Residents of the Sutton Springs subdivision off New Bethel Church Road were adamant Tuesday when expressing how displeased they were about a proposal for a 115-home subdivision that will back up to their community if and when it is built.
In all likelihood the community will be built, but the Garner Town Council delayed the developer’s request Tuesday night to allow time for the developer and the neighbors to work out concerns.
Bill Harrell, with Hopper Communities, which is developing the project, is no stranger to neighborhood opposition. He recently had a site plan for a subdivision off West Garner and Vandora Springs Road approved nearly a year after he submitted his original proposal. The neighbors there felt like they had no input into what went beside their neighborhood.
The sentiments here were similar. Most neighbors worried about the traffic and increased development in the area. Some called for plans to stop until the nearby roads are improved. But those streets, Bryan Road, Clifford Road and New Bethel Church Road are maintained by N.C. DOT and the town typically has no say in when they will be improved.
According to a 2013, N.C. DOT traffic study, Clifford Road averages 1,100 trips per day. The new subdivsion, when built out, will add 1,100 daily trips.
“The idea this whole plan was built upon a (sic) idea of 1,100 trips per day on a traffic study that is presently three years old and is horribly outdated, I think is probably a failure of what’s going on in that whole area,” Joseph Hayes, a resident of Sutton Springs, said.
Hayes noted the additions of South Garner High and Bryan Road Elementary schools, as well as other recent developments in the area that were approved.
Some residents, such as Corey Hocutt, were concerned about a 15-foot buffer, which is expected to separate the properties.
Mayor Pro-tem Kathy Behringer agreed the buffer could be bigger.
The neighborhood is expected to be constructed on about 46 acres of land. There will be 2.5 units per acre, Harrell said. He said he expected the price points of the homes to be somewhere between the high $200,000s to as much as $400,000.
The average home value in Garner is about $178,000.
One resident, who was also displeased with the plan and the developer, described the project as tract housing and asked the council not to allow it.
“They are going to come in, clear cut everything, and then drop in cookie-cutter houses,” Wil Cummings said. “With nothing to really maintain these houses, nothing to maintain the standard that Garner has .... But when you come in and tract house, do we want to be known for that in the Town of Garner.”
Harrell, the developer, disagreed.
“The quality of the homes will be very similar to Sutton Springs,” Harrell said. “The only major difference is the lot size. We’ve talked with our builders. Our builders don’t need a 70-foot lot.”
He said a family can live on lots that are 60 feet wide.
“It’s been proven in Cary and Apex and other municipalities,” Harrell said.
South Garner High, Bryan Road Elementary and Bryan Road Middle schools would likely draw students from the subdivision when it is complete.
“Regardless of what you have heard tonight, a house is a big investment, and it’s an emotional investment for these people,” Mayor Ronnie Williams said. “And we get told all the time that we let the developers come in, make their money and get the hell out. It doesn’t work that way. If you’re going to live here it’s a different thing, so understand that emotion.”