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Laurel Park OKs development on U.S. 64

Glen Englram presents a petition with around 800 names opposed to the Arcadia Views development. Glen Englram presents a petition with around 800 names opposed to the Arcadia Views development.

LAUREL PARK — The Laurel Park Town Council voted unanimously to approve the development application for the Cottages at Arcadia Views during a meeting Tuesday morning at First Congregational Church.

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The proposal has been submitted by WXZ Development Inc., a Cleveland, Ohio, company that plans a development in five phases. The initial phase included 28 duplex buildings that will consist of 56 single-level homes. The proposal has been met with opposition from some Laurel Park residents and many more from Hunters Crossing and Hawthorn Hills across U.S. 64, who are not residents of Laurel Park. Opponents cited concerns about high traffic, lighting and lack of proper safety for residents. Present on behalf of WXZ was Senior Development Manager Mark Kopcienski.
Because the meeting was a quasi-judicial process, residents had to be sworn in before they could speak during the public hearing portion. While more than a dozen people were sworn in, several declined to speak when their turn became available.
One resident, Greg Plumb, dismissed the development plan as “magical thinking,” saying that there were inconsistencies between the proposed layout for Arcadia Views and the NCDOT's requirements for turning lanes near the development's entrances.
“According to NCDOT's roadway design manual, a left turn lane on U.S. 64 in fact requires 1,200 feet of roadway to build,” he said. “The developer owns 600.72 feet in front of that section of U.S. 64, which begs the question, how do you widen 1,200 feet of road way into 600 feet?. Well, the answer to that is the developer will have to acquire more than 600 feet of additional right of way from abiding properties.”
Plumb went on to estimate that the developer would need to acquire property from six residencies to see this plan through. Despite that, Plumb said that NCDOT had previously stated that it would not invoke eminent domain.
Several more spoke at the hearing, but once it had concluded there were several rebuttals directed towards the council before it moved on to the vote. Councilman Paul Hansen accused some of the outspoken residents of waiting until the eleventh hour to ask for meaningful change to the development.
At around 12:30 the meeting adjourned. It had gone on for more than three hours and most of the opponents had walked out in frustration. As Kopcienski left Felix Hall at First Congregational Church, he turned to thank all of the residents, including those opposed the the Arcadia Views development. But by that point he was addressing a mostly empty room.