BY DEBBIE PAGE
debbiepage.iredellfreenews@gmail.com

The Troutman Planning and Zoning Board on Monday declined to recommend a mixed-use development off Highway 21 while approving rezoning of a six-acre residential subdivision on Honeycutt Road and a nearly two-acre parcel on Lytton Street for additional townhomes.

ROCKY CREEK DENIED

A request to conditionally rezone a nearly 57-acre parcel on the west side of Highway 21 just north of the Barkdale/Oswalt-Amity intersection was turned down by the board after nearly 90 minutes of discussion and public comment. Developers have planned 95 homes, 169 townhomes, and nearly two acres of commercial outparcel in the project.

The town’s Future Land Use Plan for the area, now zoned with a county residential agriculture designation, indicated it as appropriate for medium-density residential, single-family homes. Planning Director Lynne Hair recommended the rezoning, even though the 4.98 proposed density exceeded the three to four homes per acre recommended for the parcel.

The traffic impact analysis recommendations for the Eastwood Homes project included a Flower House Loop/Houston Road combined intersection with Highway 21 and multiple turning lanes on Highway 21/Main Street, Barkdale, Oswalt-Amity, and Houston Roads, and Flower House Loop.

Steve Bailey of Prestige Development said larger buffers were added to the plan after the community meeting. Environmentally sensitive areas and a stream would be left undisturbed, he said.

Nearby resident Judy Allen expressed concern about the project, especially with heavy traffic already present. She also complained about being pestered by developers to sell their property.

To protect their “great neighborhood” on the dead-end road, Allen asked for a privacy fence to protect existing properties on Barkdale to protect homeowners from liability issues from development residents wandering onto their property.

Jimmy Millsaps and his family have been poultry farmers in the area for nearly 50 years. The poultry houses are restricted to outsiders for disease safety, and he worries trespassers could contaminate his flock and cause him to suffer economic losses. He also says additional noise will disturb the chickens.

Millsaps believes the dangerous traffic conditions in the area must be corrected before more residences are added. The developers’ planned thoroughfare would also split his property.

Seth Fargher wants to see managed growth and adherence to the town’s land use plan to maintain the small-town feel. With the right planning and projects, he believes Troutman could become a destination location like Brevard or Blowing Rock with nearby Lake Norman State Park and the development of unique local businesses and restaurants to attract visitors.

Fargher hopes that the board members will listen to the concerns, needs, and desires of current residents as they make decisions.

Eric Williams said that another grocery store is not worth a thousand more houses to get it. He asked the board to create a maximum number homes to allow to be built per year instead of accepting every proposal presented.

Town Manager Ron Wyatt pointed out that number targets for the town are not legal. The town cannot deny property owners the right to develop their land but can approve or disapprove plans for development through zoning. About 1,200 unbuilt homes are currently approved.

Board member Mark Taylor and Hair pointed out that roads and infrastructure follow growth. “It’s not proactive, unfortunately,” said Hair. The walkability promoted through greenway construction is one way the town has tried to mitigate traffic.

Wyatt also reminded attendees that developers pay for all costs to run water and sewer to and throughout their developments at no cost to taxpayers. The town then buys the water and sewer allotments from other sources for the water and treatment systems as needed, which is reimbursed through customers’ bills.

Hair also pointed out land use plans are policies that the town uses as a flexible guide that can be tweaked as opportunities beneficial to the town arise; whereas, zoning requires landowners and developers to adhere to specific rules and ordinances.

After questions about parking, garages, fencing and other issues, Karen Van Vliet made a motion to deny the request as it did not adhere to the land use plan in a way to balance growth and residents’ concerns. The motion passed 4-1, with Barry General dissenting.

The request goes to Town Council at its December 9 meeting for a final zoning decision.

HONEYCUTT ROAD DEVELOPMENT

The board unanimously recommended rezoning just over six acres of land off Honeycutt Road near State Park Road to the town’s suburban residential designation to build six to seven homes on half-acre lots. The parcel, which is outside of Troutman but in its planning jurisdiction, is currently zoned Iredell County residential-agriculture.

The Future Land Use Map designates the area as “special lake use,” which calls for low-density housing. The developer also plans to ask for annexation to connect to the town water system. Staff recommended the zoning change to the board.

One neighbor expressed concern about a creek that goes to the lake that could affect nearby wells near the property lines and the capacity of the area in the lake watershed to handle the additional septic system demands. He also believes that wells cannot be drilled because of ridges on the property.

Wyatt pointed out that the water lines would reduce demand on water for wells in the area and that all septic plans and construction must be approved by state inspectors. Project representative Jeff Magnus also noted the stream will have a 100-foot protected buffer and cannot be disturbed, per state regulations.

Another adjoining property owner pointed out the property is sloped to the creek and seems unsuitable for six or seven septic systems. Others pointed out the dangerous development exit in the curve on Honeycutt, heavy nearby steel company traffic, and already congested traffic at the dangerous State Park Road intersection with Perth Road.

LYTTON STREET TOWNHOMES

The board also unanimously recommended Scott Parmiter’s request to rezone nearly two acres at 403 Lytton Street from central business to conditional central business to facilitate his building 24 townhomes in phase 2 of the existing six-unit Lytton Street Townhomes project, located to the south of this property.

No traffic impact study is required because the total project is less than 50 units.

The 3-bedroom, 2-story townhomes, approximately 1,325 square feet, will be rentals as are the first six. True Homes will be the builder for the homes, built in groups of eight over the next two years beginning in the spring of 2022.

Parmiter said building these first townhomes in the community met the demand for larger rental properties with town walkability. The new townhomes will be smaller than the existing 2,100-square-foot units to drive down the scale and rental costs and should rent for about $200 to $300 less per month.

The project elicited no public comment. Van Vliet expressed concerns about parking with only the end units having garages, but Parmiter said each unit will have two spaces.

Hair also added that the conditional rezoning requires that Parmiter stick with the site plan and building materials presented with the request.

UPCOMING DECISIONS

Along with these three rezoning requests, the Town Council will also consider the Troutman Logistics Project and Winecoff Village on Thursday, December 9.

The Planning and Zoning Board last month denied recommendation of Troutman Logistics’ request for the rezoning of 159 acres near the Oswalt-Amity Hill intersection with Highway 21 to build a 1.7 million square foot speculative warehouse and distribution center.

Hair said the proposed Hemi Drive townhome proposal was withdrawn after the Town Council denied the Wagner Street Townhomes earlier this month. Developers now plan to create a site plan for single-family homes for the property.

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