Some residents who live in the Mordecai neighborhood near downtown are unhappy with a developer’s plan to build 19 homes on two acres of land.
Raleigh-based Five Horizons Development wants to tear down three aging apartment buildings on Courtland Drive, a main road in Mordecai.
The apartments have long been considered an eyesore by some neighbors, but some are also skeptical of replacing them with new houses.
The proposed homes would be narrow, three stories tall and smaller than 2,000 square feet, said Five Horizons owner Stuart Cullinan.
That’s smaller than a lot of new houses near downtown, but many existing homes in Mordecai are less than 2,000 square feet. Most aren’t more than one or two stories.
The size will allow the new homes to be sold at a lower price than many new homes downtown. Cullinan said he anticipates the homes will cost in the low to mid $300,000 range.
Home values in Mordecai are typically less than $400,000.
“This is the hard road,” Cullinan said. “The easy road is just to knock it down and build big houses.”
Still, not all neighbors are convinced it’s a good idea.
Sean Farres, who lives next door to the site, started an online petition on change.org, saying some technicalities of the development could negatively affect the neighborhood.
“I moved here because I thought I was protected (from development),” Farres said.
Five Horizons drew inspiration from the Dorothea Gardens neighborhood on the southern end of Boylan Heights. The homes are built tall and narrow.
“This does not fit in with the neighborhood,” Mordecai resident Shane Trahan posted on the online petition. “There are little, if any, three story homes in Mordecai and the lots are much bigger.”
Farres said the new homes would be closer to the road and would bring too much traffic to the already-cramped Courtland Drive.
The proposed setback of the homes is allowed under the city’s development codes, but Cullinan said Five Horizons is willing to address residents’ concerns.
Already, the company has made adjustments to the plan, like changing where roads would lead out of the new development.
A willingness to change the plan makes some residents like Tawney Schwarz excited to see change on the lot. She lives across the street and said she thinks the scale of the project fits well with the rest of the homes in the neighborhood.
“I wouldn’t want a giant house that’s going to make my bungalow look tiny,” Schwarz said.
Five Horizons is creating a master plan which includes a detailed report of what will be built on the site. The company will seek a rezoning to change the lot to a planned development designation.
The plan, and the rezoning, will be considered by the Citizens Advisory Council, planning commission and ultimately the city council.
Cullinan said he is still tweaking the master plan. The timeline for final approval is not clear.