BY DEBBIE PAGE
Before a room packed with concerned neighbors on Monday night, the Troutman Planning and Zoning Board unanimously recommended against approval of a request from MI Homes to rezone a 50-acre tract to conditional mixed residential to build a 77 single-family homes off Autumn Leaf Road.
MI Homes originally planned to build 91 homes, but after the staff planned to recommend denial of the project in July, the developer delayed consideration and returned with a plan that reduced the number of homes.
The developer also added a 75-foot buffer to the north and east and a 25-foot buffer to the south and west of the property. A 4-foot black chain-link fence was also included on the north and west property lines. The developer additionally committed to saving additional trees.
Exterior home materials were updated to remove vinyl siding as an option, with exteriors covered in composite board, stone and brick, with at least two different materials on each facade. The development includes a variety of lot sizes and three active open areas.
Proposed home sizes were 2,700 to 3,700 square feet with four or five bedrooms and two- or three-car garages, with price points beginning in the low $500,000s.
The traffic impact analysis for the project recommended no additional traffic measures to handle the increased traffic on Autumn Leaf Road.
The town’s Strategic Plan and the recently updated Future Land Use Map call for the area to be low-density residential with two units per acre. Because the revised development plan met density requirements (1.55 residence per acre), the town planning staff recommended approval of the rezoning from suburban residential to conditional mixed use.
Speakers from the adjacent Quail Haven neighborhood came out in force to oppose the project, speaking for about 45 minutes about traffic issues, their concerns about a road connection to the neighborhood, and stormwater runoff affecting the neighborhood pond and streams running through the area.
Others pointed to already crowded schools and the danger of additional traffic on the narrow Quail Haven Drive if it is connected to the new development.
Board members peppered the developers with questions about the increased lot sizes with “unusable” space and how to ensure the space would not be developed by lot owners in the future.
They also expressed concern that the Future Land Use Map intended the area for true half-acre lots, not small lots with large areas of surrounding, unusable open space. This designation was to provide another type of housing option after approval of a large number of higher density neighborhoods, added board member Karen Van Vliet.
Board members also questioned why the TIA required no turn lanes and asked if developers would commit to building Autumn Leaf turn lanes with the TIA requiring them.
After all of the discussion concluded, the board voted unanimously to recommend against the rezoning to the Town Council, which is scheduled to make the final decision on the project at its September 14 meeting.
In other business, the Planning Board also unanimously recommended:
♦ Rezoning 7.5 acres at 709 Main Street from residential agriculture to highway business.
♦ Amending the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) to allow wall murals as a permitted sign use in heavy industrial and highway business zoning districts, with the caveat that all murals in any zoning district go through a Design Review Board process with developed criteria on size, color, content, etc. before permitting a mural. The text amendment request was made by local business owners of Mad Monkey Garage and Tails of Lake Norman.
♦ Amending the UDO to require a landscape berm on the perimeter of all new single-family residential subdivisions adjacent to a public street.
These issues will also proceed to the Town Council in September for final approval or denial.