A new $6 million apartment complex is in the works for Mount Airy due to action by the city board of commissioners Thursday afternoon.
The board unanimously approved a rezoning request for a 5.4-acre site at 191 West Virginia St. in the Toast community. This paves the way for a 56-unit facility that will be open to people who are 55 and over with low-to-moderate incomes.
Construction could begin in early 2014 if things go according to plan from this point forward, according to Charlie Heritage, a project developer for a Greensboro firm that has an option to buy the land targeted for the local apartments.
One factor involves the seeking of tax credits from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, which are basically a form of financing to aid the construction.
“They will not be able to award it until August,” Heritage said of the potential tax-credit package. Assuming it is granted, Weaver-Kirkland Development, the Greensboro firm, hopes to close on the property by the end of the year.
Thursday’s action by Mount Airy officials was required before the project could move forward. Weaver-Kirkland successfully sought the rezoning change for the West Virginia Street tract from a dual designation of R-20 (residential) and B-4 (Highway Business) to R-6 (General Residential).
The land is now a mostly wooded area containing one single-family house that is unoccupied.
Board members acknowledged Thursday that the apartment project’s location just off N.C. 89 near WilcoHess at Beasley Street conforms to the long-range Vision Mount Airy Plan adopted to guide local growth.
It constitutes a “transitional use,” or buffer, between the now-predominantly single-family neighborhood surrounding West Virginia Street and the nearby business corridor along N.C. 89.
Steve Johnson of Advance in Davie County, who is an official of a construction company that has built similar housing for Weaver-Kirkland around the state, told Mount Airy leaders Thursday that they won’t regret their decision.
“We always leave the community better for having been there than worse,” he said.
Plans call for the apartment complex to have 29 one-bedroom and 27 two-bedroom units, and on-site amenities including a computer room, gazebo, picnic shelter with tables, library and community center.
Other Rezoning Actions
Also Thursday afternoon, the city commissioners gave unanimous approval to two other rezoning requests.
This included a half-acre site at 1592 W. Pine St. (N.C. 89) near Horizon Equipment being rezoned from a residential designation to B-4 (Highway Business). It will accommodate the building of a shop for cleaning, servicing, parking and displaying Horizon’s equipment.
In addition, officials OK’d the annexation and rezoning of another half-acre parcel in the 100-block of Avondale Road at Greenhill Road, near U.S. 52, from a residential designation to B-4 (Highway Business) to allow a yet-unnamed commercial development.
The commissioners agreed that those two requests also mirrored the recommendations of the Vision Mount Airy plan for commercial development at their respective sites.
Aerial Truck Agreements
In other action, proposed agreements involving the use of the Mount Airy Fire Department’s ladder truck in outlying communities were approved unanimously.
The Four-Way and White Plains volunteer fire departments had sought the agreements to strengthen the departments’ abilities to fight fires in their respective coverage communities, especially those striking elementary schools located in each.
Aerial fire trucks have large ladders attached that can be extended, to 100 feet in Mount Airy’s case. This makes them helpful in battling blazes at taller or spread-out structures such as schools.
Under the agreements approved Thursday, Mount Airy’s vehicle will be made available to areas serviced by the two volunteer departments on an as-needed basis, including other locations besides the schools.
However, this will be done only if it does not interfere with the Mount Airy Fire Department’s coverage of its own territory.
Should the city ladder truck be needed for an outside emergency, an official of the volunteer department involved will request this through the Surry County Central Communications Center. At that point, the Mount Airy fire chief, or other designated person, will determine whether the truck can be made available.
A similar arrangement for the aerial truck was forged earlier this year with the Franklin Volunteer Fire Department.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.