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The communities surrounding Cameron Village are about to get more than 1,000 new neighbors, prompting longtime residents to wonder what Oberlin Road will look like when the newcomers join rush hour.
Construction zones flank Oberlin at the shopping center, underscoring the area’s recent popularity with apartment developers. A portion of Clark Avenue is closed this month as Crescent Resources nears the finish line on a project that includes 282 apartments and 16,000 square feet of retail space. Construction is set to wrap up this summer.
Bulldozers have cleared lots directly across the street as well, with the similar 401 Oberlin development bringing another 250 apartments plus street-level retail.
Developers have more plans for the area that features easy access to shopping, restaurants and offices. Last week, the Raleigh City Council’s comprehensive planning committee heard an updated proposal from real-estate broker Jim Anthony. He wants to tear down a one-story office building at 616 Oberlin and replace it with more than 200 apartments wrapped around a parking deck.
The property backs up to Daniels Street, a two-lane residential street that already doubles as a shortcut from Wade Avenue to Cameron Village. Neighbors have safety concerns about hundreds of new residents using their street.
Linda Minetree is upset about the plan to include access from both Oberlin and Daniels to the parking deck, an effort to help apartment residents avoid heavy traffic on Oberlin.
“It’s a quality of life issue, it’s a safety issue and it’s a property value issue,” she said. “My neighbors and I ask you to deny this request or at least stall it until it can be studied further.”
Bill Padgett agreed. “We don’t need to put that traffic on Daniels,” Padgett said. “Let’s keep it on Oberlin.”
To address the traffic concerns – and in hope of building a walkable community – the developer wants to build a sidewalk on Daniels Street as well as a pedestrian island at the intersection with Graham Street. Also, Anthony’s company wants to reduce the speed limit on Daniels from 35 to 25 mph.
Banks Talley, president of the Cameron Village Neighborhood Association, said residents are also worried about the building’s height and the population increase. “This case seeks to multiply the density three and a half times,” he said. “Some of the neighbors would rather take their chances with an office on this lot rather than a residential building.”
Talley asked the council committee to postpone action on the project, giving residents more time to review the developer’s latest offer of conditions for the rezoning. The committee will consider the proposal again at 5 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall.
Some council members wondered whether the public transportation service in Cameron Village is adequate for so many apartments within a few blocks. But Councilman Bonner Gaylord said that’s no reason to turn down development.
“If we’re for transit, we can’t be against density,” he said. “Those two are inextricably linked.”