Graham’s city council agreed to a new single-family home subdivision with about 200 houses in the fast-growing southern part of the city last week. The development would be situated between Lacy Holt Road and Rockwood Drive on about 57 acres.
The council did modify the proposal to eliminate a connection to Wendy Drive, leaving the subdivision as “its own development,” in the words of mayor Jerry Peterman. Normally, the city favors “connectivity” between and among new and older subdivisions, but neighbors along Wendy Drive pleaded not to make their quiet street a future thoroughfare for the new subdivision.
Ariana Lawrence was one such resident: “When we bought our house in 2013, a selling point for us was that it was in a cul de sac. And now it is a sense of security for us as parents of a child with special needs. I ask that you please reconsider making Wendy Drive an access point into this new development.”
Leslie Melton suggested that “all those houses at the back” of the new development would “want to take a shortcut through Wendy Drive.”
Mark McKinney noted that over 100 signatures had been gathered on a petition opposing the proposed connection to Wendy Drive.
Others focused on the density of the new subdivision, and especially that it was more dense than nearby and adjacent subdivisions. Chip King, who lives nearby, said the “density of housing in this area is overwhelming,” a sentiment shared by some other residents who spoke against the rezoning. Keith Wilson said, “There’s a whole lot of density going on in this little area.”
Council member Jennifer Talley wanted to consider larger lots for the development, which could be as small as 6,000 square feet, under the proposal considered by the council. Talley said that the proposed rezoning, allowing for smaller lot sizes compared to adjacent and nearby neighborhoods “was not consistent with what’s around that neighborhood,” which have larger lots.
But mayor Jerry Peterman suggested that closing the Wendy Drive access point could “make a neighborhood all by itself,” rather than connecting through the adjacent, existing neighborhood.
Talley and councilman Ricky Hall voted against the final proposal. Peterman, Chip Turner, and Melody Wiggins voted to approve the subdivision, 3-2.
The developer previously described to the planning board that the single-family homes would be about 2,400 to 2,800 square feet on lots ranging from 6,000 to 10,000 square feet; the price point was estimated to be $300,000.
Townhouse development draws greater agreement
A separate agenda item for rezoning another area in southern Graham, off Cheeks Lane, well-received by all council members.
The 15.44 acres off Cheeks Lane in the southern part of Graham was first approved for townhouses in 2005, as a part of a larger subdivision with single-family homes, which was to be called Stillhouse Farm. But nothing was ever built.
In 2015, the townhouse portion of the property got city council approval for special rezoning that would have substituted 80 patio homes for low-income seniors in place of the 112 townhouses that were part of the original (2005) plans. That revised plan was approved 4-1.
The newest plan before the city council last week returned to townhouses, now numbering about 105, according to the plans shown to planning board members last month and to the city council last week. The plans list the potential number of townhouses as 90 to 110, but the number of townhouses in each of 17 separate buildings shown on the newest drawings tallies to 105.
Glenn Patterson, whose family owns the land where both parts of the subdivision are located, told the newspaper in an interview after the planning board meeting that the 2015 plans fell through when the developer couldn’t get special funding for the townhouses which were to be targeted toward low-income senior residents.
Patterson, a local appraiser who also lives in the area near the Stillhouse Farm subdivision, also confirmed to the newspaper last month that in addition to a potential buyer for the townhouse property, he believes he is nearing a sale on the roughly 49 acres adjacent to the townhouse property where about 129 single-family homes could be built.
This layout shows Stillhouse Farm single-family housing subdivision with 129 lots to the north of townhouse project now under consideration off of Cheeks Lane. It would have 90 to 110 townhouses, with 105 currently shown. There are 17 clusters, with six to eight townhouses in each.
The 2005 conditional rezoning for the main part of the subdivision appears to be R-12, based on recent drawings submitted to the city, and apparently would not need to be changed or renewed since the plans are largely unchanged from when the initial zoning for the single-family portion of the development was approved.
One reason Patterson thinks there has been interest in both properties was the department of transportation’s removal of a so-called “southern loop,” a bypass of sorts, which had been slated to run through areas south of Graham’s center. In fact, the loop would have separated the single-family homes from the townhouses in this particular area between Cheeks Lane and Old Farm Road.
Now that acreage where the loop once bisected the subdivision has been converted into “open space” between the two parts of the development.
The council vote to approve the rezoning for the new townhouse configuration was unanimous, 5-0.
See other Graham news from this week’s edition:
Planning board recommends rezoning for 1,056 new apartments near busy road, highway exit (Jan. 21, 2021 edition): https://alamancenews.com/planning-board-recommends-ok-for-1056-new-apartments-traffic-water-sewer-concerns-passed-on-to-city-council/
Planning board recommends commercial rezoning near interstate (Jan. 21, 2021 edition): https://alamancenews.com/graham-might-get-national-restaurant/
Graham’s city manager leaving for Montgomery County (Jan. 21, 2021): https://alamancenews.com/graham-city-manager-leaving-to-become-county-manager-in-montgomery-county/