Bermuda Run OKs controversial Hall-Walker Development

Published 11:33 am Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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By Jim Buice

Enterprise Record

BERMUDA RUN – Despite a steady stream of objections from an overflow crowd during a public hearing in town hall last week, the town council unanimously approved a 10/70 permit request with conditions and an annexation request for the Hall Walker Development.

The votes set into motion what Amanda Hodierne, the attorney for the developer, described prior to the public hearing as “a threshold entitlement and what that actually means. So the 10/70 permit request is where we are asking you as a town to allocate to us part of your acreage to allow us to increase up to 70 percent of build-upon area or impervious area in your watershed.

“What that means is this is a permissive request. Can we or can’t we set this landscape in the way that we’re asking tonight in order to proceed with the rest of the development sequence? So we’re here at the very beginning of the process. We need to know whether this is a yes or a no. We’re not asking for a rezoning or a land-use plan amendment. The density has been set. The use has been set.”

Like Mayor Mike Brannon said in the previous meeting: “Given the developer now owns the Hall Walker properties, it seems to me this is no longer if the developer builds, but what and how the developer builds.”

Those speaking in the public comments portion of the public hearing on the 10/70 request were overwhelmingly against the provision with one stating it was a “privilege, not a right,” and others stating various concerns, including “questioning the total acres and lack of information,” making the town “less charming,” the “impact on traffic, stormwater and home values” and “protecting the watershed,” among others.

Patricia Williams, who lives in Kinderton Village, was the last to speak, saying this wasn’t going to look like any Norman Rockwell community. “Density, clogged intersections, more traffic, does that sound familiar? We’ve been here before not so long ago. When I moved to Kinderton 12 years ago, it was beautiful and still is, but it’s changed a lot since then. It’s no longer quiet. Progress does not mean more. Less is better.”

Carl Carney, the president of Davie Construction who has a business in Kinderton Business Park, was the lone speaker in favor of the project, which has been a hot topic in the town since last summer.

“Sheetz, Chick-fil-A, all the people that are here, the DOT, all the road work has been put in place. They didn’t come here because they think it’s going to be flowers and cows over there,” Carney said. “I mean, this neighborhood is in the perfect spot across from Baptist Medical Center to build quality housing spread out over an area that will be an asset to our community.”

Details of the request from the applicants (Bermuda Run Investments, Laurie Ford and Atrium/Wake Forest Baptist Health, a late addition to the application to provide additional frontage for a new access point on NC 801) included petitioning the town for the approval of a 10/70 provision for 45.1 acres of project area for a multi-mixed use residential project.

The applicant was proposing 31.5 acres of impervious area within the project area. The total impervious areas of the site would be 52.5 percent. The three lots are not currently in the town limits, but the applicant submitted a voluntary annexation petition.

Conditions of approval included a maximum number of dwelling units limited to 505; a maximum number of apartment units to be limited to 280; sidewalks shall be included along all public streets; a soft (pervious) nature trail shall be constructed; and the maximum building height for multifamily and non-residential shall be limited to four stories.

Hodierne, who said the petitioner worked to align the project with the town’s Comprehensive Plan, discussed more buffering being added and that the access point had been changed from Yadkin Valley Road to NC 801 based on concerns regarding traffic flow. She also showed how the property, with 66.11 total acres, would look with the 10/70 allocation and without it.

Council member Melinda Szeliga asked if the 10/70 was not allocated, would the project be all multifamily instead of a combination of townhomes and apartments, and Hodierne said it would be all apartments but just a small percentage would be three bedrooms if it came to that.

Council member Jeff Tedder inquired about the timing of the project, and Hodierne responded that depending on the outcome, it will probably be developed in two to four phases.

Szeliga made the motion to proceed with the 10/70 allocation with conditions, and council member Christy Schafer seconded it with a vote of 5-0 in favor.

After that approval, the annexation request moved along much more quickly with only four speakers in the public hearing – all sharing concerns such as the impact on the town, schools, fire/police protection, medical care, street maintenance and other services, along with high density and the watershed also being ignored.

That followed with Schafer making the motion for approval of the annexation request with council member Mike Ernst seconding it with another 5-0 vote in favor.

In a staff document to the council regarding the petition for annexation, it was stated that the proposed development will likely add 1,016 new residents to a town that has an estimated population just in excess of 3,000.

The other business item on last Tuesday night’s agenda was another public hearing and 10/70 request for property located on Peachtree from Davie Construction and RED 32 LLC to lead off the meeting.

Brad Chapman, speaking on behalf of Davie Construction and RED 32, said the owners are proposing a drive-thru coffee shop, Caribou Coffee, with a request for roughly 0.45 acres (1,906 square feet) to allow for plan design of 10 parking spots along the southern edge of the property.

No one signed up for the public hearing, and the council unanimously moved to approve the requested 10/70 allocation.