Cary Community Plan 2-23-17 Part 2

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GREEN LEVEL SPECIAL PLANNING AREA Green Level Special Planning Area A sizable amount of the remaining developable land in Cary lies within the Green Level area – an area where much change is occurring. There has been a strong market for new development in this area, and both Cary and its neighboring jurisdic on of Apex have seen many new residen al developments here over the past decade, gradually changing the historically rural character to a more suburban one. The prior plan for this area was Cary's Southwest Area Plan, adopted in 2004. That plan focused very heavily on maintaining and preserving the rural character of the area as it was in 2004, largely by limi ng development intensity, avoiding nonresiden al uses, encouraging open space preserva on through clustered development, and maintaining rural character along thoroughfare and collector roads, including shielding new development from view along such roads. But new transporta on infrastructure, namely the new Triangle Expressway (I-540), and the area's proximity to RTP has increased traffic through the area and created new market opportuni es for development. These changes, coupled with changes in the genera onal landowners' interest in selling or developing their land have dras cally changed the dynamics in this area since 2004. The 2004 Southwest Area Plan set out strategies to maintain the historic rural character, protect natural and cultural resources, and limit residen al densi es. The mo va on behind that focus was twofold. First, in the late 1990's through the early 2000's, a large number of long- me rural landowners and farm families organized to request that suburban development be kept out of their rural community. At the same me, they acknowledged the wishes of a small minority of their neighbors to sell their proper es for development, but sought to limit the community impacts of any such development. Second, the lower residen al densi es and increased open space recommended for the Green Level area were intended as a counterbalance to the higher development intensi es recommended by the 2002 Northwest Area Plan, which sought to increase future development densi es in the areas closest to RTP. The Northwest Plan was a special area plan for the northwestern area of Cary, located immediately north of Green Level, and extending to the border of Research Triangle Park. Context History Core Issues Changing Desires of Generational Landowners Ten to twenty years ago, most of the exis ng rural families and genera onal land owners (whose land had been in their families for mul ple genera ons) not only opposed suburban development in their community, but also strongly asserted that they would not sell for development. Accordingly, the 2004 plan rested on an assump on that suburban development in the community would be the rare excep on, rather than the rule. However, over me this has changed. In the past decade, many land owners changed their minds, and opted to sell for development – and the pace with which this happened has increased rapidly with the opening of the Triangle Expressway. Evolving Character of Area As landowners have sold and developed their land over the last decade, many new neighborhoods have developed. In the same me period, the area has seen development of the USA Baseball Na onal Training Complex, plans for a new high school and elementary school, several new public greenways including the American Tobacco Trail, plans for new and expanded churches, plans for two new public parks, the extension of public water and sewer lines, many sec ons of widened thoroughfares, and the opening of the Triangle Expressway and its interchange at Green Level West Road. What was once an exclusively rural area has been changing over the last decade into an emerging suburban community. 195

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