The Town Council here voted to approve a rezoning request and site plan for a 304-unit apartment complex off N.C. 50 near the intersection of Timber Drive.
The vote to approve the project was not unanimous. Council member Gra Singleton voted against the plan.
One of the biggest concerns about the plan was the traffic the apartments would add to area roads.
A 2013 traffic study found that N.C. Highway 50 had 17,000 average daily trips. The new apartment complex is expected to add 2,000 more trips per day.
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The new zoning likely reduces the number of trips on N.C. 50 that uses under the previous zoning would have created. It is also more consistent with the town’s 2006 comprehensive growth plan, town planner David Bamfort said.
A left turn lane will be added for travelers heading southbound on N.C. 50, and a right turn lane will be added for northbound travelers, both leading into the complex. Council members were hoping a traffic signal could be installed, but a N.C. DOT study of the plan determined that a signal was not needed.
“I don’t think anyone here is opposed to this project, but the numbers we see DOT generate are often different than the reality we see on Friday afternoon out there,” Mayor Pro-tem Kathy Behringer said. “And that is what our corcern is. It’s already in bad shape.”
Singleton was the lone council member who voted against the rezoning request. He also voted against the site plan.
“My main reasoning is because we’ve approved various multi-family projects in the last two or three years, and all these multi-family projects were never close to existing residential neighborhoods,” he said. “They were where there was already existing multi-family or where there was not single-family detached residential.”
The apartment complex project will back up to Forest Landing subdivision.
“When you have long-standing neighborhoods, I just have a concern,” Singleton said. “Yes, it’s zoned for commercial retail and a more intense use. I just have an uneasy feeling.”
The majority of the apartments will be in 12 three-story apartment buildings. One will be a two-story building.
Among the 304 apartment units being proposed, there would be 124 one-bedroom apartments, 152 two-bedroom apartments, and 28 three-bedroom apartments. Monthly rents will range from $900 to $1,400, Thomas Johnson Jr., an attorney representing the developer, said. There would also be four 7-car garages, a clubhouse, a yoga room, lounge area, pool, playground and a car wash.
“To me it appears to be a good quality product,” council member Ken Marshburn said.