New location for Apex’s electric operations center has residents upset

Wake County News

APEX, N.C. (WNCN) — A wooded area adjacent to an Apex neighborhood is about to become the home of the town’s electric operations center and residents are upset.

A little park and pool for the Bella Casa neighborhood used to be part of the neighborhood but it is now separated by an access road which leads to what will be Apex’s new electric operation center.

Site work is currently underway as tres are being cleared.

The facility is located in what residents thought would remain an undeveloped piece of woodlands near a power substation and high voltage transmission lines.

Apex’s new electric operations center is moving there because it’s outgrowing its current space on Upchurch Street in downtown Apex.

“It’s 3-to-4 times the size of my cul-de-sac,” said resident Shawn Trawinsk. “It’s a monstrosity, it’s huge, it’s an industrial operation.”

Trawinski’s home sits on Lea Island Cove, right next to the property line for the facility.

“Even though we are supposed to have a 30-foot barrier before the road begins, they still are going to clear cut it all,” he said pointing to the downed trees adjacent to his yard.

Because Apex provides electric service to the town, the facility will include a warehouse for wires and poles and other power-related equipment as well as provide other services for the town like a car wash and vehicle maintenance operation.

Trawinski says it will affect his property values.

“I’m told by a couple of realtors it could be anywhere from $10-$50,000 loss depending on how much is seen and how much noise,” he said.

Residents are also concerned about big utility trucks rolling up and down the access road cutting through the neighborhood.

“There are children up and down these roads constantly we’re going to have power trucks and workers in and out go into their office daily,” said Trawinski.

Residents also say they never knew this facility was going to be constructed but, the town of Apex says it did its due diligence in planning to put the facility at this site— starting back in 2009.

In 2015, the town posted about the project online. The town council approved a contract to move forward in 2018 and signs notifying the public were put up shortly thereafter.

Final constriction plans were approved back in August.

The town of Apex provided a timeline for construction:

  • In April 2009: Site rezoned for this use
  • June 2015: Project posted on the town’s website
  • December 2016: Added to online Interactive Development Map as “Planned”
  • August 2018: Town Council agenda approved architect contract
  • December 3, 2018: 1st Submittal of site plan
  • December 10, 2018: Two Development Signs posted at the site
  • January 3, 2019: Design firm does a presentation to Town Council
  • August 30, 2019: Construction Plans approved

With construction on the project underway, residents say the best they can hope for right now is to have some of the impact of the project mitigated.

They’ll be discussing that with the town Council in a meeting on November 6th.

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