The Garner Planning Commission tabled a developer’s request to have a site plan approved for a 304-unit apartment complex off Benson Road near the intersection of Timber Drive.
Commission members delayed the request in order to give the developer, Zimmer Development Company, Wilmington-based group, time to review the new plan with nearby residents.
Based on the size of the project, town rules required the developer to have a 636 parking spaces for the apartment complex. It is based on the bedrooms per unit and total number of units. But the developer’s site plan only called for 481 parking spaces, which would have been a 24 percent reduction.
Town staff did not feel comfortable with a reduction that large because there was no area in the design for additional parking if it was needed. Town staff asked the developer to compromise. The developer brought back a new plan on the day of the planning commission meeting, which identified new areas for additional parking. But it was still not quite enough to be in compliance with town rules.
Neighbors also hadn’t had a chance to see the new plan until Monday night’s meeting.
The staff laid out two recommendations for the commission. One was to table the request until next month’s meeting, after the developer had scheduled a meeting with the nearby residents to fill them in on the revisions to the plan, or approve the plan with the conditions that the developer talk to the neighbors and work with the town on a better solution for parking spaces.
Tom Johnson, an attorney with Nexen Pruet who was representing the developer, asked the commission to approve the plan to move forward to the town council.
“I think the things left to be addressed are truly minor,” Johnson said, “that I think we can address them between now and the council meeting. Obviously with any development project time is money. You also have contractual requirements that you have to meet.”
But commission members chose the first recommendation.
The plan could run into problems next month too. A few residents spoke out against the plan, and one commission member questioned why N.C. DOT’s traffic study didn’t see a need to put a signal light near the proposed subdivision on N.C. 50 with all the proposed new traffic.
“I’m sitting here thinking, because we’ve approved so many subdivisions further down (NC) 50,” commission member Vira Hogan said. “That traffic has to come up 50. But we’re also putting schools down that way. Buses are going to have to make a left turn out of there. I just don’t see why they would not justify a signal.”
“That’s an accident waiting to happen.”
Among the 304-apartment units being proposed, there would be 124 one-bedroom apartments, 152 two-bedroom apartments, and 28 three-bedroom apartments.
There would also be four 7-car garages, a clubhouse and a maintenance building and car wash.