WAKE FOREST N.C. (WNCN) – Dozens of Wake Forest residents lined Capital Boulevard Monday night to oppose large development plans currently under review by the town.
The group, Concerned Citizens for Preservation of Wake Forest Open Space, organized to oppose a planned development on the town’s former golf course that could bring more than 300 homes to the area.
“Wake Forest was named for the forest,” resident Rick Ostergard said. “If we cut down on the trees we’re going to look like any other bedroom community — just nothing but houses and streets.”
But with a 259 percent population increase since 2000, the need for housing in Wake Forest and the county has only grown.
“You can’t say we’re not going to develop. That’s not the message,” Ostergard said. “The message [is], let’s do smart development, let’s not over develop, let’s not cut down all the trees.”
Ostergard said he’s most concerned about impacts on waterways around the former course, as well as the current wildlife.
Resident Angela DiPaolo showed up at the rally to fight for a 68-acre plot of woods on Harris Road that could turn into more than 200 townhomes. A similar development is already being built next door.
“We’d like to keep it that way because it’s natural habitat and it adds to the character and natural setting of the park and the neighborhoods that are surrounding it,” DiPaolo said.
DiPaolo’s online petition has gained nearly 3,000 signatures so far.
While the town currently has more than 50 miles of greenway and more than 1,000 acres of parks and open space, those rallying hope town leaders put even more natural protections in place when a developer starts the permitting process.
“There’s other ways to develop land where you can incorporate it into the landscape,” DiPaolo said.
Wake Forest has an interactive development map online that has outlines for every planned and proposed development in the town and where it’s at in the process.
Wake Forest’s Aug. Development report shows nearly two-dozen development plans currently under review that could bring more than 2,500 single-family homes, townhomes or multi-family units to the town.