ASHEBORO — Concerns about increased traffic in the Guy B. Teachey School area led the Asheboro Planning Board to continue until October a request for a proposed residential development being called Hillcrest Farm Subdivision.
The request, filed by Ridge Road Partners of Monroe, was for rezoning 94 acres to build up to 346 dwellings — 282 being detached single-family homes plus 64 townhomes with building clusters of 5-7 attached homes.
Assistant planning director John Evans presented the proposal to the planning board at its Sept. 5 meeting.
According to the plan, there would be one entrance on Newbern Avenue near Teachey Elementary School and another entrance would be built farther south to Zoo Parkway. There would be common areas including a pickleball court, a dog lot and possibly a community garden.
Annexation into the city would be required prior to extension of water and sewer lines.
Currently a wooded area, the proposed development would offer areas for tree preservation, vegetative buffers, sidewalks and trails.
Evans said the density of the development would be 4.4 dwellings per acre with lot sizes between 3,000 and 4,000 square feet. The minimum size of a townhome unit would be 1,150 square feet.
Evans said the city staff was awaiting clarifications on stormwater management, visitor parking and other technical details. The staff had recommended 26 conditions for the development, from A-Z.
John Ross of Ridge Road Partners said a meeting had been held to allow input from the neighbors. He said a major concern was increased traffic, especially during the school’s rush periods. He said the NC Department of Transportation will be doing a traffic analysis.
Ross also said:
— 30 acres of woodland would allow open space for wildlife.
— Pesticides and herbicides would not be used in developing the project.
— There would be buffering for surrounding neighbors.
— Connectivity would be provided for emergency response.
Ross said his company expected the project to have a 10-year build-out and two years before the first resident moves in. He added that his firm would accept the conditions of the city staff.
Planning Board chair Michael O’Kelley asked if the Asheboro City Schools were prepared for the possibility of 400-500 more students.
Aaron Woody, superintendent of the school system, said that was something they were considering. He said the traffic pattern is a concern and that “we could need serious discussions about enrollments. Are the schools ready? Not now. We could deal with 100 or 200, but not 500 (new students).”
O’Kelley asked Ross if there was any way to back off on the density of the project. Ross said it would depend on the traffic study.
Planning Board member Pamela Vuncannon asked what would be the impact of city services, if the property were to be annexed. Planning director Trevor Nuttall said the question has been in the works and this quadrant is considered the center of new growth. “We are responding in anticipation,” he said.
When O’Kelley opened the floor to those opposing the development, Bruce Simmons handed out a nine-page response to the project. He said, “I can’t get in and out of my driveway (on Newbern Avenue) as it is (during peak school pickup).”
Simmons also asked what would be the cost to the city to provide more services to the new residential development. He said the project, compared to the surrounding neighborhood, is double the number of residences, and thereby, double the people.
Gary Jarrett, who lives adjacent to the property, said he has no problem with the development but is concerned with the increased traffic in an area that is already congested. He recommended that the traffic study be done during the peak school hours of dropoff and pickup.
Margie Trogdon was also concerned about traffic, with 400-800 more vehicles added to the neighborhood.
Vuncannon said, “We have to follow the DOT’s recommendation. They’re the experts and will tell us if they don’t think it will work. I would like to see more information on the traffic with the school being there.”
Planning Board member Vann Rich entered a motion to continue the issue until the October meeting with the hope that the traffic study will be completed. The board approved the motion to continue the request at the board’s October meeting.
Reinstating child care facility gets approval
In another rezoning request, the Planning Board voted to recommend approval for rezoning to reinstate a former child care center at 624 Brewer St. and 621 Frank St.
The request was made by Ashley Hedrick, with plans to use the facility to serve up to 80 children on the 3.3 acres. The site was first permitted as a child care center in 1982 but has been unused for several years.
Hedrick said a recent report called Asheboro a “child care desert.” Her hope is to reopen the center and provide low-cost child care with a focus on character, team building and making good decisions. She said she hopes to open the center in January 2024.
There were concerns expressed by a Ms. Patterson of the nearby Eastside Homes about parking. Hedrick said the child care center would only use its limited number of parking spaces.
Margie Trogdon said Asheboro wasn’t a child care desert, that there are centers not being used because of a lack of staff. “Child care is a tough business,” she said.
Regardless, the Planning Board voted unanimously to recommend approval to the Asheboro City Council.