Garner Cleveland Record

Garner council approves North Garner development

The corner of Vandora Springs Road and West Garner Road where Hoppers Communities wants to build.
The corner of Vandora Springs Road and West Garner Road where Hoppers Communities wants to build. jalexander@newsobserver.com

The Town Council here followed the Planning Commision’s recommendation to approve a conditional use permit for a 41-lot subdivision at the intersection of Vandora Springs and West Garner Road, despite further resistance from neighbors to the site.

Bill Harrell, the developer, has been trying to get his 18 acres developed into a subdivision for nearly a year. But he ran into an obstacle when he didn’t notify the nearby residents on Perdue Street of his plan.

Things seemed to be worked out at last month’s planning commission meeting. Harrell said he had two meetings with the neighbors and changed some details in his plan, including saving a few trees and adding buffers. A spokesperson for the street seemed to give his blessing for the subdivision, and the Planning Commission moved it forward.

But some residents on the street were back at the next town council meeting to outline further concerns.

Doug Kowalczyk, who has lived on Perdue Street for 11 years, said he moved to Garner because it was quieter, and cheaper with infrastructure in place.

He said he liked the idea of growth in North Garner, but felt that Garner didn’t have the necessary infrastructure in place for that subdivision. He also said the town was underestimating the traffic count.

“I’d like to invite you to come at five o’clock and see the traffic that sits, because it’s not five-lane Timber (Drive),” Kowalczyk said. “It’s not four lane U.S. 70 with median left turn lanes.”

“I can’t figure out somebody who would want a $200,000 home, sitting in that traffic.”

Kowalczyk said he’d rather see a park be placed in the 18 acres Hopper Communities is trying to get developed.

His neighbor, Paula Page, agreed. She said she has concerns with the direction the town is headed in regard to North Garner.

“It’s a shame that the north part of Garner is only being looked at to bear the burden of high density housing,” Page said. “I think we are setting up for another neighborhood that is going to fall in a quick decline.”

The developer disagreed.

Kelly’s Crossing, the proposed subdivision, will have 41 homes. The homes will have price-points more than $200,000, Harrell said, higher than the majority of the homes in the area. Sidewalks will be constructed along the property lines.

“Assuming this plan would move forward, I would hope that this is a shot in the arm for that area and shows some life in the area that will make it more attractive,” Harrell said. “Landscaping along Garner Road I think would make the area attractive and would in turn draw more people to the area and increase values that way.”

Mayor Pro-tem Kathy Behringer, who lives in North Garner, also disagreed with the argument that the town was headed in the wrong direction. She rebutted the notion that North Garner was continuing to decline.

“North Garner is seeing some good things happen,” Behringer said. “Nothing stays the same. We direct the growth rather than let the growth drag us. We hope that we can have a positive outlook on what this can do for us. And I’d like to reassure the citizens that we won’t make a decision and just sit back and forget about it.”

She said the council will make sure the plan will be addressed and followed up on. The vote for a conditional use permit was approved unanimously.

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @GarnerCleveland

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