Google Images photo
Residents say traffic is a problem where Ponderosa Circle meets Williamson Road.
Controversial 90-home development tabled by commissioners
BY KARISSA MILLER
Opposition was expected Tuesday when the Iredell County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing on a request to release zoning and jurisdiction for 36.4 acres of land to the Town of Mooresville.
The request is not a new one. A request with slightly different technicalities was denied by the board of commissioners after concerns were raised about traffic congestion two years ago.
Mallie Colavita, with NVR Southeast Region, shared a presentation and detailed plans for developing the land, owned by John Clontz Family LLC property, into a 90-home neighborhood on Ponderosa Circle near Williamson Road.
Colavita said plans call for an age-targeted, 55-and-older community of 90 brick or stone homes with garages that could be customized for one or two vehicles. Homes would range in size from 1,700 to 2,100 square feet each and cost around $300,000. There would also be a governing home owners’ association, a retention pond and design choices to avoid a clone copied production community.
They’re also planning to be annexed into Mooresville. This would extend larger water and sewer lines to the development, which could benefit existing property owners.
He also mentioned the company’s long history building homes and they are ranked as the fourth largest builder in the U.S. Additionally, the planning staff gave its seal of approval for the request.
Property values, water runoff and pollution were among topics of concern discussed. The main issue was the impact the additional traffic on the busy and only roadway out of the subdivision.
Joan Danielson told the board that at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., she has troubling leaving the neighborhood due to traffic congestion. Many of the residents are pushing for improvements, saying the road is already overcrowded. Also, they report difficulties turning onto Williamson Road, which can take up to five minutes.
According to the Planning Department, “the capacity for Ponderosa Circle is 11,000 vehicles per day. The Town of Mooresville will require a TIA for a 90-lot subdivision because it would generate more than 500 daily trips.”
Resident Michelle Cash voiced concerns about the pump stations failing and the safety of the water quality for children swimming in the lake.
During the public hearing, there were so many residents signed up to speak that chairman James Mallory announced who was next as the person who was speaking’s five minutes neared an end. Each person pointed out where they lived on the map.
Additionally, the chairman gave both parties extra time to talk since the topic was controversial.
“When you come into Ponderosa Circle, there’s a stream and creek. It becomes a running stream when it rains and my concern is with that being a single entrance what happens when the road collapses,” asked Bill Dixon, who stated a second road that connects out of the neighborhood is needed.
Resident Harry Reid voiced support for the project as it’s a tremendous tax base for Mooresville. He wants the right type of movement to take place.
“I’d like to see some direction being taken that gives merit to everyone here today,” Reid said, who owned the property for 70 years.
Mallory thanked both sides for upholding their concerns “respectfully and in an informative way.”
Also, he acknowledged the difficulty of resolving a dispute peacefully when “it impacts one of the most important investments that anyone makes: (your home).”
Commissioners Gene Houpe, vice chairman Tommy Bowles, Jeff McNeely and Marvin Norman all made remarks echoing the same sentiment.
After listening to everyone’s opinion on the matter, the board unanimously tabled the decision until the July 18 meeting.
Also, regardless of which way the board rules, the neighboring property owners who are opposed to the development are likely to leave dissatisfied.
“We don’t have a legal right to oppose any changes to (Mooresville’s annexation) plans or enforce plans. However … we are all neighbors. We all try and work together and share mutual respect for one another,” Mallory said.
Planning Manager Matthew Todd said he received word recently that the development project was likely going to be annexed by Mooresville.
However, consideration for annexation of the property would take place in December per their board’s policy of addressing requests twice a year.
Additionally, the Town of Mooresville’s board approved water and sewer utilities for this site in February.
Despite favorable conditions for development, the applicant is presented with somewhat of a conundrum, they are stuck waiting for annexation approval before the development review process can begin.
However, Todd explained that the N.C. State Statutes allow local boards to intervene and help through a process known as Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) release. Upon meeting ETJ release guidelines, an applicant can essentially fast track or accelerate the planning process before being annexed.
Commissioners asked county staff to bring handouts to clear up ETJ confusion and questions regarding Iredell County’s role in Mooresville’s planning process at the first meeting in May.