Wake Forest, North Carolina – Environmentalists on Tuesday urged Raleigh City Council to reject a proposal to build an apartment complex on Louisburg Road, saying it would negatively impact Horseshoe Farm Nature Reserve and the River Neuse.
Buckingham Companies wants the 41-acre site just south of Mitchell Mill and Ligon Mill roads to be rezoned to allow a four-story, up to 375-unit building complex.
“The impact of a development as they propose and ask for is going to create a significant negative impact on this park and the wildlife,” said Lena Gallitano, who helped create the 146-acre Horseshoe Farm Preserve there. is 15 years old, pushing against a plan to convert the site into sports grounds.
The reserve, which is located on a bend in the Neuse river, remains mainly pastures and undeveloped woods.
“We have 147 listed species that have been seen in this park,” Gallitano said. “It’s a beautiful park, and it’s unlike anything in Raleigh. You can’t go anywhere in Raleigh that I know of where you can really enjoy nature. [like] this. I can get up here and look, and I don’t see a building. “
The Wake Audubon Society and the Sierra Club are leading the current fight against community development. More than 800 people have signed an online petition demanding that city council reject the zoning change and protect the reserve, and 58 of 62 people expected in a public hearing on the matter Tuesday night opposed the zoning change.
The Raleigh Planning Commission unanimously approved the apartment project.
“I’m concerned about what that will do in the long term for this park and the wildlife that now use and benefit from it,” said Gallitano. “It puts that in jeopardy now with this proposal and potentially two or three other adjacent lots along the river, which would have even more impact on Horseshoe.”
Buckingham officials released a statement to WRAL News rejecting many of the claims made by environmental groups about the proposed project.
The developer has agreed to preserve an additional area on the site beyond what the city ordinances require. This additional area will enhance the already existing buffer zones of the river and will preserve, provide a buffer zone for the non-wetland. disturbed to the east and provide additional water quality protections beyond what city ordinances require. This additional area would not be preserved if the property were developed with single-family residences, which can currently be built on site, ”the statement said.
“The buildings will not be visible from the open spaces of the park, given the distance between the two and the existing dense forest separating them,” the statement continued.
Gallitano said she recognizes the need for more affordable housing in Raleigh, but said the proposed resort will not provide that and will also break a trust to preserve the serenity of the reserve.
“We need housing. We don’t need it to have an impact on a nature reserve,” she said. “We don’t care what we have invested in.”