BY DEBBIE PAGE
debbiepage.iredellfreenews@gmail.com

Meeting in front of a packed chamber and lobby area, the Troutman Planning and Zoning Board voted unanimously to recommend denial of rezoning requests for two projects strongly opposed by neighbors. The board also recommended approval of a rezoning request for a small area adjacent to the already approved Rocky Creek mixed-use commercial section on Main Street.

NORTH FORK BUSINESS PARK

The board denied its stamp of approval for rezoning 38 acres to heavy industrial at 164 Nugget Lane off Murdock Road. The proposed North Fork Business Park project is adjacent to and behind the 5-acre, 41,000 square-foot DelaCasa office/warehouse project at 303 Murdock Road that was approved by the Town Council in August.

General contractor Leon “Butch” Bouwens and real estate agent Sam Barnette requested the rezoning to construct 10 buildings, ranging from 10,000 to 200,00 square feet, on 2- to 10-acre lots in the business park.

Barnette presented renderings of attractive stucco exteriors and concrete parking lots for the buildings as well as the creation of a strict owners association, overseen by Bouwens, to uphold park regulations. Bouwens is contractor for and runs the owners association for Mooresville’s South Fork Business Park on Mazeppa Road.

Barnette noted the council had approved the adjoining DalaCasa property to heavy industrial as well as the nearby concrete plant.

The proposed building exteriors would match the ones already approved in the DalaCasa project as well.

The buildings would be pre-sold, and Barnette said multiple tenants are already on board, including a parts supplier, a trade show display creator, an irrigation company, and some motor sports-related businesses.

Board member Mark Taylor questioned the project’s traffic impact analysis and disagreed with several recommendations in the report, which is now under N.C. Department of Transportation review.

Multiple citizens spoke out against the project and presented a petition against it. Concerns included environmental damage, chemical pollution of groundwater, traffic, noise, and light annoyances that will negatively impact nearby residents and farmland.

Staff recommended approving the rezoning, even though it is inconsistent with the Future Land Use Map.

Because the site is adjacent to both a heavy industrial and light industrial property and near the Walmart distribution center, staff said “the proposed zoning designation is consistent with the development already approved in the immediate area.”

After the public hearing, Taylor made a motion recommending denial of the project, which passed unanimously. The Town Council is scheduled to make a final decision on the business park at its regular meeting scheduled for Thursday, October 13, at 7 p.m.

RIVER ROCK ATTACHED RANCH HOME PROJECT

The controversial River Rock project proposed for 28 acres, currently in county single-family home zoning, at 970 Perth Road drew a large contingent of passionate opponents defending the rural and decidedly single-family homeowner residential area.

River Rock Development is requesting conditional mixed residential zoning of the parcel to construct a 99-unit attached ranch home rental community. The 35 structures would each contain three 2-bedroom, 2-bath units (1,300 to 1,600 square feet) targeting residents 55 and over and renting for $1,900 to $2,200 per month

Town Planner Lynne Hair said the September 20 community meeting on the project drew a standing-room-only crowd loudly protesting the project, expressing complaints about traffic, the connection to the Twin Creeks subdivision, the impact on schools, the high density of the project, a lack of buffering, and the negative impact on nearby home values.

Hair did not recommend rezoning the property for the project because of the medium-density land-use designation for the area and the attached homes violating the Unified Development Ordinance rules for single-family home areas.

After the community meeting, developers dropped the number of units to 99 to avoid the unpopular second entrance requirement (for developments of 100 or more) to Twin Creeks. They also promised $200,000 to the Twin Creeks HOA for road repairs to dampen residents’ opposition, but Hair noted the private agreement between the developers and neighborhood was unenforceable by the town.

During the public hearing, Paul Bryant opposed the development as inconsistent with both county and town future-land use plans for the area.

Frannie Hanrahan expressed her shock that Prestige Development, which bought the land and is reselling it to River Rock, has already added 8,800 future residents, tripling the town’s population, with its four developments already approved, based on information provided by Hair.

Hanrahan asked if the town was tripling its police and fire, schools, and other services to meet this increase.

“We want nice shopping and growth, but at a reasonable pace,” she said.

Patrick Bannon presented a copy of an online petition with 210 names so far opposing the project. He related concerns about traffic issues, noted the plentiful supply of ranch homes already available, pointed out the skewed numbers presented by developers, and expressed distress about rude comments made by the developers to those atttending the community meeting.

“People do not feel their voices are being heard, especially in the ETJ,” said Bannon.

Others expressed concerns about possible toxins buried on the property decades ago being disturbed, the loss of the farmland, and the problems of emergency response with only one entrance.

Others expressed concern that the development was age-targeted rather than age-restricted, leaving the ranch homes open to anyone.

After noting increased traffic, the single entrance and the inconsistency of the project in this single-family home area, the board unanimously denied recommending the project for rezoning.

The Town Council is expected to consider final approval or denial of annexation and rezoning for the project on October 13.

ROCKY CREEK COMMERCIAL REZONING

The board quickly and unanimously approved a recommendation to rezone 1.17 acres at 778 South Main Street from Iredell County residential agricultural to Troutman’s highway business if the council approves its annexation on October 13. No one spoke against the request.

The property is adjacent to the already approved Rocky Creek mixed-use development, approved by Town Council in December. The 54-acre phase one parcel on the west side of Highway 21, just north of the Barkdale/Oswalt-Amity intersection, plans 95 homes, 169 townhomes, and nearly 2 acres of commercial outparcel.

Prestige Development came back before the council in February and got approval for conditional mixed residential rezoning for Rocky Creek phase two, featuring 53 more single-family homes in a 19.5-acre walkable community on the east side of Byers Road. The neighborhood will share amenities and an HOA with phase one of the development.

This annexation and rezoning would add another acre to the commercial portion of the mixed-use project, if approved by council next month.

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