Sometimes, smaller is better. That seems to be the underlying message in the recent approval of plans for the 105-acre Sutters Mill Development in Troutman.The project will be only the second approved under the town’s new conservation cluster zoning. Residents and town officials alike agree the new zoning, which permits developers to build smaller homes but also requires them to provide more open space, is a better reflection of today’s housing needs.New housing development in Troutman has, by and large, tracked the local and regional economy. Just before the recession hit in 2007, the town was awash in housing proposals featuring large homes and moderate to high prices. The town even built up its water and sewer infrastructure in anticipation of serving hundreds of new homes. Then the housing market collapsed and most of the proposed developments stalled.Over the past two years, as the economy began to regain strength, attention was refocused on the various stalled housing proposals, only with a twist. “Last fall the town began to get inquires about allowing smaller lot sizes due to apparent market trends,” said Planning Director Erika Martin. “The Town Board directed me to come up with some possibilities for their consideration. So, I proposed a new zoning district called Conservation Cluster. I got the idea from reviewing the Town’s goals. Many spoke to the idea of preserving the natural environment.” As a result, the newly adopted Conservation Clusters Zoning allow homes to be located in closer proximity than previous residential zoning. However, it also requires at least 40 percent of the development to be retained as open space. When completed, the Sutter’s Mill development, which will be located at the intersection of Westmoreland Road and Houston Road will have a total of 255 homes, with an anticipated median price of $220,000. The homes will be located on lots of either 51 feet or 61 feet wide, with 5-foot side setbacks and 20-foot rear setbacks. The community’s density will be 2.42 units per acre. Another 43.3 acres of the community will be set aside for passive open space and another 5.3 acres will be devoted to walking trails, gardens and a community playground.Martin said that the Sutter’s Mill developers, Carolina Development Services LLC of Monroe, have also agreed to put equestrian type fencing along Westmoreland Road to help preserve the rural feel of the area. “They really have done an excellent job working with neighboring land owners to bring about a project that will blend in with the area.”
Friday, Jul. 12, 2013
Troutman zoning reflects public opinion and economy
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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