Despite opposition, the Johnston County Board of Commissioners voted 4-3 vote in favor of a rezoning petition and 5-2 in favor of a special use permit Monday night, to allow for the development of a 352-unit subdivision in the heart of a zoning district where its schools are already overcrowded.
The property is currently vacant.
Jack Carlisle’s Cleveland Bluffs subdivision, on Cornwallis Road, would go on 112 acres next to Cleveland Elementary School, where enrollment has reached capacity of 900 students.
The neighborhood would also be across the street from Cleveland Middle School, which has 17 mobile classrooms and 275 more students than it was designed for.
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The proposed subdivision will have 256 single-family homes and 96 townhomes. There would be 3.1 units per acre. It will have curb and gutter. There will be two large lakes on the property. Sidewalks will connect to Cleveland Elementary School.
The estimated price range of the homes in the new development will start at $220,000.
Any school-aged children from the subdivision would be zoned to one of the Cleveland schools (Cleveland Elementary, Cleveland Middle, Cleveland High).
Relief for the overcrowded Cleveland Middle will come in the form of a new school, which voters approved as part of a bond issue in 2013.
But residents don’t believe even that relief will be enough to sustain such a big subdivision.
During public comment, Colleen Holt, a 13-year resident of a neighboring subdivision, said she was worried about property values.
“Every one that lives out there, we have poured every dime we have into our properties,” Holt said. “Yes on paper it looks beautiful but really that does not give an indication. I wish there was one that really showed all of the houses that are planned to be on there, on there. Because I can’t even imagine that someone would have room to breathe.”
She asked the county commissioners not to allow the development to be built. Holt said she wasn’t necessarily opposed to a subdivision being built there. She said the size of the subdivision was a concern.
“You’ve got folks that moved out to that area because we wanted it to be a little quieter,” Holt said. “If I wanted city, I’d move to Raleigh, so I’m totally against this. The traffic issue is already an issue, and the new school that just got approved earlier, that’s going to help with our current situation. That’s not going to be the fix for what is planned for this.”
Patty Sharp, a resident of a neighboring subdivision, said the same. There is not enough money and resources to sustain 350 new families, she said.
“There’s just not enough room for all of this,” Sharp said. I have no problem with the subdivision. I just have a problem with that many (units).”
Carlisle, the developer, disagreed.
“The subdivision with smaller lots, higher density, open space will actually bring up the property value in the area,” he said. “Our average selling price in a comparable subdivision is about $275,000. So that value of this land will add $90 million of property value.”
Donnie Adams, the neighborhood’s engineer, echoed his sentiments.
“I think it would be a great asset to the community,” Adams said.
Most commissioners ultimately sided with the developers. Commissioners Cookie Pope, DeVan Barbour, Tony Braswell and Chad Stewart voted for the rezoning request that would allow more units in one space. Allen Mims, Jeffrey Carver and Ted Godwin voted against it.
The commissioners who voted for the rezoning request also voted for the special use permit along with Godwin.
When the subdivision will be built is unclear.
Staff writers John Hamlin and Nash Dunn contributed to this report