Knightdale talks with Triangle Community Coalition about growth

mhankerson@newsobserver.comMarch 11, 2014 

— Town leaders walked the Triangle Community Coalition through some of its achievements, challenges and plans as a way to look for support and suggestions as the town continues to grow.

Triangle Community Coalition chairman Michael Birch, an attorney who specializes in land use and planning, helped the town with its upcoming Glenmere subdivision, and asked the town for a more comprehensive update on its overall development.

The Triangle Community Coalition is a group that focuses on promoting development while keeping property owners’ interests in mind. The organization visits towns regularly to avoid problems, Birch said.

“We have a vision for where we want Knightdale and we’re flexible to work with outside groups,” said Councilor Dustin Tripp at the meeting last week.

Birch told town officials that in a survey the organization distributes to developers and other parties that work with towns, Knightdale was reported to be one of the more popular towns in the Triangle.

“People have had great things to say about working with the town,” Birch said. Surveys referenced the town’s straightforward code as one of the aspects that make Knightdale easy to work with.

Although the Coalition had good news for the town, Mayor Russell Killen was also looking for ways attract more developers.

“We don’t claim to have the best ideas,” he said. “We’re open to suggestions.”

Town officials touted their growth and proximity to Raleigh as some of the positive attributes of the town. Killen also pointed out that being 9 miles from downtown Raleigh was key in drawing more permanent residents to the town.

“(Growth in Raleigh) presents in opportunity in Knightdale that other municipalities just don’t have,” he said.

And although most of the town’s growth in the last few years has been on the western side of the town, Town Manager Seth Lawless said they’ve been seeing more growth in the east, a change spurred by the recent restart of the Wendell Falls project.

Even with the growth in a new part of town, town officials seemed to be looking for ways to attract more apartment projects to provide more multi-family housing.

Planning Director Chris Hills told the Coalition there have been 1,000 new apartment units in the town in seven years and there continues to be a growing interest.

The town markets itself to young, beginning families but Hills said they are open to apartments if “(they’re) in the right place and it makes sense.” The town has tried to attract more apartment projects by offering incentives through the town’s water allocation policy.

The Coalition did not offer any suggestions at the meeting.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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