Troutman Planning board recommends denial of Calvin Creek subdivision rezoning request
BY DEBBIE PAGE
Before a packed house on Monday night, the Troutman Planning and Zoning Board declined to recommend a rezoning change from suburban residential to conditional-use mixed residential for a 120-acre parcel at Autumn Leaf and Perth Roads. The proposed subdivision plan features 225 single-family home lots for the heavily traveled area.
Town Planner George Berger recommended the rezoning request, which had a proposed density of 1.87 lots per acre, with 52 acres dedicated to passive open space (including natural walking trails) and 1.7 acres of active open space. The parcel is located in the medium- and low-density areas of the Future land Use Plan.
Twenty-three residents attended a community meeting on the project on June 11, expressing concerns about traffic, housing density, buffers round the development, setback requirements, the danger of proposed development connections to Perth and Autumn Leaf Roads, and the potential overburdening of local schools by this influx of new families.
Berger noted that a traffic-impact analysis is already in preliminary stages but cannot begin until schools resume operation. The development would also hook up to the town’s water and sewer system, which drew some concern from speakers in the public hearing about overtaxing the system.
Berger said Nest Homes, which is also building the already approved Sanders Ridge community, had agreed to a number of conditions in response to town staff and resident concerns.
The western section of the development (about one quarter of the property) would have 30 larger lots and homes, with the eastern side across Cavin Creek (about two-thirds of the parcel) slated for 195 lots.
Though the RM zoning request would allow 12 units per acre, Nest agreed to conditional MR zoning at 1.87 units per acre. The entire development would have a 25-foot green belt to provide privacy to surrounding property owners.
Planned amenities include a 10-foot-wide walking trail to connect northeastern cul-de-sacs and to connect the two residential clusters. The developer also agreed to sidewalks on both sides of residential streets to increase pedestrian safety as well as on development road frontage on Autumn Leaf and Perth roads.
The minimum design requirements include a 1,500-square-feet or more size requirement for all homes, which would feature wood brick, stone, stucco or fiber cement siding. No vinyl siding is allowed.
Berger noted that the eastern part of the property is already within town limits, with the western part set for annexation consideration if rezoning goes forward.
Developer David Hughes said his company had worked many hours with nearby landowners, consultants and town staff to modify the neighborhood plan to allay concerns. Nest agreed to conditional zoning to “guarantee that the proposed design elements will be implemented.”
Hughes added that pocket parks and a cabana and pool area are other amenities the development will offer its residents. He also assured neighbors that Nest will follow all federal, state, and local regulations to protect the environment and that trees will be preserved as much as possible.
The buildout of the $350,000 and up homes would be over eight to 10 years, with both ranch and two-story options offered.
During the public hearing, neighboring property owners expressed concerns about additional traffic on roads that already have frequent accidents. The curves at both roads’ proposed development entrances and at school bus stops in the area were also an area of worry for residents.
Others disliked the density of the homes, with four homes per acre as plotted in some parts of the development because of the large amount of open space. Residents also feared the impact on schools and fire, police and emergency services.
Others noted the additional homes, in conjunction with the already approved 700 homes in the nearby Falls Cove neighborhood, would overwhelm the area’s infrastructure.
In board discussions of the project after the public hearing, Karen Van Vliet, George Harris and Barry General noted the traffic impacts on the area and wanted a traffic impact study completed before a decision.
Chairman Randy Farmer was concerned about the house density necessitated by the open spaces required by Cavin Creek and its tributaries running through the proposed neighborhood.
Though Mark Taylor was concerned about a few minor details of the plan, he pointed out that a 35-mile speed limit, once the area comes in town limits, and calming methods suggested through the traffic study would address traffic concerns.
Taylor also noted traffic impact studies are completed after rezoning requests are approved because of the extensive investment required by the developer, the town, and the N.C. Department of Transportation to conduct them.
General made the motion to reject recommendation of the rezoning request, which was seconded by Van Vliet. Taylor was the lone dissenter to the board’s vote to rebuff the development.
The Cavin Creek subdivision project, without Planning and Zoning Board recommendation, will now proceed to the Town Council for further consideration on Thursday, July 11.
Property owner Lee Geiger sought a recommendation to rezone his 2.49-acre property at 533 Autumn Leaf Road from suburban residential to conditional highway business to bring his residence and adjoining automotive fabrication business into compliance with the town’s current zoning regulations and future land use map.
The property, which is in the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, is currently grandfathered under prior zoning rules. Geiger has resided in the property’s home since 2004, at which time he also opened his small auto repair and fabrication business.
Geiger’s request was tabled at the board’s April meeting to staff allow time to determine if straight HB zoning would allow him to continue to reside in his home on the property.
In this revised rezoning request, Geiger agreed to conditions to restrict visibility of any vehicles or business materials to Autumn Leaf Road and offered a right-of-way for a 5-foot public sidewalk long the road for any future sidewalk construction.
Though he could stay grandfathered under old zoning rules, Geiger wants to make his property conform to nearby HB properties on Perth and Autumn Leaf.
Though neighbor Keri Bates had no issue with Geiger or his business, she was concerned that Geiger could decide to flip the property after rezoning as another nearby property owner had done and risk a more offensive business being established there.
Geiger assured Bates and the board that he had been living and working there for 15 years. “I’m not going anywhere.”
The board voted to recommend the rezoning to the Town Council, with board member Karen Van Vliet casting the lone “no” vote because of Bates’ concerns.