More homes are coming to southwestern Holly Springs.
The Holly Springs Town Council on Tuesday approved preliminary plans for a 129-home subdivision on 80 acres near the intersection of Avent Ferry Road and New Hill-Holleman Road.
The developer, Kolter Land Partners, plans to build homes with two-car garages and minimal vinyl siding on lots that are an average of 12,000 square feet.
It’s unclear when construction will begin on the subdivision, known as Lochridge. Developers haven’t submitted construction drawings to town staff as part of the approval process, which usually takes at least a month.
Council members didn’t hesitate to endorse the vision for the project on Tuesday, but they expressed concern that homes in south Holly Springs are being built faster than infrastructure improvements.
The area south of the N.C. 55 Bypass is the fastest-growing part of town, with neighborhoods popping up around the three schools at the intersection of Avent Ferry and Cass Holt roads.
As a result, two of the schools – Holly Grove Elementary and Holly Springs High – have enrollment caps. That means new families who move to the area might be assigned schools that are further away.
Also, Avent Ferry Road is carrying about 50 percent more vehicles than it was built for.
“Now we’re just adding more to it,” said Councilwoman Cheri Lee, who lives in the area. “It’s important that we really start looking at that infrastructure.”
The town recently acquired funding to realign the intersection of Avent Ferry and the N.C. 55 Bypass in an attempt to reduce traffic jams.
But Avent Ferry, a two-lane road maintained by the state Department of Transportation, needs to be widened to four lanes with a median sometime soon to accommodate growth, said Kendra Parrish, a town engineer.
“I would like to know what DOT has planned (for the road),” Lee said.
In the meantime, the council on Tuesday agreed to ask DOT to reduce the 55 mph speed limit on the part of Avent Ferry Road where Lochridge plans to build.
“That whole stretch of road has bothered me for years,” Councilman Tim Sack said. “That area gets really fast.”
Lochridge, which will straddle Avent Ferry, will have a pool on one side of the subdivision. Developers and council members said they were worried about the safety of residents who try to cross the street.
Developers want to build a crosswalk but can’t do so unless DOT agrees to lower the speed limit, Parrish said.
“Let’s hope common sense prevails,” she said, adding that the town will “throw the book” at DOT to get as many warning signs as possible.
Holly Springs has received multiple complaints from residents who say drivers don’t slow down on Avent Ferry Road for the crosswalk in front of the schools, where the speed limit is lower.
“Avent Ferry is a challenge,” Mayor Dick Sears said. “We all know it.”