The Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a proposal to amend the Garner-Fuquay Land Use Plan, so that a developer can build more homes on his 116 acres of land along Cleveland School Road near the county border with Johnston County.
Before the amendment was approved, developer Jack Carlisle was only allowed to build 1.5 units per acre on the 116 acres of land. The vote allows the developer to build up to four units per acre.
Donnie Adams, the engineer for the site, said the developer’s plan is to build a more dense subdivision. He said they want to build 300 single-family detached homes on the 116 acre site. That is the equivalent of about 2.6 units per acre. Adams said the community will be walkable with sidewalks and will have a lot of open space.
The subdivision will also have a clubhouse and pool.
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He said the homes are expected to be between 2,500 and 3,000 square feet.
The area of land near the Johnston-Wake border is in the Town of Garner’s long range urban service area near N.C. 50. The Cleveland community is about 1.5 miles to the east. The site will be about half a mile south of where N.C. 540 will be built, said Bryan Coates, a planner for Wake County.
The demand for housing has and will continue to increase, leading up to the completion of the southern portion of the outerloop, creating a quicker route for Garner and Johnston County residents to RTP.
Because the town has no expectations to extend water and sewer to that area in the near future, the future subdivision will have a community well and community sewer. There is also a Johnston County water line that serves nearby residential developments, but Adams said there are no plans to connect to Johnston County’s water system.
The developers also plans to use sprayfields, which is a method for disposing of treated wastewater by spraying it on the land surface.
County commissioners Betty Lou Ward and John Burns said they were concerned about that. The county and Raleigh have had sprayfields in the past and many of them have failed. They encouraged the applicant to negotiate with Johnston County.
However, Adams said he and the developer have. In order to get approval, Johnston County, the City of Raleigh and the Town of Garner would all have to be in agreement about letting a Wake County subdivision use a Johnston County water line.
“Johnston County was not in favor of making that connection,” Adams said. “There is an agreement that discourages that.”
“I think all in all, this will be a great system, and an improvement of what could be there,” he said of the sprayfields.
The Town of Garner had not taken a position on the matter because they had questions about the water system.
Jeff Triezenberg, Garner’s assistant planning director, said the town has also had experience using sprayfields in the past, which ended up not being very effective. From that experience, the town wondered whether the developer and his team had done enough research to know how much area it would need to support the number of houses they are proposing.
Triezenberg said the type of subdivision the developer is proposing is unique in that it will have community wells and community sewer, but will be high in density and have the features of a municipal subdivision.”
“One of our questions was ‘If you’re proposing more of an urban surburban style development, how do you do that without the urban infrastructure?’” Triezenberg said. “That’s not something we’ve seen in the past. Some of those things we won’t know until they do a little more planning.”
Some county commissioners were reluctant to approve the plan until many of those questions were answered. But Adams said in order for them to answer some of the town’s questions, the formal plan has to be presented to the town, which won’t happen until after county commissioners OK’d changes to the land use plan.
“This is going to be scruitinized because I see this as a precedent-setting development,” Burns told Adams, “and I’m going to treat it as such... I’m going to try to think about what these types of developements along this ring will look like.”
Adams said the he and the developer will submit a rezoning request with Wake County in the near future. The rezoning request will include a site plan with more details about the project.