Developer proposes rezoning 91 acres in Pittsboro along 15-501 near Northwood High School

Pittsboro, NC – At Monday evening’s Pittsboro Town Board meeting, a developer is proposing to rezone 91.37 acres along the western side of US 15-501 North – from just north of the US 64 Bypass up to the entrance of Northwood High School. The mixed-use development would include a 264-unit apartment complex, a number of mid-to-large sized commercial box stores, office space, greenway trails and a park. The official site plan has not yet come before the Pittsboro Town Commissioners.

John Fugo

John Fugo

ECO C.P. Partners LLC will be the developer for the Project. ECO C.P. Partners LLC is an affiliate The Eco Group, collaboration between business owners John Fugo of Durham-based Montgomery Carolina LLC and Kirk Bradley of Sanford-based Lee-Moore Capital Company. The Eco Group has been involved with multi-family, commercial and mixed use projects throughout the Triangle. John Fugo and Kirk Bradley, principals, have developed or built over 11,000,000 square feet combined in retail and commercial.

The development site consists of approximately 91.375 acres, with primary proposed access points directly from US Hwy 15-501 and Northwood High School Road. The Developer has been working with the Chatham County School Board and its traffic consultants to reach agreement on the needed improvements to the existing Northwood High School Road. Further the Developer has agreed to provide at its sole expense a much needed new access road from U.S. Hwy 15-501 to Northwood High School.

The US Hwy 15-501 access to the Development will be via an NCDOT approved access point approximately 700 feet south of the current intersection of US Hwy 15-501 and the existing Northwood High School Road. This access will allow northbound traffic on 15-501 to make a left over into the project. A right in and right out is also provided at this location for traffic departing the site. Additionally, there will be access to the Development from Northwood High School Road from two (2) separate access points. One of which is a proposed roundabout that will realign Northwood High School Road.

The Development site currently lies adjacent to the Pittsboro Town limits, and falls within the ETJ for the Town. The Developer, by submitting this application, states its intention to annex the Development into the Town of Pittsboro.

The Development is currently zoned RA-2, Residential-Agricultural, which is defined under the Current Zoning Ordinance (as previously defined) as providing land primarily for low density residential development in rural areas while permitting continued agricultural use. The development is located on the periphery of the urbanized Pittsboro area. The future development of the area encompassing the Project as envisioned within the 2012 Pittsboro Land Use Plan (the “LUP”) has been targeted to include “commercial” with the following encouraged uses: uses that benefit from convenient access to both US 64 and US 15-501, such as general commercial, restaurants, and professional services. According to the LUP, development within this area should be “well planned with street front and interior lot landscaping, coordinated building styles, attractive signage, and shared driveways/access where appropriate”. The requested MUPD zoning designation will allow the project to fulfill all of these encouraged uses, and to also adhere to the proposed development standards of the LUP.

northwood mupd rezoning and illustrative site plan

Concept drawing of a proposed development just south of Northwood High School on US 15-501 North. The developers compared it to the Beaver Creek shopping center in Apex.

The proposed Illustrative Site Plan will allow large and medium sized retail, office with residential above, restaurants, and multi-family units. The easy access from both US Hwy 15-501 and the to be improved Northwood High School Road allows for the integration of the proposed uses as envisioned in the Town LUP.

It is anticipated that the project area will be subdivided into a maximum of 21 lots, 18 lots are currently shown on the Illustrative Site Plan. The Illustrative Site Plan is being presented as representational of proposed potential Project development, but is not to be considered final in any form, and is submitted solely for illustrative purposes.
In addition to the protected open space provided within the buffered areas; a +/- 2AC Park is planned near the access from 15-501. This Park contains a substantial cluster of hardwood trees which will be preserved. Two restaurant sites are planned (Lot 8) overlooking this grove of trees. The food service planned on Lot 8 will have outdoor gathering areas that transition into the Park wlking trails are planned within the Park connecting all adjoining uses.

Sidewalks and walking trails will provide connectivity within the Development. In particular sidewalks will connect to the Northwood Road Improvements project and a Pedestrian Crossing of 15-501 is planned to allow safe access to the planned development located across 15-501 in the North Village area of Chatham Park. The 15-501 pedestrian crossing will be completed prior to the 1st Building Certificate of Occupancy within the Northwood MUPD.

Earliest occupancy is anticipated in 2020.

Internal building and parking setbacks within the property are zero given that the developer anticipates the potential of connected (attached) buildings and shared parking.
Subdivision plats and Site Plans will be submitted in accordance with the requirements of the Current Subdivision Ordinance, and the Current Zoning Ordinance with allowance for the conditions specified within the MUPD document and plan.

northwood mupd trafficThe Development is located at the intersection of U.S. Hwy 15-501 and U.S. 64, and therefore lies within a Major Transportation Corridor (MTC). Any site plan submission shall conform to the planning requirements as established in the Current Zoning Ordinance relating to regulation of development within MTC, including buffer requirements, setbacks, sign control, turn lanes and driveways, and pedestrian facilities.

A study of the impact of the development on traffic within the project area has been completed by Kimley Horn Engineers.

Traffic improvements include:
⦁ New Access to 15-501 south of Northwoods High School Road
⦁ Realignment and Widening of Northwoods High School Road with round-about
⦁ 2nd Access Road to Northwoods High School from US 15-501 north of existing road
⦁ Revisions or updates to the Kimley Horn study will be made as needed as each phase of the Development moves forward, and is presented to the Town for individual site plan approval

Plans for parking and loading in the MUPD include:

1. Off-Street Vehicular Parking: The minimum number of off-street parking spaces is set forth in the “Off-Street Parking Schedule” attached as Appendix A Off-street parking may be provided anywhere or as otherwise allowed, either as surface parking spaces, or spaces within a parking structure, whether above or below ground. The Developer may exceed the minimum number of spaces as stated. A parking study may be provided at the time of individual site plan submittal, and the Developer may request an Administrative Alternative from the Town to establish a parking standard for the Project based upon the parking study that will be prepared based on the specific mix of uses within the Development at the time of site plan submittal(s). The parking study will be modified as specific users become known and further site plans are submitted.

2. Off-Street Bicycle Parking: Required off street vehicular parking may be reduced by one (1) space for every (2) off-street dedicated bicycle parking spaces provided above the required minimum number of off-street bicycle spaces as shown in Appendix B. Provided however, in no event shall the number of off-street vehicle parking spaces be reduced below 90% of the required number of off-street parking spaces. Off-street bicycle parking will include a secure facility (i.e. racks, posts) to which bicycles may be locked, and will comply with the following standards:
⦁ Bicycle parking facilities will be located so as to be reasonably convenient to the on-site use.
⦁ Each bicycle parking area shall be designed in a manner so as not to interfere with pedestrian and automobile traffic.

3. Compact Vehicle Parking Spaces: Up to fifteen percent (15%) of the required number of off-street vehicle parking spaces (as determined by the parking study) may be designed to accommodate compact vehicles, which shall allow for a reduction in the width of those parking stalls to eight (8) feet.

4. Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations: Up to ten percent (10%), or any greater percentage approved as an Administrative Alternative, of the required number of off-street vehicle parking spaces may consist of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

5. Off-Street Loading Schedule: Off-street loading spaces shall be required for industrial, office, institutional, business, and other uses that can be expected to regularly receive or deliver goods, pursuant to the following Off-Street LoadingSchedule. An applicant may request an Administrative Alternative to the required number of loading spaces for businesses that receive or deliver a substantial part of goods only by United States Postal Service, or by United Parcel Service, Federal Express, or other substantially similar delivery service.

On-street bicycle facilities will be provided for all public roadways. The types and locations of on-street bicycle facilities will be determined in development plan approvals. Where appropriate, on-street bicycle facilities will be provided as either 5-foot bike lanes in each direction or as 10-foot multi-use paths parallel to the street for connection to a greenway. Appropriate pavement markings and signs, in accordance with current design standards, also will be provided to clearly delineate bicycle facilities for both cyclists and motorists.

The Illustrative Site Plan also calls for greenway/multi-use path facilities to be constructed to supplement on-road bicycle and pedestrian facilities and to connect to natural areas and amenities within and in close proximity to the development. These facilities will be constructed at a minimum of 8 feet wide and would typically accommodate recreation cyclists. Conceptual locations of greenways in the Project are shown on the Illustrative Site Plan, and specific locations of greenways will be detailed in development plans.

Sidewalks or a combination of sidewalks and multi-use paths will be provided on both sides of the streets in the Project. Sidewalk widths will vary from 5 feet (typical) up to 20 feet in certain areas of predominantly urban context with high pedestrian volumes. Typical locations and widths of sidewalks are reflected on the included roadway cross sections. All sidewalks in the Project will be constructed with appropriate curb ramps and marked crosswalks.
Greenway locations will be established in site plans, subject to adjustment in accordance with development plan approvals. Greenways will be constructed with asphalt, but may utilize alternative materials based on site-specific conditions. Where multi-use paths parallel and are proximate to a specific roadway, they will replace the 5 foot sidewalk on that side of the road.

A combination of evergreen and deciduous plantings per Type “C” buffer requirements will be utilized to screen views into parking and service areas, Landscape plantings shall be planned so that objectionable views are screened while still providing visibility of commercial, office and retail establishments. Landscape plans developed within the guidelines as stated within Section VIII —”Landscaping” in this submission will be submitted with each individual site plan.

The opportunity for shared parking is anticipated and will be included within the restrictive covenants submitted with the Subdivision plans. A parking study will be included with the subdivision submission and adjusted through the life of the project as specific users and resulting site plans are submitted.

A garden style apartment complex is proposed to be located in the northwestern quadrant of the Development to provide a buffer area between Northwood High School property and the more intense and dense mixed commercial uses planned for the Development. The multi-family area will integrated into the mix of uses, and will be connected to the mixed use area, and the other users by way of pedestrian connections such as sidewalks, trails, etc. The concept plan calls for 264 apartments in the southwest corner of the development.

The developers hope to attract a grocery store as an anchor to the proposed commercial center near Northwood High School.