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Divided planning board splits 4-2 in favor of proposed subdivision with up to 200 single-family homes


UPDATE:  Read update with city council approval of new subdivision on 3-2 vote during meeting on January 12, 2021:

Graham’s planning board gave its blessing to a proposed new subdivision along Lacy Holt Road at its meeting Tuesday night.  The city council will take up the proposal at its January 12, 2021 meeting.

The plans call for a 200-home subdivision on 57 acres between Lacy Holt Road and Rockwood Drive in southern Graham. The developer described plans for the single-family homes as being 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.

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The developer for the project LeoTerra Development of Kernersville, estimates that homes will have 2,400 to 2,800 square feet on lots that will range between 6,000 to 10,000 square feet. A builder’s representative estimated the market value of the homes would be $300,000.

The development, Colonial Heights, is the second largest to be considered this year in Graham.  Already, in 2020, there have been more than 1,000 single family homes and townhouses approved by the city council, more than the previous five years combined.

The Colonial Heights subdivision will come before the city council for a public hearing on January 12.

Two planning board members, chairman Dean Ward and Michael Benesch, appeared to have concerns about the density of the project, which was approved on a 4-2 vote.

Much of the discussion focused on the concerns expressed by several residents about the density of the project, the congestion and traffic problems that they believe will result.

“Seems like a lot of homes, a lot of traffic,” said Kristy Lynch.

Another resident, Lindsey McKinney, expressed concerns about the density, which she compared to a “cattle car or sardine can,” and worried about the impact on home values in the area.

“It will change the fabric of this quaint town negatively for generations to come,” Mary Taylor implored.  She urged “thoughtful, slow growth.”

Taylor also wanted the newest proposal considered in the context of other projects already approved for the southern part of Graham.  “We’ve already had so much growth in the southern zone,” she said.

Planning board member Mike Benesch wondered aloud whether the developer might consider a less dense project.  He and various residents had raised the issue of whether the 18 acres of open space included within the plan could, instead, be spread out to allow larger lot sizes.

Kye Bunker with LeoTerra said the company had already accommodated a lower density by leaving a lot of the acreage as open space.

The developer did agree to a request by several neighbors not to allow a connecting road to Wendy Drive and to put up a barrier to another stub out that runs into a field.

The planning board’s motion for approval was approved 4-2, with Justin Moody, Eric Crissman, Tony Bailey, and Bobby Chin voting for; Ward and Benesch voted against.

The same outcome, with the same distribution of votes, occurred on a related motion related to the approval of a subdivision.


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