The town of Elon is on track to get 205 new single-family homes following the unanimous approval of a preliminary site plan by the board of aldermen on Monday.
The development is set to be located on an 81-acre tract at the intersection of Manning Avenue and Gibsonville-Ossipee Road.
The site plan approval follows the annexation and rezoning of the property, which were approved by the board last June. The site plan was also given the all-clear by the town’s planning board during its meeting at the end of last month.
In June, the tentative plan for the site was 230 homes, with minimum lot sizes of 6,000 square feet and a minimum of 1,800 square feet for the homes, according to project attorney Ryan Moffitt. The attorney also told the board that the homes would be between $250,000 and $300,000, with some going for more.
This week, however, project engineer Beth Blackman, of the Timmons Group, told the board that it was too early to provide price points for the homes, which she said will have an average of between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet. Lot sizes are now set to start at 7,100 square feet and average 8,583 feet.
During a public hearing held for the preliminary site plan, the board heard from a handful of residents via Zoom, all of whom gave criticisms of the incoming development.
“[New subdivision] is like dropping a major town in the middle of the country.”
– Gibsonville-Ossipee Road resident Don Henley
Don Henley, who lives on Gibsonville-Ossipee Road, told the aldermen that putting the development in the relatively rural neighborhood was “like dropping a major town in the middle of the country.” Henley also described the incoming project as a future “traffic disaster.” As of this week, the development will have two entrances, one onto Gibsonville-Ossipee Road and the other onto Manning Avenue; right turn lanes are planned for both.
For her part, Manning Avenue resident Willie Johnson told the board that she was anticipating the bike path that the developer has planned for the northern part of the development, which will be left as open space due to its designation as a flood plain and a nearby creek.
However, she said, the setbacks of the future homes from the road could cause homeowners with too short of driveways to either park on the street or block the sidewalk, posing a potential safety risk for pedestrians meandering around the vehicles.
Daniel Moore, another Gibsonville-Ossipee Road resident, said that he and his wife were most concerned over the chance of increased flooding, an issue that the resident said has been worsened by runoff from a holding pond on the development property near their home.
Blackman said that the developer intends to fill the pond and direct stormwater drainage away from Moore and his neighbors to one of the development’s future stormwater management systems.
Following some hesitation by the board, alderman Davis Montgomery motioned that the preliminary site plan be approved, saying that the developer must address the issues posed by the residents. Mark Greene seconded Montgomery’s motion, and the site plan was unanimously approved.
Board reaches consensus to hold one meeting a month, starting this week
This week’s meeting will be the board’s only one for the month of January, with the aldermen reaching a consensus that, due to the pandemic-related precautions, one meeting a month satisfies the town’s needs. If needed, town manager Richard Roedner explained, the board could schedule an additional meeting.
Until this month, the board has held two meetings each month. The first, an agenda-setting session held on the first Monday, has been characterized by presentations and discussion on items that the board would vote on later during its regular session on the second Tuesday.
As this week’s meeting drew to a close, alderman Monti Allison asked the town manager if deciding on the spot to have the January 4 meeting be the town’s only gathering for the month was legal. Roedner said that under the circumstances of the pandemic, which had prompted the cancellation of a second meeting, he considered it to be allowed.