Steven Schuster of the planning commission told council they had worked on this item for six months. They had received over 40 hours of testimony and the predominant issues were frontages and height.

“And we don’t feel that remapping the entire city is the right venue for addressing those on a case-by-case basis,” Schuster said.

A public hearing for Z-27-14 was set for July 7.

Traffic Calming

Two traffic calming projects were considered on Tuesday — one on Currituck Drive and the other on Town and County Road. In both cases, council had asked staff to provide alternatives to the traffic circles in both of the plans.

Currituck Drive is located right near the North Hills development

Bing Maps

Currituck Drive is located right near the North Hills development

For the traffic calming project on Currituck Drive, staff provided numerous alternatives to cut costs and eliminate the traffic circle. They included removing curb extensions, replacing one traffic circle with a single median, and removing the other traffic circle and evaluating the placement of a four-way stop. The total savings from the adjustments were $56,100, reducing the total cost of the project by 31 percent.

“I think this is a good compromise, a good result,” Councilor Maiorano said.

The item was approved unanimously.

The traffic calming project on Town and County Road involved six alternatives to the traffic circle in the Kingsley Road area. They included a speed hump, a mini round-a-bout, a speed message sign and a short street improvement. After councilors learned that the negative feedback surrounding the speed hump was largely from those outside of the area, a motion was made by Councilor Maiorano to go back to the neighborhood with that option.

Lower Longview Lake Dredging

Councilors explored on Tuesday additional avenues for the treatment of the Lower Longview Lake dredging project. While initially focused on dredging the lake, staff had found the project to be very costly and without much benefit to the public. Moving forward with the project, Blair Hinkle, of the public works department, said, would set a challenging precedent for future dredging projects.

Longview Lake

Councilor Crowder talked about the stream erosion within the lake and wanted to know if there was a plan to address it. “It seems we are in a tough spot.”

Councilor Baldwin speculated that this might get done with “some sort of joint partnership” and other councilors wanted to see how much money it would cost and how the cost might affect other projects.

“I think there should be more discussion on this and I think we can find a solution,” Councilor Weeks said.

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