Episode #6 of the Apex Roundup Podcast. It’s the “Ford is Back” special.
This is a special episode of the podcast. The Apex town council held a special meeting in order to have three public hearings related to Crossroads Ford proposal to relocate some of its operations to Apex. This was rejected over a year ago. Now it’s back in a different form. You may be surprised to discover what happened this time.
Also, I want to read a short commentary from a May 1968 article in support of our police officers.
Jumping into podcasting with both boots, I’m Lance Olive, host of the Apex Roundup Podcast. I’m glad you’re here with me right now. My goal is to bring you the news of Apex that the print media no longer covers. The Apex Herald? Folded in 2013. The Southwest Wake insert to the News & Observer? Gone foodie. And even social media posts have a difficult time presenting both sides of the story.
That’s why I’m here. Thirty minutes, twice a month, I round up the stories, the decisions and the opinions, and I share ’em with you.
You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, iTunes and Google. Just search for Apex Roundup with Lance Olive.
All righty, then. Let’s get started, shall we?
The Apex Town Council met Tuesday, August 22, to discuss Crossroads Ford’s proposal to relocate some of its operations to Apex, North Carolina. Over a year ago, the town council turned down the rezoning of a very large assemblage of land on the northwest corner of US Highway 64 and North Salem Street, which was being pitched as the future home of Crossroads Ford, which is currently located in Cary.
While you may not realize was that Crossroads Holdings had already purchased, and had rezoned, an assemblage south of the one I just mentioned. That is, on the southwest corner of the US 64 and North Salem Street intersection, where Smith and Smith Land Surveyors was formerly located for over 40 years.
The special meeting had three public hearings. The first two were “standard” type and the third was quasi-judicial, and I’ll get into what that means in a bit.
- The meeting started at 5:00 pm and all council members were present.
- Public Hearing #1 was to relocate a minor collector street from the residential portion of Haddon Place, particular, the extension of Charlion Downs, which was to connect over to North Salem Street, north to connect into the stub on Carolina Bell Road in the Orchard Villas, which has street connections to the middle of Haddon Hall and US Highway 64. The residents of the Orchard Villas turned out in great numbers to object to the connection, thankfully represented by a single individual, and three other people spoke during the public hearing. But the street was always planned to be connected out, that’s why it has a stubbed end, rather than a cul-de-sac, and finally, the council voted 3-2 to make the change as presented by staff. Let me make note here of the fact that the rezoning conditions for the Crossroads property requires the developer to build a portion of this street already, so staff’s assessment is that the transportation plan map needs to reflect that requirement.
- Public Hearing #2 was to rezone a very small (one third of an acre) portion of land on North Salem Street, that is part of the Crossroads property, and recently abandoned by the NC DOT as surplus. That is, they no longer needed a right of way there and it has already been released, but not yet rezoned to match the rest of the assemblage. This also passed by a 3-2 margin.
- Public Hearing #3 was the quasi-judicial public hearing for the Major Site Plan of Crossroads Ford to build their sales and service center on this 21-acre property, west of North Salem Street and south of US 64.
- First, what is a quasi-judicial hearing? The North Carolina General Statutes require the town board to hold this “court-style” hearing for major site plans in order to provide a proper venue for fact-finding so the elected representatives can make their decisions based on testimony of, and evidence presented by credentialed experts. Testimony must be, quote “competent, material and substantial.” Non-expert opinion is disallowed during this type of hearing, and often rightly objected to by the applicant’s attorney. The council must then deliberate, much like a judge would do, on what they’ve seen and heard, and combine the objective criteria with their subjective findings and render a decision as a voting body. A multi-person judge, as it were.
- Second, what is a major site plan? The developer, in this case, William G. Daniel Associates, led by Bill Daniel, submits a complete set of plans as to how the full site will be used, including street connections, parking, building location and footprint, landscaping, natural resource preservation, lighting, storm water management and so forth. A site plan that is sufficiently large, as defined in the UDO, is considered to be “major”.
- Third, what will this possibly look like? Since a picture says a thousand words, I’ll put a link here in the show notes, which you can read at apex roundup dot com slash 006, since this is episode 6. The building was proposed to have a curved front, with many architectural features added for visual interest, thanks to the planning staff diligence working with the architect Chris Howard. It will be located relatively close to the North Salem Street, in the southern portion of the property. The garages are in the long section in back, towards the west. I’ll add another picture as well, to show you the layout. The parking lot of new car inventory will be on the north side of the property, next to the US-64 exit ramp, which is elevated above the subject property. There were will a significant amount of tree screening. The applicant made their case thoroughly and there was no opposition testimony presented.
- The council voted 4-1 to approve the major site plan for Crossroads Ford.
- We adjourned at approximately 8:25pm.
So now I’m wondering how you feel about this. You may be thinking that this is the ruination of Apex. Or on the other hand, you may feel like this will be OK, but we should find other, better uses for the other three corners of this intersection.
Shall I tell you what I think? OK, I will. Even knowing that you may disagree with me, I trust our relationship is strong enough to withstand it. The council made the correct decision here. And I’ll tell you, very briefly, why I say that.
- First, in 2015, this assemblage of parcels was rezoned for a few dozens valid commercial uses, one of which was “Sales, Auto, Retail”. This communicated to the property owner that this is an allowed use and that they can go spend money to design a building and site plan that would show how they wish to put this land to use. If you were in their shoes and had this zoning, you would pursue the designs, expecting that, if you come up with an acceptable site plan, one that staff says meets their high criteria, and it is sufficiently high to protect all of our interests, that the town would, in good faith, approve these site plans.
- Second, the site plan in question addressed concerns of architecture, lighting noise, building location, planted screenings, truck unloading and traffic flow. This development makes some much needed off-site road improvements. One to aid the flow into and out of Thales Academy, and the other is to address the hot mess of North Salem Street under the US 64 bridge, with the short suicide lane in the middle and traffic that backs up causing people to unsafely pass on right, in both directions. This all gets fixes, paid for by the developer.
- Third, even though some proponents tout taxes and jobs and reasons to support this, and those arguments are easily dismantled as nominal benefits as best, the planners for the town of Apex, along with the traffic engineer, have set some high bars for this developer, and, you know what? They met them. All of them. The building will look like an corporate headquarters building straight out of Hot Business magazine (not a real magazine, by the way), and indeed could be converted to that one day when Crossroads Ford decides to relocate again.
The council, in the end, did the hard thing, for the right reasons, and I applaud them. I ask that you support them… all of them… because this was a tough, thankless job. Let me start: “Council? I thank you for your energy, time, commitment and passion. And for doing the right, and hard, thing.”
The content of this podcast is proudly produced in Apex, North Carolina. By continuing to listen to it, you agree to hold me harmless for anything I may say here. Although I am indeed the mayor, the opinions expressed by me are my own. All information shared on this program is already public record. This podcast is a private venture and no public or campaign money was used in its production. Make decisions by doing your own research, because I’m just here for your entertainment. No lawyers were harmed in the writing of this disclaimer, although one missed out on a $75 fee because I wrote it all by myself.
From the Western Wake Herald, May 16, 1968, an article entitled,
In these troubled times citizens depend more than even upon local police departments to maintain law and order in their communities. Ironically, as his job becomes increasingly difficult, subjecting him to dangers and abuse not so common a few years back, criticism of our policemen is becoming an almost standard tactic among some, an almost automatic defense of violence by others.
Almost invariably, when policemen are ordered to disperse massed sitters (remember, this is 1968 and there were many who protested the war in vietnam by sitting in public areas), demonstrators or others — who are breaking the law — they are afterwards charged with brutality. Too many gullible, well-meaning people are swayed by such charges.
Inevitably upon occasion, there are examples in which law enforcement officers could have performed better. But policemen are not perfect. We are lucky they are as fair as they are — considering what most are paid. They are only humans doing their best in a very difficult job.
And if there are some incidents where very onerous and dangerous duties must be performed, this is — in the final analysis — the product, and responsibility, of those who chose to break the law.
To expect everything in such situations to work perfectly, and every human to perform in a perfect manner, and to blame law enforcement officials when that doesn’t happen, is unrealistic; in addition, chronic depreciation of our place departments undermines the very fabric of an orderly, democratic society, respect for the law. [sic]
A photo this article will be posted in the show notes at apex roundup dot com slash 006.
Hey! I’m so glad you chose to spend time with me just now. You have lots of things keeping you busy in your life and yet you chose to hang out with me for a bit. I’m really glad about that.
Here’s what you have to look forward to when episode 7 comes out. I’ll recap the September 5th town council meeting where we finally answer the question, “What do you mean Veridea might have mid-rise buildings in it? And what is a mid-rise building, anyway?” Oh, we’ll also get to hear part two of my interview with Julia Beam and find out who are the Magic City Hippies, Blackfoot Gypsies, and August is Ours. If you missed part one of my interview, go back and listen to episode 5.
You can find more of this podcast on the web at apex roundup dot com, you can follow me on Twitter (@apexroundup) or join the Facebook Group call Apex Roundup. If you don’t want to miss any episodes, point your Podcast app to iTunes or Google Play and subscribe.
Thanks for being with me for this special episode. Until the next roundup… Happy Trails!