Lori Bush: Davis & High House Projects Start Rolling

Story by Lori Bush, republished from LoriBush.org. Photo by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – The construction trucks are starting to roll at Davis Drive and High House, so get ready for some changes to occur.

Two projects are slated to begin this month at that intersection – at 2 of the 4 quadrants. Searstone is a project that has several components already started – the roads, lights, and trees have been down for quite some time.  You might also remember that Bradford was the controversial development that launched many citizens into action when it was proposed and finally approved in 2007.

Although these developments were approved 5 years ago, the state of the economy has slowed their timelines, causing both of these communities to now be on a similar build out trajectory. I expect that we will soon see a lot of movement and traffic delays as work begins.

Searstone

The Searstone Retirement Community is expected to start putting in their infrastructure for their residential buildings beginning this month.  You can see the construction trucks in place, and many of the outlying retail buildings are already open.

Based on the site plan, it looks to be an exciting and beautiful community, with a significant amount of open space, greenways, a lovely water feature and even a conservatory.  I love the idea of a senior community being close to our wonderful parks and catty corner to shopping and retail.

Town staff provided Mayor Weinbrecht, Councilmember Adcock and me an update on the project that has been on hold while the developer has secured funding.

  • Building for all of the residential components will occur at the same time, rather than each of the buildings being completed in a phased plan.
  • Additional road improvements will be needed; an eastbound right-turn lane at High House and Cary Parkway, an eastbound left-turn lane on High House also at Cary Parkway, additional widening of High House road
  • A new traffic light on High House Road, aligned with Magness Drive in Bradford will be required once the warrant analysis is completed.

You can learn more on the Town of Cary Website and see the 99 pages of site plan documents. :-)

Or, visit Searstone’s webpage for more information.

Bradford

Bradford has also started moving forward in the building process. It’s slated as a “mixed-use development” that was approved to have  commercial (100,000 to 200,000 square feet), Office use (7,500-1000,000 square feet) and between 300-340 residential units (with 20-40 of those being townhomes.)

Notable updates from staff include:

  • Bradford increased their residential units by 50 units while reducing the maximum commercial square footage by 50,000 square feet. (Total residential units = 390)
  • A cemetery is located on the property, and will be left on site
  • First implementation phase will be residential, with about 65,000 square feet of commercial
  • The parking decks will not be built UNTIL needed by the developer
  • Despite rumors to the contrary, there is NOT a movie theatre in the site plan
  • None of the retail is identified in the the plan, and is certainly not in phase 1. It IS possible that this developer can sell off the retail space in the same manner that Searstone did several years ago.
  • Depending on the timing of the Bradford and Searstone projects, one of those developers will have to widen an offsite intersection –  Cary Parkway and High House, based on their traffic impact.  Widening that intersection will be significant, given the amount of traffic through that corridor and the fact that any change will cause the clock tower and brick walls to be moved.
  • Installation of Magness Road with signaled lights at both ends – lining up with Riggsbee Farm subdivision and Searstone. Signals will only be added as the traffic warrants the need.  (I’m worried about the traffic, since it backs up so quickly there when folks are headed home from work.)

You can check out the site plans on the Town of Cary page.  I also found their commercial webpage, online.

8 replies
  1. Gary
    Gary says:

    I sure hope we get some more food places at Bradford, so my bride and I can walk to more meals from Preston. We already walk to Target, and await the food places there to open, like McAllisters. And, it’s always a nice walk to Georgina’s, or Smithfiled’s. And, I can always work at my part-time job while telecommuting via the free unlimited wireless at McDonalds and their senior coffee deal!

    Our goal is to leave the car parked for a whole week except for a trip for groceries on Senior discount day, and church on Sunday.

    Cary has so much sprawl, and gasoline is getting so expensive. Thanks Cary for having the sidewalks already done. Some day Morrisville will get their blacktop versions improved on Morrisville Parkway, and the RR will make the crossing a bit more pedestrian-safe.

  2. Owen
    Owen says:

    “Signals will only be added as the traffic warrants the need.”
    1. Who will have to pay for the signals, if they are built? The town? If the developer doesn’t build it from the start won’t it be hard to force them to build it later? Especially if they happen to be in financial trouble or something?

    2. Adding stoplights on Davis seems like it would be a terrible idea. The three signals at Lake Grove, Morrisville Carpenter, and the Ace Hardware driveway can cause southbound evening rush hour traffic to back up for over 2 miles. Right now, the area around High House isn’t as bad but adding the stoplights at Riggsbee Farm and Valleystone would probably turn it into a 5 mile backup.

    Maybe the tollway will take some of the traffic bound for Apex and Holly Springs off of Davis but I’m not too optimistic.

    • Lori Bush
      Lori Bush says:

      Owen – those are great questions. Although I THINK I know the answer – I have reached out to staff to confirm. I’ll get back to you. Thanks for reading!

  3. Lindsey Chester
    Lindsey Chester says:

    The fact that the retail can be sold off piecemeal by the developer should be concerning to all-
    Look what happened at Searstone! The original plans called for planned “village style retail”at the corner of Davis & High House- that would allow for seniors to walk to shopping.
    But what did we get?
    First a CVS with a DRIVE-Thru, then a BoJangles with another drive-thru and then, surprise- a Firestone auto repair! So much for pedestrian friendly.
    The same will happen across the street. There exist 5 “out parcels” at the Bradford- those are the priciest pieces of the real estate pie- These will be sold off –
    the original plans here called for lovely village retail to echo Stone Creek, but now there is no talk that this will ever be built in the current phasing.
    No doubt we will see additional drive-thru convenience stores making traffic at that corner a nightmare.

    Be careful council and Cary Staff what you approve- it’s rarely what gets built.

  4. Lori Bush
    Lori Bush says:

    FYI – I received the following information from Staff to Owen’s questions. (I put the answers in italics. Thanks so much, again, for asking these questions. I always learn something new from our citizens and staff.

    Who will have to pay for the signals, if they are built? The town?

    The developer is responsible to pay the full cost of traffic signals at site driveways.

    If the developer doesn’t build it from the start won’t it be hard to force them to build it later? Especially if they happen to be in financial trouble or something?

    We [the Town of Cary] require financial guarantees in Cary’s Land development Ordinance and to receive certificates of occupancy in any phase the associated improvements must be complete or a financial guarantee must be in place. We will hold those financial guarantees indefinitely unless the condition of approval can be satisfied or otherwise removed by Town Council. Since the financial guarantees are cash or a bank letter of credit they are not impacted by financial trouble of the developer.

    2. Adding stoplights on Davis seems like it would be a terrible idea. The three signals at Lake Grove, Morrisville Carpenter, and the Ace Hardware driveway can cause southbound evening rush hour traffic to back up for over 2 miles. Right now, the area around High House isn’t as bad but adding the stoplights at Riggsbee Farm and Valleystone would probably turn it into a 5 mile backup.

    Traffic signal additions at minor streets intersection do not control the capacity of a street system, the traffic signals at major intersections like High House Road control the capacity for the street system. The reasoning is that minor streets need very little green time and stop the major road for a short period of time relative to the adjacent major street intersection. Congestion caused by streets over capacity and driver frustration stopping at traffic signals are two separate issues. We also address frequent stopping through the traffic signal system in Cary that connects all traffic signals and minimizes stopping at every traffic signal as we progress traffic as much as possible.

    Improvements to the Davis Drive and High House Road major street intersection was considered in the traffic studies performed for both developments. Each development must mitigate their increase in traffic, but are not required to fix existing problems. The improvement required of the developments will mitigate their increases traffic which is all we can legally require. The traffic study does not predict a five mile backup, note the goal is for things to be about the same overall (some individual turning movements could get longer as other get shorter to offset) before and after a development occurs. Certainly increased traffic for other reasons, such as added pass through traffic from nearby Towns or major employment, can cause increased congestion, but once again we cannot legally require a development to fix a problem it did not create.

    Hope that helps – Lori

  5. Gary
    Gary says:

    Drive-thrus often have people waiting in line, burning up expensive fuel, adding to pollution–just like the lines (twice a day) at schools, for those who do not ride the bus. Incredible

    Maybe Cary could levy a drive-through tax, and get rid of the eat-in tax. Use the tax money to offset the biosolids disposal so it can break even some day.

    Or, a Boj or McD’s invents a discounted walk-up window!

  6. Hui
    Hui says:

    I live on Council Gap Ct. where the development is right across the creek in my backyard. I just found out they had come to my land without my permission and cut down two trees on my property. They are also supposed to stay away from the creek for 100 yard no disturbance zone, which they are not doing either.
    Lori, do you have any ideas who I should take these issues to?
    Thanks!

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