The City Council voted 6-1 against a proposed single-family and townhome development on 83 acres between Berini Drive and Interstate 85 South, despite concessions by developer PulteGroup, one of America's largest home-building companies.
Mayor Bill Bell and members Cora Cole-McFadden, Jillian Johnson, Don Moffitt, Charlie Reece and Steve Schewel voted no because of concerns of residents near the site.
Eddie Davis voted yes, saying the developer offered significant changes that would benefit the neighborhood and because the townhomes would bring affordable housing.
On Nov. 7 the City Council delayed the vote asking PulteGroup to meet with neighbors and the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association to explain the improvements they were proposing for traffic and the environment. Streams on the property feed into the headwaters of the Ellerbe Creek, which flows into Falls Lake.
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After a two-hour meeting, the neighbors still opposed the development.
On Monday night PulteGroup offered to reduce the number of homes by four to 270, the number of townhomes from 100 to 85, and the impervious surface from 50 percent to 48 percent. The company had also previously offered a plan with a 100-year flood standard versus the required 10-year standard.
PulteGroup representative, local attorney Patrick Byker, pointed out that if another developer wanted to build under the existing zoning, it would allow for larger lot sizes. However, the development likely wouldn’t include buffers between neighborhoods, a stoplight on Cole Mill Road and the higher level of stormwater management.
Still, neighbors filled up City Council chambers Monday with a message of frustration of working with a developer they said wasn’t initially forthcoming with information or willing to compromise until it appeared the City Council wouldn’t approve the project.
Opponents in the Berini and Waterford neighborhoods said the proposal would double the density of their neighborhoods.
The development would also increase traffic on the two-lane Berini Road and the nearby Cole Mill Road and pollute Ellerbe Creek with stormwater run off, said opponents, including Chris Dreps, executive director of the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association.