Troutman Council approves rezoning for Calvin Creek subdivision
BY DEBBIE PAGE
The Troutman Town Council voted 5-0 on Thursday to approve conditional mixed-residential rezoning for two parcels slated to become the Calvin Creek subdivision, despite an impassioned plea from nearby residents who expressed their concerns about increased traffic on Perth Road and Autumn Leaf Road and house density in the development.
Town Planner George Berger, who recommended approval of the rezoning, explained that gross density calculation of the development, the standard method in North Carolina, is at 1.87 homes per acre and well below the standard for mixed-residential zoning. The development would also provide more home options for current and new residents to the area.
Berger also cited NEST Homes’ willingness to install gravity sewer lines, eliminating a need for a subdivision lift station as well as eventually eliminating one currently in use at Quail Hollow, saving the town operation considerable money.
Acknowledging residents’ traffic concerns, Berger reminded council that the developers were required to construct the traffic mitigations that the N.C. Department of Transportation and the Town of Troutman recommended for the development.
During the public hearing, NEST Homes’ David Hughes reminded council members that by right, under current suburban residential zoning, 240 homes -- rather than the planned 225 -- could be constructed on the 120-acre site.
Hughes said that millennials and empty nesters prefer the smaller lot sizes to minimize yard work and maximize sociability. The neighborhood will have 52 acres of open space and feature larger than town-required setbacks on all property sides.
The neighborhood will also have a 25-foot undisturbed green belt perimeter buffer, with 50 percent of homes backing up to this buffer.
Hughes also touted Calvin Creek design standards, including a 1,500 square feet or larger size requirement for all homes, which feature wood, brick, stone, stucco or fiber cement siding. No vinyl siding is allowed.
The first home will not appear for approximately two years, with total buildout not complete for six or seven years.
In response to concerns expressed in community meetings, NEST began a traffic impact study in May, even though this was not required until the the site plan is submitted.
Several close neighbors on Autumn Leaf Road and Perth Road expressed concerns about already heavy traffic volume.
John Chapman disputed a just completed Autumn Leaf NCDOT traffic activity count of 634 vehicles per day. His personal counts on several dates this summer ranged from 120 to 175 cars in one-hour time frames.
Ralph Dagenhart, citing the 750 homes already underway in Falls Cove, explained he was not against growth, but he reminded the council of its responsibility to make sure the town experienced positive growth, along with considering the impacts on law enforcement, fire response, and schools.
Betty Wagner, who lives on Weddington Lane in the “blind curve” of Perth Road near where the subdivision entrance will be located, pointed out the current hazards on the road. “I take my life in my hands when I pull out onto Perth Road now.”
Another resident took the council on a video tour of Perth and Autumn to Highway 21, citing the traffic, sharp curves, and large trucks that run oncoming traffic into the shoulder on the narrow, two-lane road.
Two peope spoke in favor of the development. Real estate agent Ray Welch, representing the property owners, noted the high demand for $300,000 to $500,000 homes in Troutman.
Former Mayor Ron Wyatt also pointed out that the road improvements residents desire, as well as the restaurants, shops, additional grocery options, and businesses they want, come only with the addition of new rooftops and customers.
After no council discussion after close of the public hearing, council member Paul Bryant made the motion to approve the development, with Jan Huffman seconding.
In other action, council members also unanimously approved George Harris and George Freeman for three-year stints on the Planning and Zoning Board and Michelle Peck to the Board of Adjustment.