April 4, 2023 at 9:10 a.m.

Compromise Ahead?

...when both sides accept something they don't want to get something they do
Compromise Ahead?
Compromise Ahead?

Wayne Howard- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Most of Monday night's (April 3rd) Lincoln County Commissioners meeting was taken up with rezoning requests. Among them was a request from Villages of Denver, LLC, that had been heard at the January Commissioners meeting and which has been in the works for over two years.

The request to rezone a 126-acre tract at one end of the existing Villages of Denver would permit the construction of a new subdivision of 267 homes.

Villages of Denver began as a proposed 710 home development, but that was shaved to 685 when it was approved in 2004. While this new proposal would permit 267 homes, under the approval granted nearly twenty years ago, the developer could go ahead and build 162 homes, adding to the Villages of Denver subdivision. One of the things required as a condition of that 2004 approval is a third access to the development via Hagers Hollow Drive, and that will happen whether Commissioners decide to allow the new plan or reject it. Their decision is expected at their April 17th meeting.

During the public hearing Monday night, the attorney for the developer showed results of a survey which he said showed that 89% of the residents of Villages of Denver favor the new plan. Several of them spoke in favor of the rezoning at the hearing.

Those who spoke against the rezoning were concerned about the additional traffic the proposal would no doubt add already overburdened NC16-business.

Commissioner Cathy Davis raised the question, "how many of these Villages of Denver residents really want all those additional homes?" It was obvious from the comments they made during the hearing that what most wanted was for the NC Dept. of Transportation to take over the roads in Villages of Denver.

The developer's proposal involves creating a new subdivision, the Meadows, with its own amenities. The developer promises if that is allowed, they'll help upgrade the roads in the existing Villages of Denver to meet state specifications. That would allow--but not guarantee--the state to take over maintenance of the roads.

As it exists now, the roads in Villages of Denver are considered privately owned. Because they are not state maintained roads, school buses don't make trips down those roads so some children are having to walk up to a mile to get to a bus stop. Since they are not state roads, law enforcement can't enforce traffic laws on those roads. While there were a couple of the speakers who said they wanted the new development with its own amenities because those of the existing community are already overburdened and the construction of more homes without the new subdivision will make that even worse, most expressed the desire for NCDOT to take over the roads as their main reason for favoring the request.

Rob Brown, attorney for the applicant, noted that the current developer inherited the situation. The original developer went bankrupt and the current one didn't take over until after 2011.

Greg Smith, president of the East Lincoln Betterment Association, was among those who spoke against the proposal. Smith said poor planning by previous boards of commissioners had led to this situation.

Two other rezoning requests that were heard by Commissioners and the County Planning Board were much less controversial.

Lake Norman Music School wants to build on a lot adjacent to the Shanklin Library on Fairfield Forest Road. They want to be able to increase their number of students and classes. Nobody spoke against their requests.

Steve Gillespie sought a rezoning of a five-and-a-half acre tract on Business 16 to allow larger buildings for an animal hospital and an optometrist's office.



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