— Shannon T. Zarb • January 2017
Rolesville residents don’t need a growth report to confirm what they can see simply by driving around town. The once-small town with the bright future is growing by leaps and bounds.
Rolesville is quickly gaining a reputation as the small town attracting some big attention. In April 2016, Realtor.com published The Boom Town: America’s Fastest-Growing Neighborhoods, listing Rolesville as one of the fastest-growing towns in the nation, on par with big-name cities like Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas and Las Vegas.
And while Rolesville remains one of the smallest Wake County towns in population with just under 6,300 residents, its growth since 2010 has far outpaced the growth of other Wake County towns. Rolesville has grown by 64.8%, followed by Morrisville at 26.7% growth and Wake Forest at 25.9%.
“Looking at statistical data, Rolesville has been one of the top-growing towns by percentage for a number of years,” Rolesville Town Planner Kevin Lewis said. “And while Charlotte and Raleigh are getting more people per day and per year at 63 new residents a day, the percentage that we are growing outpaces them.”
Most of this unprecedented growth can be attributed to Rolesville’s residential housing boom. According to new permits issued for single-family residential homes, Rolesville issued 219 residential permits in 2016, up considerably from 2015 and 2014 when the town issued only 168 permits each year.
It’s a trend that looks to continue, Lewis said.
“Just this November: Rolesville issued 20 permits for new homes, which is [more than] doubled what we issued during the same time in 2014 (seven permits) and 2015 (nine permits),” Lewis said.
Also notable is the size of homes the permits are being issued for. More than 54% of new homes being built are 3,500 square feet or above as opposed to 46% of homes having that square footage in 2015 and 42% of homes in 2014.
Brian Pate of Pate Realty has lived here long enough to see firsthand the extent of Rolesville’s residential growth.
“Rolesville looks a lot like Wake Forest did almost 20 years ago when they only had 8,000 residents,” Pate said. “Today that number is more like 40,000 to 41,000 [Wake Forest] residents. Also, the list prices for Rolesville homes have gone up almost $100,000 since 2012. That’s being driven almost exclusively by new residential construction.”
While Rolesville has seen increases in residential permits, the same cannot be said for commercial permits.
“Most commercial permits are for existing spaces, not new construction. I haven’t issued any permits for new commercial buildings,” Lewis said.
Commercial expansion, or lack thereof, is obviously a pressing concern for Rolesville.
“Right now, 90% of Rolesville is residential as opposed to the ideal ratio of 70% residential and 30% commercial,” Pate said.
Rolesville is taking steps to change that ratio, including the recent contracting with Jenny Mizelle to begin the town’s new economic development efforts until a full-time director is hired in spring 2017. She is leading efforts to attract more commercial interests to Rolesville.
“Residents need more services such as public safety, parks and recreation … so there is definitely a benefit to having a larger percentage of commercial development than Rolesville currently has. [And] while many goods and services are available within a short drive, Rolesville citizens, understandably, want to have those offerings within the town limits,” Mizelle said.
To help entice those interests within town limits, new marketing materials highlighting Rolesville’s strong demographic profile and conveniences are already in the works. Mizelle also encourages residents to help promote our town.
“It sounds cliché, but economic development really is a team sport that includes the citizens,” she said. “I tell folks that if they frequent a store or restaurant or professional office in another town, I’d love for them to mention an expansion into Rolesville and send them my way so I can provide them with updated demographics and information on land and space available.”
And commercial expansion isn’t the only growth that’s being anticipated. The Board of Commissioners has already discussed the need for more park facilities, a new police station and a new town hall.
With so many new projects and discussions in the works, one thing is for certain: Rolesville is embracing a future that should see continued growth for years to come.