Three Hillsborough projects underwent scrutiny in a joint town board and planning board public hearing Thursday night.
The special public hearing was held to continue gathering information about two proposed housing developments that together could add almost 400 houses to the town, as well as a gas station with a carwash and Huddle House restaurant. The developers first presented their plans at a public hearing in July.
The 27-acre Owl's Wood project -- proposed to include 106 housing units in single- and two-story buildings with handicapped accessibility, retail and a restaurant and hotel -- would extend from Meadowlands Business Park to the intersection of N.C. 86 and U.S. 70A.
Todd Wielar, owner of Hillsborough Wine Co. and representative of the newly formed Historic Hillsborough Business Group, expressed concern about creating more retail along those roads without considering the future impact on downtown businesses, especially if a bypass is put in to connect U.S. 70A and the U.S. 70 Bypass.
"If we create a new corridor and the result is we have a vacant dead old corridor, is that really want we want?" Wielar asked.
Tom Campanella, assistant professor in UNC-Chapel Hill's department of city and regional planning, criticized the automobile-centered planning.
"There are the sidewalks, but they are really just loose spaghetti floating around the site," Campanella said. "Overall, I would say that this is a good example of ... the kind of creeping urban sprawl that we really need to fight against in this town."
Several residents of the Beckett's Ridge subdivision spoke against the 24-hour gas station establishment proposed for Hampton Pointe.
Residents said they wanted higher-quality family dining, and that this project would only worsen light and noise issues at the development, which already has a 24-hour Super Wal-Mart.
Developers of Ashton Hall -- a proposed 272-home development on 118 acres on the north side of U.S. 70A across from the Triangle Sportsplex -- faced the fewest questions.
Town commissioner Eric Hallman asked that they reconsider including some affordable housing. The developers declined, saying that the town hasn't provided any documentation that it required it for other developments.
The developers asked for time to settle a property line dispute with a residential neighbor.
The Town Board decided to carry over all three proposals to the Oct. 25 hearing.
Staff writer Cheryl Johnston can be reached at 932-2005 or firstname.lastname@example.org.