Proposals by two developers to build houses on small plots in Troutman ran into a stumbling block last month, when the Town Board failed to act on changes in local zoning laws needed before the projects can proceed.
The changes, called text amendments, address specific types of projects known as planned unit developments and conservation clusters, and action on both died due the lack of a second from the five aldermen after a public hearing.
The proposed homes were to be built in the Falls Cove and Oak Creek developments. “Without the text amendments, the new Falls Cove and Oak Creek proposals are dead in the water,” said Town Planning Director Erika Martin.
However, there may still be hope for the projects. According to Martin, a number of residents are in favor of the changes under consideration and are anxious to get the town board to OK the measure.
A letter signed by 34 Falls Creek residents representing 19 homes had been sent to the Town Board prior to the Dec. 13 public hearing, expressing support for the changes under consideration.
“The proposed language for conservation cluster developments would give residents a voice in future development,” said Falls Creek resident Janith Huffman, who signed the letter. “I think a voice is what residents in any development would want. The proposed language would allow town alderman to add special conditions for individual developments.”
However, at the hearing, other Falls Creek residents expressed concern over the measure. “If these changes are approved, the people who currently live in Falls Creek will never be able to sell their homes,” said Jack Rosette. “It will also have an adverse impact on our quality of life.”
A neighborhood meeting with the Falls Cove developers, Crescent Resources, is scheduled for Jan. 8 at Town Hall.
Unlike Phase One at Falls Cove, which featured luxury homes on lots of a half-acre or more, Crescent wants to feature homes starting at $250,000 on lots as small as 50 feet in width. Crescent will also increase the amount of open space from previous plans, devoting 40 percent for open space, 35 percent for natural preserves and 5 percent for pocket parks.
Oak Creek developers Steve Merkel and Bob Burkett want to build smaller homes. Some would be patio homes, targeted to owners 55 and over, while the remainder would be single-family homes ranging in size from 1,900 to 3,300 square feet with a starting price of about $225,000. The single-family homes would be on lots of approximately 68 feet by 135 feet.
Some members of the town board have expressed concern over the size of the smaller proposed lots in the two developments, and without a change in town zoning laws, the projects cannot be built.
Dave Vieser is a freelance writer for Lake Norman News. Have a story idea for Dave? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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