Plans to construct a 56-unit apartment complex in Mount Airy are back on the drawing board after funding issues derailed the project last year.
Among the agenda items for a meeting of the city board of commissioners set for 2 p.m. today is one regarding a proposed application for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to provide infrastructure improvements for the proposed Edgewood Place apartments.
They are planned at 1476 and 1510 Edgewood Drive in the Walmart area by a Jamestown firm, Wynnefield Properties. Plans unveiled earlier for Edgewood Place call for the complex to contain seven buildings, counting a clubhouse. Other listed amenities included a fitness center, walking trails and space for residents to raise gardens.
Construction on the $7.4 million project was expected to get under way early this year, but a failure by the developer to qualify for $590,264 in tax credits from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency put those plans on hold.
The credits, basically a form of financing, could have helped fund the work as well as allowed lower rent charges than would have been available otherwise.
Apartment buildings planned by Wynnefield Properties in other areas were approved for credits, but the project in Mount Airy did not get funded.
A Wynnefield official said last July when the denial of tax credits became public that the firm would seek them again this year through the state program. He said it also planned to pursue an extension on an option to buy the affected property on Edgewood Drive.
The CDBG funds are available for infrastructure projects that benefit low- and moderate-income residents. “Those funds would probably be used for something as straightforward as building the main drive from the street to the apartment buildings,” Martin Collins, the city’s community-development coordinator, explained Wednesday.
Officials have said the housing complex is geared toward working families needing two- and three-bedroom units, which there is a major shortage of in Mount Airy.
“We haven’t had anything like that in Mount Airy in a long time,” Collins said. “The last new apartments of any consequence were the Globe Tobacco Lofts, and that’s been a few years.”
Today, the city commissioners will consider whether to set a public hearing for their next meeting — March 15 at 7 p.m — in order to receive citizen input regarding the potential use of CDBG funds.
Collins described the process now under way as laying a foundation so that if the apartment project is approved for tax credits, the city will be poised to submit the application for CDBG funding.
Also today, Mount Airy officials could act on a proposed amendment to the city zoning ordinance regarding business signs at the Interstate 74/U.S. 601 interchange, which is tied to plans for a new Sheetz store at that location.
Under present regulations, on-premise identification signs displaying trade name logos are limited to a single pole of 90 feet in height.
The amendment would permit taller signs, to allow them to be seen from vehicles on I-74. Businesses such as Sheetz would have to apply for a conditional-use permit to deviate from the existing regulations. So far, larger signs are targeted only for the I-74.U.S. 601 interchange, but that could expand based on discussion at the city commissioners’ last meeting on Feb. 16.
Special sight problems exist at that site due to the topography of the land, a city planner has said.
During a public hearing held at that meeting, speakers were overwhelmingly in favor of relaxing the sign rules, including chamber of commerce and economic-development officials. Speakers said the change not only would benefit Sheetz and other businesses that might locate on U.S. 601 at I-74, but help draw more customers into Mount Airy as a whole.
In other matters at today’s meeting in the Municipal Building, the city commissioners will discuss and possibly act on appointments to Mount Airy’s Housing Authority, Cemetery Board of Trustees and Parks and Recreation Commission.
Also, the board is to consider the advertising of unpaid taxes.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.