454 Homes on 115 acres in Hickory Flat?

High-density proposal goes to council with approval nod

Aerial view of suburban neighborhood urban sprawl in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Aerial view of suburban neighborhood urban sprawl in Las Vegas, Nevada.

via Cherokee Ledger News – Posted: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 12:00 am

A development set to bring more than 400 homes to Hickory Flat received a recommendation for approval by the Holly Springs Planning and Zoning Commission last week but nearby residents are not giving up the fight.

Although Holly Springs Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Mike Herman joined the other planners in voting in favor of annexing some 86 acres on Stringer Road and Highway 140 into the city, he voted against rezoning a combined 110 acres from Agricultural in the county to Planned Development Residential because he said 454 homes with a density of about 4.2 units per acre was too much for the area.

The application and commission’s recommendation will now go to the Holly Springs City Council for consideration at its March 7 meeting.

Resident Ted Campbell said he did not understand how the area could absorb 454 more homes when about 900 homes have already been approved for the immediate area.

“I am opposed to it,” he said, “especially at the density they are proposing. It will completely change the overall quality of life.”

Mark Snyder shared similar sentiments, adding that he has started a petition to stop the project and received more than 300 signatures in just nine days.

“This area cannot handle this type of growth,” he said. “We aren’t against development; we are against the high density developments.”

FR-Peachtree LLC is seeking to build an active-living community with green space, park areas and amenities on the combined 110 acres owned by the Stringer family.

Attorney Parks Huff, who is representing the applicant, said the cohesive neighborhood has different types of products, including alley-fed homes, courtyard-style homes and front-loaded products. He likened the proposed age-targeted neighborhood to Soleil in North Canton.

“When you have multiple products, you have the ability to sell to a large group of folks and it helps the community sell out,” he said. “The entire community is maintained. It is a very high-end product and is something that is very attractive to people who are empty nesters. They come home and everything is taken care of.”

The annexation notice went before the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners earlier this month, and, while the board did not formally object to the annexation under the land dispute resolution process, commissioners said they would like to see the project reduced to a density of 3.5 units per acre.

Huff said there are several factors that tie into the density of 4.2 units per acre, including that the development will sit along a state route.

“Your staff did a good job of analyzing the property in relation to your comprehensive plan and noting that your intensity is anticipated at your state routes,” he said. “That’s why this might have a higher density than some of the other products on Hickory Road. That is driven by the land use plan and putting it in proximity to a state route.”

Smaller lots are also intentional, Huff said.

“You have a streetscape and it allows for the common maintenance. If everyone had a larger lot, you couldn’t have the common maintenance. Plus, people are not looking for that type of product,” he said.

Community Development Director Nancy Moon said the hot-topic right now is additional traffic generated from the new homes planned for the area.

According to the county’s engineering department, the development would create an increased burden on Highway 140, resulting in the need for intersection and traffic signal improvements. A traffic study will be performed for the project and the city has stated that it would be willing to participate in the project up to $850,000, depending on what the traffic study warrants.

Holly Springs planning staff additionally is recommending road improvements to Stringer Road, including the installation of a deceleration lane and a left turn lane. In addition, curb, gutter and sidewalks will be constructed along Stringer Road in accordance with the Holly Spring zoning ordinance and development regulations.

According to Huff, a study has been performed to determine if there is a demand in the area for these additional 454 homes. He said this development will bring a product to the area that people want to buy.

In addition to the road improvements, the county also would like the developer to apply a 35-foot buffer to adjacent Agricultural properties and carve out a 2-acre parcel to remain in the county.

The 2-acre tract of land intended to remain in unincorporated Cherokee County, east of Stringer Road and south of the annexation site, would be platted and recorded as a separate parcel that conforms to the minimum size standards for the county AG zoning district prior to application for any site plan review or land disturbance permits, planning documents state.

Even though the neighborhood is age-targeted, Moon said the product will not be deed restricted; therefore, the Cherokee County School District provided an impact to the school system.

She said if the product were to be developed as a traditional neighborhood, it would result in an addition of about 334 students, requiring 15 additional classrooms. The cost is about $1,004 per lot and the city will still request this fee before building permits are issued.

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