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Full text of "Land development plan, Apex, North Carolina"

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North Carolina State Library 

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Digitized by the Internet Archive 
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The preparation of this report was financially aided through a 
hederal grant from the Urban Renewal Administration of the 
Mousing and Home Finance Agency under the Urban Planning 
Assistance Program authorized by Section 701 of the Housing 
t ot 1954, as amended. 





Richard K. Helmold, Mayor 
Henry F. DeWitt 
L. Wayne Johnson 

Baswell Markham 
W . C . Rodger s 
E. 0. Seagroves 



Carl P. HolLeman, Chairman 
W. J . Booth , Jr . 
Clarence Edwards 
William S. Goodwin 

Dr. Marvin T. Jones 

Calvin Perry 

Robert L . Savage 

Warren Tuns tall 

Beulah M. Weaver 
Jr . 


State of North Carolina 

Department of Conservation & Development 

Division of Community Planning 

George J. Monaghan, Administrator 

Central Area Office 
Victor H. Denton, Director 

Pro j ec t Staff 

Victor H. Denton, Community Planner 
Gay Brantley, Cover Designer 

Anne Smith, Secretary 
Ray Brown, Draftsman 

June 1965 

Price $1.00 






Population 2 

Economy 2 



Existing Land Use 7 

Suitability of Soils for Septic Tank Systems . 12 

Topography and Slope 13 

Utilities 14 

Housing Conditions 17 

Guidelines for Development 20 






It is necessary for municipalities needing costly im- 
provements, such as a new treatment plant or a new water 
reservior to plan for the facility in detail before construc- 
tion is commenced. In the realm of private enterprise, it is 
equal ly necessary for developers of residential subdivisions, 
shopping centers, and industrial facilities to do considerable 
planning before breaking ground. Ironically, this kind of 
planning has often had to be done almost in a vacume even in 
the large, supposedly sophisticated communities. This is be- 
cause most communities until rather recent times have had fio 
general development plans to which detailed plans could be 
coordinated. As a result many communities can look back into 
the past and spot instances where because of the lack of a 
general development plan water lines may have been extended 
in one direction, sewers in another direction and perhaps a 
school or hospital constructed where neither of the facilities 
were available. Only in relatively recent years have commu- 
nities begun to realize the need for, and the usefulness of, 
a long range community development plan. 

In the spring of 1962 the town of Apex, seeking technical 
assistance in developing a planning program and in formulating 
a development plan, contracted with the Division of Community 
Planning for planning assistance. In the intervening months 
the planning board has become actively involved in planning 
and has assumed its designated roll of advising the Town Board 
on planning related matters. During this period the board 
has devoted much of its time to studying the community and 
developing a generalized land development plan for the commu- 
nity. In this report the proposed land development plan is 
presented. In a previous report the population and economy of 
the area was analyzed. In the future two additional reports 
will be prepared, one, a plan for the central business area 
and the other, a plan for community facilities. 



The Town of Apex is located in the southwestern portion of 
Wake County approximately seven miles from the corporate limits 
of Raleigh and eighteen miles from the corporate limits of 
Durham. Situated in an area that historically is "tobacco 
land", the town has functioned as the major retail trade center 
for a sizable rural area spotted with numerous farms. 

Several transportation routes lead into the Apex area as 
indicated on the regional map on the preceding page. N.C. 55, 
however, is the only major highway within the corporate limits. 
U.S. 1, for years routed through the central portion of the com- 
munity, has within the last few months been rerouted approxi- 
mately one mile to the east on the southern extension of the 
Raleigh beltline. U.S. 64, the only other major highway in the 
area, transverses the northern portion of the area intersecting 
with U.S. 1 approximately two miles northeast of Apex. 

Rail service is provided by the Seaboard Air Line Railroad 
and the Durham and Southern Railroad. The main line of the 
Seaboard between Richmond, Virginia, and Miami, Florida, extends 
through the community in a northeast and southwest direction. 
A branch line of the Durham and Southern between Durham and 
Dunn, N.C., extends through the community in a northwest, south- 
east direction. 

The Raleigh-Durham Airport, which serves as the major com- 
mercial air facility for eastern North Carolina, is located ap- 
proximately eleven miles north of Apex. 


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The population of Apex has been increasing at a slow rate 
for the past several years as indicated in the table on the 
preceeding page. If the future population estimates are based 
upon the trends that have been established over the last 40 to 
50 years, by 1980 Apex will have approximately 1,900 inhabit- 

Dr. Lawrence Mann, in a recently completed study of Apex's 
population and economy indicates, with considerable support 
material that Apex probably will begin to absorb an increasingly 
larger amount of the growth generated by Raleigh during this 
decade. He indicates that the neighboring community of Gary 
for decades had a rather slow growth rate until this past dec- 
ade when it came under the influence of the population increase 
that is taking place in the Raleigh area. (See table on pre- 
ceding page). Dr. Mann states that it is likely, especially 
with the construction of the beltline extension, that Apex will 
be the next community to experience a portion of the population 
increase generated by the Raleigh urban area. If his supposi- 
tion is correct the population of Apex will move upward at a 
rate greater than at any time in the past with a possibility 
that Apex could have a 1980 population of over 12,000. Dr. 
Mann quickly points out, however, that although there is this 
possibility, a much more conservative estimate would be around 
5,000, or an increase of approximately 3,500 within the next 
fifteen years. 

For a detailed analysis of the population and economy of Apex 
reference is made to August 1963 report compiled by Dr. 
Lawrence Mann and published by the Division of Community Plan- 
ning. Copies of the report are available at the Apex Town 


Apex is going through a critical period in its history in 
that the economic base of the community is changing from agri- 
culture to industry. Until the 1940's the local merchants had 
been vitally dependent upon the business of the rural populace 
living in the area. As the merchants generally had little com- 
petition from surrounding communities because of the poor roads 
and the slow and often uncomfortable means of travel, often 
little attention was given to the exterior and interior ap- 
pearance of the stores. The nona gr i cu 1 1 ur e populace living in 
the area normally were employed locally or by one of the two 
railroads extending through the community. In summary, Apex 
was a rather independent community serving the inhabitants 
living in the southwestern portion of Wake County. 

During the last two decades the long established rural 
"way of life" in the area has diminished primarily as a result 
of the decline in the number of people engaged in agricultural 
activities in the area and by the vast improvements in trans- 
portation. Today with a population which is predominately 
mobile and urban rather than immobile and rural, the needs and 
desires of the people are different. Consequently, the local 
merchants no longer have a captive trade area. Instead they 
are discovering that they must compete with the merchants of 
Gary, Fuquay- Var i na , Raleigh, and Durham for trade of even the 
local residents. Merchants are finding that unlike in the 
past they now must not only stock desired items, but they must 
make their establishments inviting, inside and out, and offer 
other inducements to attract customers. 

In regards to employment, Apex has been fortunate to have 
two sizable industries locate in the area recently, first being 
Apex Manufacturing Company and more recently Schieffelin and 
Company. These two major industries have aided in bolstering 
the local economy. It is very probable, however, that a sizable 
portion of the payrolls are being spent not in Apex but in the 
larger surrounding communities, especially Raleigh, because of 
the ease of access by improved highways and because of the un- 
inviting appearance of downtown Apex. 

Municipal officials as never before, have the opportunity to 
guide development in an orderly manner and take steps to correct 
past mistakes so that in time Apex can develop into an orderly 
community. However, if development continues as it has in the 
past, the future promises to be dark for Apex. 

A community seeking additional urban development normally 
must choose between two alternatives; either to 1) close its 
eyes to undesirable development practices and permit new 
businesses, industries, and residential development to be lo- 
cated wherever the developer desires, out of fear that the 
developer will become irritated and locate in another commu- 
nity, or 2) elevate the goal of orderly community development 
to top priority, welcoming only the developers of proposed 
new uses that are willing to locate where they will be com- 
patible with existing and proposed uses in the community. The 
first approach has generally been followed in Apex and many 
other communities -- the results are apparent. 

It is rather ironic that the communities that are most 
noticeably deteriorating physically and economically are often 
the very communities that are increasingly becoming more lax 
in seeking a goal of orderly development. On the other hand, 
some of the communities that have realized the importance of 
orderly development and have adopted strong measures to achieve 
orderly development are the communities that are experiencing 
substantial growth. Certainly there are other development 
factors involved, however, one cannot overlook the fact that 
an increasing number of people are becoming disgusted with the 
congestion, appearance, etc. brought about by the lack of 
planning and are seeking to escape by moving into new subdivi- 
sions and communities that are being successful in achieving 
some degree of orderly development. 

Apex is fast approaching the crossroads of decision -- 
whether to continue to conform to the wishes and demands of 
business, industry, and residential developers or to give 
first priority to orderly development. The picture of Apex 

twenty years hence will be shaped by the choice the municipal 
officials must make between these two alternatives. 

On the map on the preceding page several examples of poor 
development are indicated. As several of the features are in 
the newer developments, it is an indication that more consid- 
eration needs to be given to development proposals. 

1) poor lot layout 

2) poor street design 

3) poorly designed and dangerous intersection 

4) off-set in street alignment 

5) interior lot -- no public access 

6) block unnecessarily small 

7) incompatible land uses 

8) poor access 

9) right-of-way for street extension needed but 
not provided 

10) street right-of-way too narrow 

11) example of unsightly development on a major 
entrance to Apex 

12) example of a community facility (school) in an 
undeveloped area, not easily accessible by the 


Within the past decade, even though the population of Apex 
has not increased significantly, new development has been and 
is taking place. Fortunately to date this new development has 
not greatly fostered undesirable development. It is very 
probable, however, that if there is an increase in the inten- 
sity of new development in the area, the continuation of de- 
velopment without reference to a development plan will even- 
tually lead to many undesirable and costly development problems 
In this section the major factors considered in formulating the 
Apex Land Development Plan are discussed. 


The future development of Apex whether in terms of hundreds 
or thousands of people or hundreds or thousands of acres will 
in all probability be built around and influenced by existing 
development. Because of this fact it is desirable to inventory 
and analyze the existing use of the land in Apex. In the sprinj 
of 1963 the Division of Community Planning conducted a detailed 
land use survey of the Apex planning area, which includes the 
Town of Apex and the fringe area within one mile of the corpo- 
rate limits. All of the land uses in this area were surveyed 
and plotted on a map. To aid in the identification of the 
numerous uses found in the area, the uses were grouped into 
categories according to their major function. For example 
banks, hardware stores, and clothing stores were classified 
as retail, business, etc. On the preceding page is a gener- 
alized land use map showing the uses of the land in Apex. A 
graphically and statistical summary of the uses is given on 
the following page. 

A brief discussion of each of the major land use groupings 
in Apex f o 1 lows . 









Inside Cori 

:al Planni 

Land Use 
ssif icatic 

; iness 


Proposed Si 


Residences , 
and Undevel 


7.58 2.15 
(5.50) (1.56) 
(2.08) (.58) 

7.59 2 .16 
(4.55) (1.29) 
(3.04) (.87) 







( 141 


(40. 11) 



( 1 .98) 



( .21) 










( 1 .50) 

( .06) 
( .03) 

(2.31 ) 

( .27) 
( .05) 













( 153 












( .18) 









1 2 






. 15) 








( 16 







. 10) 











( 106 










( 1 






Residential Development ; Prior to the 1950's most of the resi- 
dential development in Apex was located east of the Seaboard 
Railroad with only a small concentration of development west of 
the railroad. Since 1950 the new development that has taken 
place east of the railroad has generally been contiguous to 
existing development and on existing streets or extensions of 
existing streets. West of the railroad there has not been 
significantly more new development than east of the railroad, 
however, the new development is removed from existing develop- 
ment sufficiently that new streets have had to be laid out and 
opened. Also, being virgin area to urban development consid- 
eration has had to be given to how the area could be serviced 
by utilities, mainly by sewerage system, as the area was and 
still is not in the drainage basin of the treatment facility. 
Most of the urban development in Apex has taken place in an 
east-west direction with little new development to the north 
and south. In searching for an explanation for this pattern 
of development, a possible answer is that with the abundance 
of vacant land in the area, the area to the south has not 
developed primarily because it is on the side of Apex away 
from the growing Raleigh-Durham urban area, plus the fact that 
the land is farmed rather extensively. As for the area north 
of Apex, the most apparent answer as to why development has 
not taken place centers around the availability of land. This 
particular area will be discussed in more detail later. 

Very little urban residential development has taken place 
beyond the corporate limits within the planning area. Most 
noticeable is the concentration of development east of the 
plywood plant on McCullers Road. 

Business Development : Unlike many communities Apex has only 
one business center with no significant sub-centers siphoning 
business out of the downtown area. Most of the business devel- 
opment is concentrated on Salem Street between Chatham and 

Central Streets. Parking, to be sure, is a problem but once a 
potential customer gets parked he can conveniently walk to all 
of the major stores in Apex. This cannot be done in many com- 
munities and this is one of the factors that makes shopping 
centers appealing. Realizing this it is easy to see why the 
planning board favors intensive development of the downtown 
area rather than to permit commercial uses to scatter to a point 
where the distance between stores located at opposite ends of 
the shopping area exceeds an acceptable walking distance 
(normally considered to be approximately 600 feet). 

The scattered business development in Apex currently takes 
the form of small isolated convenience grocery stores and serv- 
ice stations except for the new pharmacy on South Salem. This 
particular use, without judicious enforcement of the zoning 
ordinance, could set the presidence for permitting other 
business uses to locate along what is now the most attractive 
entrance to downtown Apex and thus quicken the deterioration 
of this area. 

In the one mile fringe area there are a few small neighbor- 
hood type grocery stores and service stations. The only major 
noticeable exception to this is the r e s t aur an t- s er vie e station 
east on N.C. 55. Currently this particular type of business is 
not objectionable but again without judicious enforcement of 
the zoning ordinance this use could easily set the presidence 
for "strip" business development along N.C. 55 from the rail- 
road underpass to the U.S. 1. 

Industrial Development : There has been little industrial de- 
velopment within the corporate limits of Apex and the develop- 
ment that has taken place is scattered with no two major in- 
dustries in any given area. 

From a planning standpoint most of the present industries 
are located in areas suited for the particular industries. As 
two examples, the Apex Manufacturing Company is easily acces- 
sible, located where the plant stands as an advertisement to the 

public and where it does not create any significant undesirable 
effects on the surrounding area. The Carolina Plywood, a heavy 
type of industry, is located adjacent to a railroad siding and 
in an area where any offensive liquid waste can be discharged 
into the sewerage treatment plant. Also of importance to the 
town, this industry, which occasionally creates odors, is lo- 
cated on the eastern side of the community where the predomi- 
nantly southwest winds blow any undesirable odors away from the 
urban area . 

In the one mile fringe area, the major industrial plant 
is Schieffelin and Company, located adjacent to U.S. 1. The 
most noticeable objectionable factor at this time is its acces- 
sibility from Apex. Hopefully the circulation problem can be 
corrected in the near future. 

Social, Cultural and Recreational Development : The major uses 
in this category are the hospital, the adjoining medical center, 
and the memorial park. These uses are vital to a community, 
however, few communities the size of Apex have such elaborate 
facilities. The most noticeable facility in this category that 
is missing is a public library. 

Transportation Uses ; Although Apex is essentially a residential 
community, approximately 54 percent of the developed land is 
being used for transportation purposes. Over fifty percent of 
this land is used for streets and railroads; the remaining per- 
centage represents the land used for related transportation 
uses such as the truck terminal at the intersection of James 
Street and N.C . 55 . 

The street system alone consumes over forty percent of 
the developed land. This percentage is unusually high compared 
to twenty-five to thirty-five percent in many North Carolina 
communities. The large amount of land in streets is mainly the 
result of the numerous small residential blocks surrounded by 

streets that are scattered throughout the older sections of 
the community. Whereas blocks should normally be over six 
hundred feet in length, many of the blocks in Apex are nearly 
square with the longest dimension less than five hundred feet. 
As a result of this pattern of development, the municipality 
is in a position where it must maintain streets that originally 
were not needed and should never have been dedicated. 

In the newer developments in Apex most of the blocks have 
been laid out in a rectangular pattern with a lineal dimension 
of over six hundred feet. Generally this type of development 
should be encouraged while the creation of small residential 
blocks should be discouraged. 

In addition to the large percentage of land used for 
streets and the rather small percentage of land used for trans- 
portation related uses, over ten percent of the developed land 
is used by the two railroads in the community. 

Undeveloped Land : As indicated in the land use statistical 
table only about 35 percent of the incorporated area is devel- 
oped. This leaves 65 percent in the vacant, undeveloped 
category. The land in this classification ranges from parcels 
that are undeveloped for physical reasons such as rugged topog- 
raphy to parcels that are unde\' eloped either because of a lack 
of demand or because the owners do not desire to develop their 
land at this time. 

Apex is fortunate in many respects to have such a large 
acreage of undeveloped land as this makes it possible for the 
municipality to absorb a considerable amount of growth within 
the present incorporated area where municipal facilities and 
services can be easily provided This is of course assuming 
that the land will be made available for urban purposes as the 
need arises If the land is not available, development will 
be forced out of the community to take place in the unincorpo- 
rated area or in the neighboring communities. 

1 1 





The suitability of soil? for septic tank systems is an 
important factor that needs to be considered in formulating a 
land development plan. If a particular area because of soils 
is found to be unsuitable for septic tank systems, a town has 
the right and responsibility to require large lot sizes to 
lessen contamination of the area as well as the right and re- 
sponsibility to inform the general public and hopefully the 
possible buyers of the health hazards of living in such areas. 

As indicated on the map on the preceding Page the only 
large area that has soils generally unsuitable for septic tank 
systems is found in the northeast portion of the Apex planning 
area. The other smaller areas delineated on the map are for 
the most part low areas adjacent to streams that have a high 
moisture content and are subject to flooding. 

In the areas that are indicated on the map as generally 
suitable for septic tank systems the county sanitarian or the 
local building inspector should conduct tests to determine if 
the soils are adequate for the anticioated sewage discharge. 
If the soils are found to be suitable for septic tank systems, 
residential lots should not be less than 20,000 the minimum size 
recommended by the North Carolina Board of Health for the con- 
struction of septic tank systems If the soils are not suitable 
for septic tank systems development should be prohibited until 
the area can be serviced by the municipal sewerage system. 


Topography and slope are two important factors that need 
to be considered in selecting areas suitable for future urban 
development. Unfortunately the only topographic mapping of 
the Apex area is at one inch equals four miles with a contour 
interval of fifty feet. Needless to say, such a map reveals 
little about the topography and slope of the area. By using 
soil related information compiled by the U. S. Soil Conser- 
vation Service it was possible to locate the areas with slopes 
greater than ten percent. As indicated on the map on the 
preceding page, and as might be expected, these areas con- 
stitute on a small portion of the Apex area and in most cases 
they are narrow strips, paralleling the flood plains. 


The availability of utilities is another factor that must 
be considered in formulating a land development plan. As was 
previously mentioned the price tag on new development is gen- 
erally closely related to the availability of utilities, namely 
water and sewer. A not uncommon misconception on the part of 
many developers is that if they pay the town for the instal- 
lation of utilities they should be given permission to put the 
utility lines where they please. If municipal policies are 
based on this presumption the community is literally at the 
mercy of the developers- In reality, often the installation 
costs of utilities are only a small portion of the total cost 
to the community. To illustrate, a developer may pay the total 
installation cost for municipal water and sewer service. Super- 
ficially this would appear to be the total cost to the community 
This, however, is not the case as each new development large 
or small reduces the surplus capacity of the water reservoirs, 
water pumps and water treatment facilities, as well as the 
sewerage facilities, both constructed and maintained by munic- 
ipal tax dollars from all the local residents. A srailiar 
situation is true with streets; over a ten or twenty year period 
the maintenance of any given street will probably exceed the 
initial construction cost. The cost of street maintenance is 
the financial burden of all the local residents. 

If, therefore, over the long run the cost of new develop- 
ment rest on the shoulders of the local citizenry, they or the 
municipality should have the right to only accept development 
proposals that are in the best interest of the community. 

* Utilities will be discussed in more detail in P j- an for Com- 
muni ty F a c i 1 i t i^s . a report to be published within the next 
eighteen months. 


\ / 





p.;^ S^ 

/ , I 



/ / 



Relating these comments to Apex, tha municipality's major 
utilities are electricity, water and sewer. Because of the 
existing elaborate network of electrical lines there generally 
are no major problems involved in extending electrical facil- 
ities into new areas. Normally water lines can also be ex- 
tended into new areas with relatively ease merely by the exten- 
sion of existing lines; however, in connecting new areas to 
the municipal water system the major factors to be considered 
should be the adequacy of existing wells, pumping stations, 
and lines to supply the additional demand. 

The major problem in regards to utilities evolves around 
sewage as the sewerage system is a gravity system which necessi- 
tates connections being upstream, and in the same drainage, from 
where the sewage is collected either for treatment or for pump- 
ing into drainage basin of the treatment plant. In Apex, as 
indicated on the map on the preceding page, most of the area 
east of the Seaboard Railroad is sewered or can be sewered by 
gravity lines to the new treatment plant on Middle Creek. As 
the area west of the railroad is not in the drainage basin of 
the treatment plant, pumping stations have had to be installed 
in two of the drainage basins to pump the sewage out of these 
basins into the drainage basin of the Middle Creek. 

Assuming a significant amount of development will take 
place in the Apex area within the next ten to twenty years, 
additional treatment facilities will be needed- Two apparent 
alternatives exist. Development can either be permitted to 
continue to take place in a random manner all around Apex which 
will eventually lead to a very costly sewerage system a? either 
pumping stations or treatment plants will eventually need to 
be provided on all the major drainage ways around the community; 
or intensive urban development ran be channeled into selected 
areas that can be sewered with a minimum cost to the municipal 
residents. The decision between these two alternatives must 
be made at the local le^'el- 

The major drainage areas are indicated on the overlay map 
on the preceding page- The largest area is in the northern 
part of Apex, north of Hunter Street and west of North Salem 
Street extension. This area could be sewered by either a large 
pumping station of small or medium size treatment plant several 
hundred feet southeast of the intersection of N. C. 5 5 and U. 
S. 64 on a branch of Beaver Greek. The other drainage areas 
around Apex, unlike the above are smaller in size, thus prob- 
ably making the cost of a treatment facility per dwelling 
served much greater than in the larger Beaver Creek drainage 
basin . 



There are several attractive residential areas in Apex and 
a drive through the community will reveal se\eral new residen- 
tial dwellings as well as numerous older, but well maintained 
dwellings. Such a drive, however, will also reveal that there 
are some undesirable residential areas in the community. In 
this section of the report the focus will be on the substandard 
dwellings primarily to determine the extend of blight in Apex. 

The information presented on the map on the preceding 
page was compiled by the Division of Community Planning in 1962. 
In this survey each house was externally evaluated and rated as 
to its general appearance. As the information compiled in this 
survey correlated closely with the 1960 U.S. Census of Housing 
figures it was assumed that the 1962 survey generally located 
graphically the blighted structures indicated in the 1960 sur- 
vey , 

It is apparent from viewing the housing appearance map on 
the preceding page that the only large concentration of sub- 
standard housing in Apex is located southwest of the intersec- 
tion of N.C. 55 and Salem Street- However, it is also apparent 
that in many of the residential blocks, the standard dwellings 
are interspersed with an occasional substandard dwelling. In 
many places the major difference between the standard and sub- 
standard dwellings is not the age of the structures but rather 
the degree of maintenance. In fact in some of the blocks some 
of the substandard dwellings appear to be of more recent con- 
struction than some of the standard dwellings that over the 
years have received proper maintenance 

Because of this mixture of good and bad housing and because 
of the large number of relatively old buildings, the community 
will increasingly be plagued with the possibility that the exist- 
ing substandard dwellings will become the nucleus for a malignant 
type blight that will rapidly spread encompassing sizi 
residential areas. 


The red circles used to indicate substandard housing struc- 
tures on the map have intentionally been enlarged to cover an 
area with a diameter of approximately 300 feet. This was done 
to portray the area most noticably affected by each of the sub- 
standard structures. It can generally be considered that in 
those locations where the circles overlap the areas are already 
blighted, and in those locations where the circles are in close 
proximity, the areas are deteriorating and are on the threshold 
of b 1 igh t . 

Numerous explanations can be voiced for the facts revealed 
in the following table but in the end it must be concluded that 
when more than one out of every three houses on the average 
need immediate attention during this time of prosperity, the 
condition of housing in the coming years will very likely be- 
come even worse unless measures are promptly taken to effec- 
tively combat blight. 






Communi ty 

Uni ts 




Di lapidc 




$ 8,500 






12, 100 




Fuquay-Var ina 








13 ,000 





27 ,415 

13 ,500 




Wake Forest 








9 ,000 




Zebu Ion 






SOURCE: 1960 U.S. Bureau of Census of Housing. 

As to what can be done to improve the general condition of 
housing in Apex, perhaps the nearest to a single answer would 
be first community concern about the problem and then cooper- 
atively community action. Zoning, subdivision regulations, 
building codes, health regulations, minimum housing codes, 
public housing and urban renewal can all play a vital role in 
correcting and preventing blighted conditions. However, until 
the businessmen, laborers, industrialists, housewives, and 
everyone living in Apex becomes concerned to a point where they 
will take an active interest not only in eliminating blight 
but in approving the appearance of the community, all other 
measures will fall short. 


What does the future hold for Apex? A lot will depend on 
what measures are taken locally to improve the livability of 
the community as it exists today as well as what measures are 
taken to insure that the community grows in an orderly manner 

In Part One of this report the major factors that need to 
be considered in striving to achieve a more orderly physical 
pattern of development have been discussed. The major con- 
clusions drawn from this material are enumerated below: 

1. Apex during the next two decades will likely ex- 
perience a considerable population increase as it 
increasingly becomes a part of the Raleigh urban 
area . 

2. An increasing amount of vacant land in the Apex 
area will be utilized for urban purposes as the 
population increases. If Apex's anticipated 
development is similar to what Gary is now ex- 
periencing the new residential developments will 
have lower densities than the older developments. 
From a planning standpoint this means that more 
acres of land will be utilized than in the past 
per hundred population. 

The business segment of Apex's economy needs to be 
strengthened. Without substantial improvements in 
the appearance of the downtown area, and with- 
out the local merchants demonstrating more 
aggressiveness in seeking to entice more people 
to shop locally, an increasing number of people 
will bypass Apex to shop elsewhere. 

The industrial base of Apex has been expanded 
with the recent opening of the Apex Manufacturing 
Plant and the Schieffelin and Company Plant. How- 
ever, even with these two sizable industries most 
of the employed individuals living in the Apex 
area work in Raleigh. In the future if additional 
industries are not attracted to the Apex area, the 
community will increasingly become a bedroom commu- 
nity, with the local residents working and shopping 
els ewh ere . 

An analysis of the Existing Land Use Map reveals 
that more consideration needs to be given to 
future development proposals to insure that they 
are in the best interest of the community before 
they are approved. 

Primarily due to the availability of land, most 
of the recent urban development has taken place 
east and west of the downtown area with little 
new development to the north or south. 

The business area of Apex is concentrated in a 
relatively small area with most of the stores 
within easy walking distance of parking areas. 
Recent trends indicate that this desirable 
amenity will be lost if businesses that should 
be located in the downtown area are continued 
to be permitted in other areas. 

Of the social and cultural, 

facilities inventoried, the 

was an attractive and conveniently located 

library . 

nd recreational 
ajor missing use 

9. All of the soils found in the Apex area appear 
to be generally suitable for septic tank systems 
except for the low areas and one sizable area 
northeast of the corporate limits. 

10. Urban development should not be permitted in 
areas with slopes greater than ten percent. 
This is not a major development problem in the 
Apex area as only a few small areas, mainly 
along some of the streams, have slopes greater 
than ten percent. 

11. The area north of Hunter Street and west of 
Salem Street appears to be the only large area 
that in the future could be economically sewered 
by gravity lines. A treatment plant or a large 
pumping station would be necessary. 

12. A substantial amount of urban development can 

take place within the present incorporated area 
as sixty-five percent of the area is vacant. 










Large traffic generating uses such as industries 
should be located adjacent to major thoroughfares. 

Only low density residential development (minimum 
of 20,000 square feet per dwelling) should be 
permitted in those areas that cannot be tied into 
the existing sewerage system. 

Major land uses requiring fire protection should 
be located within the Apex Fire District. 

Unpleasant noise, smoke, and odor producing uses 
should be permitted only on the east and north- 
east side of the community where the prevailing 
winds will carry the noise, smoke, and odors away 
from the urban area. 

Primary retail business uses, such as department 
stores and clothing stores should locate only in 
the central business district. 

Major industrial uses should be located adjacent 
to either one of the railroads or U.S. 1. 

Adjoining land uses should be compatible. Where 
necessary, buffers in the form of tall evergreen 
hedges should be provided to reduce the possi- 
bility of one use having an adverse effect on 
adjoining uses. 

Linear development of business uses along all 
public rights-of-way should be discouraged. 


New land uses should be permitted only where off- 
street parking can be provided. 

12. The existing street system should be improved to 
provide a loop or circumferential street around 
the central business area. 

13. Social and cultural uses, including schools and 
recreational areas should be located near the 
geographical center of areas they serve. 


Urban development should be discouraged in areas 
with slopes greater than ten percent. 

Proposed residential sites should not be subject 
to flooding. 

Residential Development : Residential development in Apex is 
rather compact with most of the development clustered around 
the central business district. There are, however, several 
vacant parcels scattered throughout the developed area. As most 
of these parcels are ideally suited for residential development, 
a concerted effort should be made to encourage the development 
of these lots before, or at least in conjunction with, new 
development in the peripheral areas. How can this be done? One 
of several methods would be to supply the local realtors with a 
listing of these vacant parcels. It is very probable that with- 
in a few years, if this listing were maintained, the lot vacancy 
in the developed area would noticeably be reduced. 

In the fringe area around Apex most of the urban type de- 
velopment will likely take place north of N.C. 55 on the Raleigh 
side of the community. However, unless steps are taken to channel 
development into desired areas, it will take place in a random 
manner . 

This leads to the questions -- Is there a need to encourage 
urban development in some areas while discouraging it in other 
areas? And if there is a need to guide development, how can it 
be done? 

Primarily because of the sewerage problems in the area, 
intensive urban development should be channeled into selected 
areas. If this is not done, sometime, possibly within the next 
twenty to thirty years, the municipality will find that requests, 
if not demands for the town to provide municipal sewerage serv- 
ice in most if not all of the drainage basins around Apex will 
place an almost unbearable tax burden on the local residents. 
The rebuttal often voiced to this is that "we will provide 
septic tank systems for the dwellings in our development." This 
superficially may sound feasible and they may work for a time 
but as an area develops the soils often become contaminated and 
sometimes saturated with sewerage. The end result is that the 
residents in such an area either try to tolerate this situation 
or, as often happens, the residents band together and request the 

town to sewer their area. As Apex is on a ridge with drainage 
basins radiating outward in all directions it is not feasible 
to attempt to sewer each of these basins. As an alternative 
it is proposed that only certain drainage basins be selected 
for later sewering by the municipality. Only in these areas 
should intensive urban development be permitted. In the other 
basins in the area the town should discourage if not prohibit 
intensive urban development. 

What drainage basins should be selected? There is only 
one sizable drainage area in the fringe area. This is located 
north of Hunter and west of Salem Streets. This entire area 
could be sewered as stated in Part I by one treatment plant 
near the intersection of N.C. 55 and U.S. 64. As this area is 
currently coming under the influence of urban development and 
as the area is topographically suited for urban development, 
this should be considered the prime area for urban development. 

In addition to the above drainage area, there are two 
small drainage basins that should be considered primarily be- 
cause they encompass areas that are prime for urban development 
except for municipal sewerage. One area is located between the 
Durham and Southern Railroad and McCullers Road; the other area 
is located north of McCullers Road and southeast of Laura Duncan 
Road. The sewerage from these two areas could be treated by two 
small treatment plants or pumped into the Middle Creek drainage 
basin for treatment at the new treatment plant. In the other 
drainage areas around Apex, lot sizes of 30,000 square feet or 
greater should be required to minimize the health hazards of 
septic tank systems. 

Business Development : "If you don't let us locate our business 
on this particular lot we will locate in one of the surrounding 
communities." This statement echoes in the ears of town board 
and planning board members throughout this country. As often 
is the case, the town needs new business establishments; no 

residents in the area have registered complaints so the area, 
or in some cases, the lot is rezoned -- from residential to 
business. In some instances an attractive new structure emerges 
on the site that compliments the area. In many instances, how- 
ever, the business turns out to be nothing more than another 
service station, curb market, drive-in, or similar use that 
only aides in destroying the residential character of the area. 

Apex, not unlike many other small communities, has for 
years been faced with this dilemma. In seeking to avoid a 
reoccurrence of such a situation, several business areas have 
been indicated on the Land Development Plan. These are areas 
that the planning board, after studying the community in detail, 
found to be most suitable for business development. 

If, in the future, the municipality adheres to a ridged 
policy of permitting businesses only in areas set aside for 
business uses on the Land Development Plan, it is entirely 
possible that these areas will within a few years become 
thriving shopping areas. One important side effect of this 
type of development would be that the residential areas could 
be kept free of business development. 

All that is necessary to work toward this type of develop- 
ment is a modern, up to date zoning ordinance, which the town 
has, and a planning board and town board that is willing to 
vigorously defend such a plan^ but at the same time display a 
willingness to listen monthly to long narrations on why business 
uses should be permitted on every major street in the community. 

It must be expected that some businesses will not locate 
in Apex because they cannot locate where they please. It is 
very probable, however, that businesses that are vitally inter- 
ested in locating in Apex will not object to having to locate 
in one of the areas established for business uses. 

]5usiness Locations Indicated on the Plan 

Central Business District : As indicated on the plan, it is pro- 
posed that further longitudinal expansion of the downtown business 

area be discouraged. Sufficient vacant land and unused struc- 
tures are in the delineated area to accommodate several new 
businesses. Consideration, however, needs to be given to how 
and where the central business district should expand in the 
future. At this point in the planning program, it would appear 
that the most logical direction for expansion would be to the 
west. In the near future a detailed study will be made of the 
central business area. Upon compilation of this study it will 
be possible to ascertain the direction that the central business 
district should expand. 

Highway Business Areas : These areas are established primarily 
for businesses that cater to the motoring public. Uses would 
include motels, restaurants, service stations, and similar 
automobile oriented business uses. In all of the proposed areas, 
right-of-way entrances to the uses should be controlled to 
minimize the congestion on the highways. 

It is suggested that all development proposals in these 
areas be submitted to the Highway Commission for review before 
local action is taken on the proposals. 

Neighborhood Business Areas : These business areas are primarily 
for businesses that cater to the residents in the neighborhood 
where they are located. Uses would include drug stores, grocery 
stores, small variety stores and similar business uses. 

Most of the existing residential areas are in close prox- 
imity to the central business district consequently there is 
not a need to establish neighborhood business locations in most 
of the developed areas. As the community grows in geographical 
size, provisions need to be made to insure that neighborhood 
business areas are reserved in the fringe areas. Suggested 
general locations for such uses are indicated on the plan. 


Industrial Development : Apex has been participating with scores 
of other communities in a highly competitive activity -- that 
of seeking to attract new industries into the area. In most 
instances, the communities that have experienced success in 
this venture have been those that have spent more time and 
money in searching for industry and in implementing measures to 
make their communities more livable. The communities, however, 
that have benefited most from experiencing success in their 
industrial promotional efforts are those that not only have 
attractive industrial sites, but also sites that can easily be 
supplied with municipal facilities and services and sites that 
are compatible with existing and proposed land uses in the area. 
This is not an easy task but if it can be accomplished, the 
returns to a community will normally be greater than the initial 
savings realized by perhaps investing in a parcel of land that 
may be available for a nominal cost, but in a poor location from 
a community standpoint. 

Two large industrial areas have been identified in the Apex 
area. The areas are sufficiently large that it should be pos- 
sible for the community to meet the site demands of any industry. 

The industrial area in the vicinity of the plywood plant 
can be sewered by the existing system. Engineering studies will 
need to be made in the other locations to determine if any 
particular parcel of land of interest to an industry can be 
sewered by the existing sewerage facilities. 

S ocial and Cultural Development : In planning for the future 
growth of Apex, it is as necessary to plan and provide for the 
social and cultural facilities as it is for any of the other 
uses discussed in this report. Unlike the other uses, however, 
the social and cultural uses are normally considered to be com- 
patible with residences and therefore are often located in 
residential areas. On the Land Development Plan only the major 
existing and proposed social and cultural areas have been indi- 
cated as they are normally the large land users which must be 


planned for when an area is initially subdivided. Other social 
and cultural uses including churches, garden club centers and 
social and civic clubs have not been indicated on the plan be- 
cause they are normally small land users and can if necessary 
be located within residential areas in vacant parcels orig- 
inally subdivided for residential use. 

Proposed Recreational Areas 

Apex is fortunate to have a sizable municipal park with 
a community center and swimming pool. As the community grows 
in population and geographical size it will be necessary to 
establish supplementary recreational areas. Where possible 
it would be desirable to utilize at least some of the areas 
with unique geographical features for recreational areas. As 
an example, a portion of the area north of the Apex Hospital 
along the creek has unusally steep slopes. Provisions should 
be made to reserve some of this area for public recreational 
purposes . 

As the fringe area around Apex develops it will also be 
desirable to reserve relatively flat areas in each quadrant of 
the community for small neighborhood parks. On the plan the 
locations of these parks have been indicated in a generalized 
manner as in most cases the choice locations for the facili- 
ties can more adequately be determined after sufficient devel- 
opment has taken place in the areas to determine the probable 
pattern of development. 

M edical Center : The medical and dental professions in Apex 
should be encouraged to develop a larger medical center in the 
vicinity of the hospital. Presently many such offices are 
scattered throughout the business area where parking is often 
a problem. Interest in such a center needs to be quickly kindled 
before at least some of the local practitioners, now experiencing 
a shortage of office and parking space, venture cut independently 
to construct new office facilities. 

29 - 

Other F aci lities 

Pub lie Library : Apex needs a modern, attractive public library 
Although this use is too small to indicate on the plan such a 
facility should preferably be located on the ground floor in 
the central business district. 

It is entirely possible that if Apex's popi 

Pub lie Schools 

lation increases significantly, within ten years a new elemen- 
tary school and possibly a high school will be needed in the 

As there appears at this time to be several possible 
alternatives for providing school facilities for a larger popu- 
lace, no new school facilities have been indicated on the 
Development Plan. 


The Thoroughfare Plan as discussed in this section and as 
graphically illustrated on the preceding page is a proposed 
traffic circulation plan developed by the Planning Board. The 
plan has been reviewed by the Board of Town Commissioners and 
the State Highway Commission; however, adoption of the plan had 
been deferred until the location of a needed collector street 
in the vicinity of the new Junior High School can be ascertained. 

The existing circulation system in Apex is generally ade- 
quate for the present volumes of traffic. The two most notice- 
able circulation problems are 1) the lack of a system of loop 
streets around the central business district and 2) the lack 
of a similar system in the residential areas. 

Currently it is not possible to drive around the business 
area; rather it is necessary to make a "U" turn at the end of 
the business area or take some circuitous route through a 
residential area or across the busy Seaboard Railroad to return 
to the shopping area. 

To aid in alleviating this annoying situation it is sug- 
gested that Hudson Avenue be extended northward behind the 
stores on the west side of Salem Street to tie into Grove Street, 
as indicated on the plan. The extension of this street would 
greatly improve traffic circulation in the central business 
area as well as provide easy access to several vacant areas be- 
hind the stores that could be utilized for off-street parking. 

In the residential areas that encompass the central busi- 
ness district there are several radial streets that provide 
access to the downtown area. Noticeably lacking, however, are 
major streets that connect the radial streets. Most of the 
uses that generate traffic have until recently been concentrated 
in the central part of the community and have therefore been 
easily accessible by the radial streets. With the recent con- 
struction of such traffic generators as the hospital, the new 


school, and Scheiffelin Plant in the fringe area, an increasing 
amount of cross-town traffic movements are developing. This 
traffic is presently filtering through some of the well estab- 
lished residential areas on narrow streets designed primarily 
for residential use. Such "through" traffic needs to be dis- 
couraged from these areas by the use of stop signs and other 
traffic control devices and channeled onto selected streets 
designed for higher volumes of traffic. 

Ideally the connecting streets between the radials should 
tie into one another forming a complete loop around the commu- 
nity. However, because of existing development and the layout 
of the street system it does not appear that the anticipated 
demand for such a loop system would be great enough to justify 
the cost of constructing such a system. As an alternative, 
improvements are indicated on the plan to provide segments of 
a loop system, or cross town streets, between the major radial 
streets . 

In the fringe area around Apex additional thoroughfares 
will be needed as this area comes under the influence of urban- 
ization. Suggested locations for these facilities are also 
indicated on the plan. 

- 32 



There are numerous "tools" available for implementing por- 
tions of this Land Development Plan, but unless the local 
citizens, individually and cooperatively, support this plan or 
a revised edition of this plan for communi t y- wi de improvement, 
the desired results will not be achieved. It is therefore 
suggested as an initial step toward implementation that this 
plan be widely publicized in an effort to inform the local cit- 
izenry of its merits and objectives. If there are elements of 
the plan that are not acceptable, they should be changed to be 
made acceptable provided that the changes will not destroy the 
over-all plan of development. The important thing is to have 
an up to date development plan to guide Apex's growth. 

Once this is accomplished, the community can begin charting 
a course that will lead to the fulfillment of the plan. There 
are certain legal tools such as zoning and subdivision regu- 
lations that are available, but unless the plan is backed by 
public interest and support to the degree that the local social 
and civic organizations, as well as private citizens, will 
attend planning board meetings and town board meetings to defend 
the plan when it is being challenged, the plan will soon either 
be amended until it loses its c ohes i venes s ; or the limited tools 
available for implementing portions of the plan will either not 
be adopted or if adopted, generalized and amended to the point 
that they will become useless. 


(1) The Land Development Plan should be publicized 
so that local residents and developers will be 
familiar with the plan and its objectives. 

(2) Developers should be encouraged to use the Land 
Development Plan as a general guide for deter- 
mining the use of land and the location of pro- 
posed streets in the Apex area. 

(3) The municipal governing body should use the 
Land Development Plan as a general guide for 
making decisions pertaining to the extension 
of water and sewer lines and for making 
street improvements. 

(4) The planning board and council should use the 
Land Development Plan as a general guide for 
evaluating requests for zoning amendments. 

(5) A capital improvements program (a long range 
financial plan) should be adopted, and se- 
lected elements of the Land Development Plan 
should be programmed into future annual 
municipal budgets. 

(6) All codes and ordinances should be rigidly 
enforced . 

(7) The municipality should explore the feasi- 
bility of initiating an urban renewal program 
to "clean-up" the blighted areas in the commu- 
ni ty . 

3 3091 00747 5700 




Aerial Photos 

By Colbert Howell 

Flown by Allen Lonj