BY DEBBIE PAGE
The Troutman Planning and Zoning Board voted unanimously to recommend rezoning of two parcels near the Oswalt Amity Road and Highway 21 intersection to Highway Business in the first step of a process to bring 95 luxury apartments to the town. The Troutman Town Council will vote on the parcels’ annexation and rezoning at its March 12 meeting.
According to company representative Bob Dyer, the Redwood Living project, which is proposed for 21 acres, features an open plan, two-bedroom, two-bath apartments with an attached two car garage and a patio.
The community of one-story apartments with vaulted ceilings mimics single-family home living and appeals to empty nesters who no longer want the burden of maintenance and yard work or to young professionals without children, according to Dyer.
The apartment are joined together in groups of four to eight, with five to six being average. The units rent for $1,500 to $2,000 per month and range from about 1,300 to 1,600 square feet.
The proposed project will feature 7.5 acres of open space and a greenway and will preserve natural property features and trees.
The Ohio-based Redwood company (https://www.byredwood.com), which has operated since 1991, is operating projects in eight states and is already building communities in Concord and Lake Wylie. The company has also acquired property for others in the Charlotte, Monroe, Kannapolis, and Greenville-Spartanburg areas.
After noting that HB zoning already exists at adjoining and nearby properties at the intersection and looking at other possible uses of the zoning designation should the Redwood project not come to fruition, the board voted 6-0 to support the Highway Business designation for the area and determined that it was compatible with the Future Land Use Plan.
TRUCK MAINTENANCE ORDINANCE REPEAL PASSES
After an extended discussion of a Town Council requested repeal of a text amendment allowing truck maintenance and parking facilities in heavy industrial zoning areas in the town limits, the Planning and Zoning Board voted 5 to 1 to recommend the removal of the amendment from the town’s Unified Development Ordinance.
Prior to the vote, board members held a lengthy discussion about the necessity of the repeal, which Town Planner George Berger said Town Council requested of staff. The council passed the text amendment allowing this use in November.
Berger made no staff recommendation on the matter, and no one spoke during the public comment.
The November zoning change was initiated at the request of a business, Gaines Express, which is looking to set up a truck parking and maintenance operation on a piece of property near the fairgrounds.
Karen Van Vliet questioned Berger about the Gaines project, which spurred the text amendment change that affected not only that property but any property in town zoned Heavy Industrial.
Berger said he had little information about the project, saying that he had seen no site plan and had no knowledge about the company’s negotiations with the property owner.
Randy Farmer said the board had looked at this issue closely before recommending the text amendment to council and had the safeguard of a special use permit to control what would happen. “I don’t see a need to change it back personally,” he said.
Mark Taylor wanted to see environmental safeguards to protect the public as well as a traffic impact analysis to examine the number and effect of truck traffic in any area such a facility was added.
Farmer suggested tabling the request for 30 days to get more information, but Berger said council could take action with or without a recommendation after 30 days.
Van Vliet did not favor tabling the matter, saying that in retrospect she did not want to open all HI areas of town to this type of facility. Farmer felt the text amendment, originally requested by Gaines Express, should not be removed since the company was not asking for it.
Van Vliet made a motion to repeal the truck parking and maintenance text amendment, which passed with only Farmer dissenting.
Council members began having reservations about their vote to approve the truck parking and maintenance text amendment after learning the property Gaines Express was interested in was much closer to the fairgrounds than they had been led to believe. The property is adjacent to the Iredell County EMS station on Murdock Road where fairground event attendees often park.
Several Iredell County commissioners lamented losing this piece of property for potential fairground expansion and improvements, a project in which the council pledged to assist through a June resolution.
Recognizing “the benefit of such a property and event space” in its corporate limits and the revenue and visitors that it brings, the fairgrounds resolution stated the town had a “vested interest in the future” of the property.
In the resolution, the council expressed its desire to see the fairgrounds become a “multipurpose venue and focal point of a heavily-traveled commercial corridor,” pledging consideration of both monetary and non-monetary support to make that vision a reality.