Plethora of apartments concerning to Bermuda Run neighbors
Published 9:16 am Thursday, April 28, 2022
By Jim Buice
BERMUDA RUN – For the second time in three months, the town council approved a zoning map amendment to Village Mixed (VM) with the potential to add more residential housing in the town’s limits.
The council voted unanimously in favor of a request from Fuller Land Company to rezone four tracts of land along Hillsdale West Drive totaling 22.57 acres from General Business (GB), Gateway Corridor Overlay (GC-O) to Village Mixed (VM) to develop a portion of the property for residential townhouses.
This follows action in February to rezone six tracts of 6.54 acres of land east of NC 801 and west of Ivy Circle south of Walgreens near the busy US 158/NC 801 intersection for a potential 98-unit, multi-family development.
Chad Bomar, the attorney representing Fuller, said during the public hearing that the change in zoning for the property in Hillsdale West Business Park would be minimal.
“This is General Business, and we’re asking for Village Mixed,” Bomar said. “If you put those current uses next to one another, they are virtually identical. We are asking for a little bit of a decrease in zoning. Why you ask? Our intent is to put in townhomes there. Right now, General Business does not allow that.”
Town officials are on the record as saying although the applicant has indicated a use, this is a general use rezoning, and all uses in the Village Mixed zoning district should be considered. High density residential development is encouraged to support the commercial uses within Village Mixed.
Bomar said the change is reasonable and in the public interest by facilitating the redevelopment of vacant land and supporting residential growth – adding apartments could have been done without a zoning change.
“It makes good sense for the town and the community, and the development will generate more tax dollars,” he said. “That helps everyone involved.”
Bomar was one of two speakers during the public hearing, which preceded the positive vote by the council. Kim Strohacker, who has been a Realtor in Davie County for 17 years, said he was asked to give an opinion.
“Most of the folks I’ve worked with that have moved to Bermuda Run or Advance are moving here for quality of life and not for business,” Strohacker said. “I do know that we have a severe need for owner-occupied housing.”
Council member Mike Ernst concurred, saying: “What we did tonight with the approval for the townhomes was a good move. We need more rooftops.”
Town Manager Lee Rollins said this week’s planning board meeting will have two items for consideration – a rezoning request for 22 acres behind Lowes Foods and another conditional rezoning request off of US 158 for another development because this area is in the Village Mixed Hillsdale at Bermuda Run area.
“That will come to you for the April 26 agenda meeting, then at that point you can decide to hold the earliest public hearing at the May 10 council meeting,” Rollins told the council.
That meeting will be held at the WinMock Barn Loft instead of Town Hall because of early voting for the upcoming election.
Regarding the rezoning request for the property – and possible apartments – behind Lowes Foods, Tina Smith Goins, who lives in Kinderton Village, spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting and asked to see if the council “would put out a public statement to get ahead of some of the mistruths that are being spread that I feel like are really divisive and causing quite a rift in our community.
“In the last three weeks, I have received 13 messages, had three letters put in my door, had people knock on my door, had people stop me on the street and call me as well – all to address the exact same things.”
That included, she said, people being under the impression that the town owns those 22 acres and that the town is getting a $16 million grant to build low-income apartments there. She said others have said there is a financial relationship between the builder and people within the town.
“I truly believe that all of these are pure rumor started by one or two people, but I would love to see a public statement to address those and get ahead of it,” Smith Goins said.
In another item in the manager’s report, Rollins reported that the NCDOT board approved $500,000 in contingency funds earlier this month for a stepped improvement at the US 158/N. 801 intersection at the Walgreens corner.
“Pat Ivey, our district engineer, says there is a lot involved in the project and construction is not imminent,” Rollins said. “He has invited me to be part of a kickoff meeting scheduled for May 6 to discuss the project and see how the town might assist.”
In other highlights from last Tuesday night’s meeting, the council:
• Also heard from Rollins saying that NCDOT had a scoping meeting regarding the Baltimore Road/I-40 interchange project and that the plan is to move forward with that and due diligence.
• Approved the adoption of a resolution to apply for a state wastewater asset inventory grant in the amount of $400,000 with no required match from the town. The only cost is an application fee of $6,000, which will be expended from the Utility Fund.
• Heard from Mayor Rick Cross that the deadline for residents to take the survey for the 2022 Comprehensive Plan survey has been extended to May 1. It was later reported during council comments, which included a lengthy conversation on the topic – with Mike Brannon saying the “planning and execution of the critical survey has been disappointing” – that more than 400 surveys had been submitted as of last week.
• Approved a time change for the fourth Tuesday agenda meeting to begin at 8:30 a.m. starting with the May meeting.
• Heard from Glenda Smith, a retired educator from Farmington, in the public comments portion of the meeting regarding mental health issues.