BY DEBBIE PAGE
debbiepage.iredellfreenews@gmail.com

Thirty-five residents gathered on Thursday night to hear a presentation on the proposed 778-acre Wakefield development at the former Barium Springs property that will bring 2,200 single-family, multifamily, townhome and apartment residences to the north side of Troutman.

Developers are seeking a recommendation for the property to the newly established mixed-use zoning at Monday night’s Planning and Zoning meeting, followed by the consideration of the developers’ annexation and rezoning request by the Town Council on September 8.

Robert Davis, part of Prestige Corporate Development’s Acquisition, Development, and Entitlement section, said the “village concept” commercial buildings would be roughly three times that of Birkdale in Huntersville, with 600,000 square feet of commercial space planned on 60 acres (about 20 percent more land than Birkdale).

Davis said the shopping area would be anchored by a major grocer, noting that a 51,000-square-foot Publix anchored their Village at Sherrill’s Ford commercial section.

The total buildout will take eight to nine years, with developers making substantive improvements at their expense in the town’s public utilities and affected roads as directed by the traffic impact analysis.

The developers are also honoring the history of the site by preserving the Gracie Building, which houses the Heartstrings program. Historical names will be used for streets and other parts of the development.

The “Wakefield” name comes from the last name of the first pastor at The Barium Springs orphanage.

Children’s Hope Alliance, which sold the land to the developer, is retaining 70 acres of campus area to continue its services to the community.

DETAILS

Charlotte area Director Taylor Critcher of the Seamon-Whiteside engineering firm presented the Wakefield project, which has undergone additional changes since the last community meeting.

In the Springs at Wakefield, developers are planning 800 age-restricted (over-55) homes (down from 1,000 in the initial plan) on 300 acres circling behind the CHA campus from Old Mountain Road to the northwest of the campus.

Homes in this area are estimated to be in the $400,000 to $500,000 range.

Most of the homes will have garages. Possible amenities include a club house, pool, pickle ball or tennis courts, and walking trails.

On the east side of Highway 21, the Brook at Wakefield plan includes 700 single-family homes (up from 650) on 220 acres (an increase from 126 acres) bordering Moose Club Road and Duck Creek Roads. Possible amenities include a clubhouse/pool, dog park, and walking trails.

These homes’ costs are estimated to be in the $350,000s to $500,000s.

The Grove at Wakefield plan 400 townhomes (down from 500) on 84 acres (up from 35 acres) and will share some amenities with the adjoining Brook development.

The Flats at Wakefield plan remains at 450 apartments on 41.5 acres (up from 35) with its own pool and other amenities.

OTHER SECTIONS

Fifty-seven acres are dedicated to the village core commercial area, 42 acres for Barium Commons (up from 3 acres), 17 acres for community amenities (trails, ballfields, etc), 47 acres of improved natural open space, and 13 acres donated to the town to create a community amenity.

Thirty-seven acres (up from 15 acres) of flex area, once planned for a school, may be dedicated to other uses since the school system’s current plan for a middle school is adjacent to the South Iredell High School campus, with the current middle school becoming 3rd-5th grade and Troutman Elementary becoming a K-2 school.

Instead of donating the 37 acres to the school system, the developers may contribute toward the building of the new middle school. Critcher said discussions are ongoing with I-SS.

The development will include roads and sidewalks constructed according to town ordinances.

They are currently designing a signage master plan to create that cohesive feeling in all sections of the project.

In the green spaces, Critcher said the plan emphasized “utilizing some of the existing natural conditions where streams are and providing some of these open spaces where they naturally fit.”

Critcher provided a summary of other changes from the original plan, including shifting an intersection to reduce traffic adjacent to Barium Seasons Village (BSV), enlarging the buffer to 100 feet adjacent to BSV, and shifting lots and roadways to increase the separation with BSV.

Other changes involved moving an amenity center to reduce lots next to an adjacent property line, removing the school site and adding the acreage to create a flex area, shifting townhomes and lot layout to increase separation, and donating 13.4 acres to the town.

Davis added that all facade materials are limited to brick, stone, hardy board, cementitious siding, wood siding or shingles, or stucco. Vinyl can only be used on windows, soffits, and trim, said Davis.

Utilities will be installed underground.

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS

In response to an increased traffic question, Davis said that if the traffic impact analysis indicates an intersection is impacted by 10 percent or more, the developers must address and improve the area. All improvements must be completed before the first certificate of occupancy is issued.

Some concern was expressed about the Old Mountain Road entrance to the development being across from the SIHS bus entrance/exit. Davis said that the TIA could shift the entrance, add turn lanes, or mandate other changes.

He also reminded attendees that this entrance was to the age-restricted section, in which fewer residents would have school-age children and would be less likely to traveling during school opening hours.

Another attendee asked about the development agreement with the town, wanting to know what Prestige asked the town for in terms of utilities and how much it would cost taxpayers. Davis assured attendees that it was the other way around — that the town told Prestige what it had to do to install and pay for utilities for the development’s homes to get approval.

The only thing Prestige asks of the town is that it has water and sewer capacity to serve the development. The developer is responsible to pay for all utilities for the homes, including adding additional sewer lift stations, a water tower, and all sewer and water lines needed.

Developers also promised one questioner that they will preserve as many of the existing mature trees as possible, noting that the town requires a 10 percent tree save, which they believe they will exceed.

Attendees then gathered around one of three stations to ask questions one-on-one, with presenters staying to answer questions and listen to concerns until all had the opportunity to interact with them.

PLANNING AND ZONING MEETING

The developers will present the Wakefield master plan to the Planning and Zoning Board on Monday night at 7 p.m. The board will vote to recommend, disapprove, or table the project for 30 days for additional research.

Residents may address the board prior to the vote.

If the project is not tabled, developers plan to present the project to the Town Council on Thursday, September 8, at 7 p.m. for final approval, rejection, or possible tabling of the project.

Residents will have the chance to voice their approval or concerns about the Wakefield project at a public hearing prior to any council vote.

7 thoughts on “Barium developers face community questions before Troutman Planning & Zoning Board considers 2,200-home project

  1. Raymond E O'Neill says:

    35 Residents attended. That’s not disinterest. It’s the realization of the power, money and politics involved that will forever change North Troutman. Helplessness 😢

    • Monica Randolph says:

      I don’t like all the development going on. Our country town is turning into little Mooresville and I hate going to Mooresville. The charm and peace that our town has is quickly disappearing. Farmers, I beg you and my children beg you, don’t sell your farms!

  2. Jonathan Holland says:

    Sounds like a lovely plan. HOWEVER it’s merely a flashy sales pitch! Nothing said about the number of expected new residents. The developers speak in homes, not people. How many people are expected? BTW quick dinner napkin estimate is upwards 10,000 people between this and all the other area development. How many cars? How many students? What is the expected traffic flow on an already over-stressed highway 21, Old Mountain Road, Murdock Road and Perth Road? How many cars will attempt to use these unprepared, narrow and spaghetti like “back in the day” road networks? What about sewage treatment? Where is the water and power needed for all this coming from? What’s the impact on those three critical systems? Can the existing pipes and lines support this? If not, which I doubt it can, what’s the plan? Where will the sewage treatment plan expand to? Or where will the new one be built? What is the plan for fire protection? EMS? Healthcare facilities? What about law enforcement? Will it fall to the county sheriff’s office? Will Troutman’s tiny police force be responsible? Will they establish a Barium Springs Police Department? What about the mail? Where is the new Post Office gonna be? I’m sure others can chime in with things I’ve missed but I ask you Troutman elected officials: What are the answers to this proposal’s impact questions as well as these same questions as they pertain to the other over growth development?

    Jonathan Holland, a son of Troutman

  3. Trina Mendoza says:

    The traffic getting in and out of side roads to Main Street is already difficult. The increase in traffic and people will only get worse.

  4. JOSEPH BARRY ROBINSON says:

    I have lived on Moose Club Road for nearly 20 years. When I first moved there, it was a perfect for me; six minutes from work and felt like I was living out in the country. The increase in traffic has already lead to investing a small fortune in planting barrier trees. The construction of the water main irritated me to no end for nearly 6 months. I don’t think I can live through eight to nine more years of it only to be rewarded with another order of magnitude increase in traffic, right at the end of my driveway. I guess they have won. I am looking for land to the North, as far away from this urban sprawl as I can get. To the Barium/Troutman town council folks that sold out, I would like to ask, how is it legal to cash in on all of this land that was donated to you by people that trusted you to preserve it? I knew it was going to happen just as soon as the loggers came in and raped the 600 acres. I hope your lined pockets help you sleep at night. Shame on you for selling out and turning our little community into just another Mooresville.

  5. Our town has no leadership. I don’t know any Troutman resident that wants more development. All these people care about is money; they don’t care about us. They sell us out every step of the way. Our little country town is being completely destroyed.

  6. It is all BS and if the county and town don’t get their act together, it will definitely get thrown under the rug. The statements in the post are worse then a used car salesman. Better work on infrastructure before developments. Already had enough break-ins in the newer developments in and around our area. People going to start getting hurt if this don’t slow down. Pick your poison.

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