Board members voted unanimously to have preliminary documents reviewed as part of an annexation and rezoning request from Wynnefield Properties Inc., a developer in Jamestown. The firm is seeking to construct 56 housing units on Edgewood Drive near Walmart.
“It would be a class-A property for this community,” the firm’s Craig Stone said Thursday.
Plans for the project call for the development to occupy two adjoining lots at 1476 and 1510 Edgewood Drive.
Along with asking the city to annex the site, which would provide it with municipal water and sewer services, Wynnefield Properties is seeking a change in zoning from its present R-20 Residential classification. A conditional-use R-6 zoning is sought to allow the multi-family housing on the property, which is contiguous to the present city limits.
“We are excited about this project,” Carolyn Hegler of the city Planning Department told the commissioners Thursday. But while saying it is on a “strict deadline,” neither Hegler nor the developer announced a timetable for construction.
“I don’t think they even have a date,” Hegler said.
But Stone did say that the 56 units envisioned are not set in stone — they could be downscaled from that level depending on factors including funding. City documents show that plans for the project involve the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which typically assists low- and moderate-income individuals.
“We’ve got a lot of bells and whistles we have to do with the financing,” Stone told city officials. “We hope we are successful with our process.”
In another matter at the meeting, the commissioners voted to set a public hearing for their April 21 meeting regarding the use of CDBG funds. However, the Edgewood Drive development was not mentioned by name, with the resolution the board OK’d stating that the funds are for “various projects.”
“This is basically an umbrella public hearing,” City Manager Barbara Jones explained.
Stone added in a follow-up interview Thursday that the developers seek to make the housing complex an attractive addition to Mount Airy through the providing of landscaping, walking trails and space for garden plots for residents.
The development would contain seven buildings in all, including a clubhouse.
Traffic volume in the area of Edgewood Drive and other routes joining U.S. 601 has been a concern, mirroring huge commercial growth there over the past two decades.
Although the Mount Airy Planning Board did recommend city approval of both the annexation and rezoning during a Feb. 23 meeting, traffic increases prompted by the proposed complex were a concern among neighboring citizens in attendance.
In June 2009, a resident of Forrest Drive in the same general vicinity told the commissioners that he was concerned about the rapid growth in the area. He asked officials to “draw the line” on commercial development along streets connecting to U.S. 601.
Those remarks came during a public hearing on a zoning request to accommodate a Surry Telephone Membership Corp. facility on another portion of Edgewood Drive.
“We are a unique community,” said the concerned citizen, Phillip Mappa, who lives in the Highland Park section just off U.S. 601. “We are completely surrounded by businesses and industries — completely.”
Since then, a Holiday Inn Express has opened in the area as well.
Stone said Thursday that Wynnefield Properties has sought to alleviate traffic concerns by adjusting the configuration for the housing complex.
“We’ve tried to help deal with that by moving our secondary entrance to Walmart,” he explained of an area to the rear of the store that would divert some of the traffic.
On Thursday, the commissioners voted to have the city clerk investigate the annexation petition from Wynnefield Properties. That opens the door for the board to call for required public hearings on both the rezoning and annexation, which is scheduled to be considered at its April 21 meeting.
The schedule calls for both hearings to be conducted on May 5.
More Hearings Set
In other business Thursday, the city commissioners agreed to set public hearings, also on April 21, on two additional rezoning requests.
One involves a site on North Andy Griffith Parkway targeted for a recreational vehicle park. Alma Venable, the owner of Mayberry Motor Inn, has petitioned the city to rezone a 1.47-acre portion of her land there from R-6 (General Residential) to B-4 (Highway Business).
Venable is seeking to use her combined commercial property to develop the RV park adjoining the motel.
Her nephew, Mike Marsh, addressed city officials Thursday and pointed out that RV spaces and hookups have been sought by past visitors to the motel, who couldn’t be accommodated. “And that’s money going out of the city,” Marsh said.
“She’s all for Mayberry and increasing the looks of the motel,” Venable’s nephew told city officials. In addition to providing the RV facility with a Mayberry flavor, plans call for such amenities as tree buffers and a bathhouse.
“She wants to make it nice and neat,” Marsh added.
Mayor Deborah Cochran commented Tuesday that the RV park would fit in with the overall character of the U.S. 52-North (Andy Griffith Parkway) corridor that is dominated by businesses.
The other public hearing approved for April 21 relates to a rezoning request for property at 1656 Park Drive, where owner Bobby Koehler seeks to relocate his wholesale car sales company and vehicle-recovery service from Pilot Mountain.
The site’s present zoning is restricted to residential uses and Koehler is requesting a change to a conditional-use B-3 (Neighborhood Business) classification. The conditions include the construction of a stick-built (non-metal) primary structure for the business and a 15-foot buffer for adjoining properties.
Contact Tom Joyce at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1924.