Knightdale gives Village Park Commons two years to restart development plan

mhankerson@newsobserver.comApril 4, 2014 

— A retail development eight years in the making received approval from town council on March 19 to take another two years to create its development plan.

Senior planner Jennifer Currin said in those two years, Widewaters SE Real Estate Investors will have to submit construction drawings, receive approval from the town and then obtain building permits for Village Park Commons, slated for an area of land on Knightdale Boulevard between Widewaters Parkway and Parkside Commons Drive.

Currently, Widewaters hasn’t told the town which retailers they want to bring to the development, but it’s not required at this stage, Currin said. When the project reaches the permitting stage, specific retailers will have to be in place.

The 24-month period should be enough time to complete the next two steps because a master plan was completed in 2006, Currin said.

Village Park Commons began to be developed in 2006 but soon became entrenched in controversy, so the town never received construction drawings or permits.

The property's original developers sued the town of Knightdale over the temporary zoning of the property, which was eventually resolved in favor of the town.

Earlier plans to anchor the retail development with a Super Wal-Mart also created controversy.

While those issues were worked out, the project was put on hold, but now Widewaters SE Real Estate Investors, Inc. wants to move forward with creating a new retail hub, the company's attorney Michael King told town council.

The town could have scrapped the entire project in the 8-year-period, but a”perfect storm” of events made it hard to do so, Mayor Russell Killen said.

While the 2006 lawsuit was resolved, work on the project was put on hold. In 2009, the state passed a Permit Extension Act that made sure any valid permits for plans would not expire between January 2008 and December 2010, during the economic recession.

After that, the town held discussions about rescinding the temporary zoning but King told the council then that his client was looking to restart the project.

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

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