Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Graham, NC 27253
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Graham council agrees to rezoning along Jimmie Kerr Road for future apartments – when/if infrastructure allows


Meanwhile, rezoning for another project beside the interstate is withdrawn altogether

Graham’s city council agreed Tuesday night to allow the rezoning of about 11 acres along Jimmie Kerr Road for a future apartment complex, with the repeated caveat that no project can actually be constructed until developers find a way to expand water and sewer service to the area.

Graham officials have repeatedly said that the city does not have adequate capacity in the area, suggesting that developers of future projects would need to finance some of the improvements, upgrades, or expansions of the city’s utility infrastructure in that area.

Meanwhile, another rezoning request for a large apartment complex adjacent to I-85/40 and the Haw River was withdrawn by the same developers who got another apartment complex approved in the town of Haw River Monday night.

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Webb’s 11-acre project is beside the Days Inn on Jimmie Kerr Road. At the back of the property, it adjoins the 52 acres of another proposed project that was withdrawn Tuesday night.

Truby Drive, off Jimmie Kerr Road, would be the entrance for a proposed apartment complex with 528 apartments. However, that project was withdrawn Tuesday night.  Another project beside the hotel to the north is also being proposed for multi-family zoning.

The vote to allow multi-family rezoning on the 11-acre tract of land to the north of the existing Days Inn Hotel along Jimmie Kerr Road was 3-2.

Mayor Jerry Peterman and councilman Chip Turner, both of whom had previously opposed the rezoning, changed their position Tuesday, agreeing with Melody Wiggins to allow Graham developer Travers Webb to get the requested multifamily rezoning sought for the property.

Talley raised concerns about safety of students who might live within the apartment complex and attempt to cross Jimmie Kerr Road to attend the new charter school across the street.  She also questioned the wisdom of allowing a residential development in the middle of industrial zoning.

But mayor Peterman noted that while the area is zoned for industrial development, “it’s not really surrounded by industry,” the mayor said inasmuch as all the properties are currently “vacant land.”

Council members Jennifer Talley and Ricky Hall voted against the rezoning.  Talley first tried a motion to deny the rezoning, which failed 2-3, with the same configuration.

Wiggins then moved to approve the requested rezoning.

Webb, who had previously represented himself before the council, had Lawson Brown, a Burlington attorney who also serves as Mebane’s city attorney, make his appeal to Graham’s council this week; Brown was assisted by Webb’s son, George Webb, IV, of Asheville. A medical procedure necessitated Travers Webb’s absence, Brown said.

In addition to the 11 acres that is within Graham, another 33 or so acres adjacent to Graham’s jurisdiction, also part of Webb’s proposed project, is within the town of Haw River’s zoning jurisdiction.

In fact, Webb’s proposed project is adjacent to the 61 acres that Haw River town councilmen agreed to rezone the night before for a large apartment complex as part of phase one development to be built by John and Jack Burton of Burlington.

Brown and Webb IV explained that the proposed multifamily project on Graham’s acreage plus the additional 33 acres within Haw River’s jurisdiction is projected to accommodate 350 apartments.

Brown said that Webb has a contract deadline with the owner of the land which has already been extended several times.

Brown described the Webb project as a “logical extension” of the new Haw River rezoning for apartments proposed by brothers John and Jack Burton from Monday night.

The original project for apartments beside the interstate on 61 acres, first unveiled in January, for as many as 528 apartments, was withdrawn by the Burtons. They had originally been aligned with Webb, but the Burtons and Webb appeared to have parted from their alliance several months ago, based on their respective comments at previous Graham city council meetings.

Last month, there was some suggestion from the Burton’s attorney, Amanda Hodierne, that a reconfiguration of the project may be considered with a mix of multifamily housing and commercial.

Instead, the rezoning was withdrawn this month altogether.  There was some suggestion that instead of a residential, commercial, or mixed-use development, a project for industrial development might be in the offing.

The 52 acres are already zoned for industrial use and thus would not require any rezoning.

In a brief interview with The Alamance News, John Burton said that the plans for the Graham site remain pretty up in the air: “I don’t know to be honest with you.” But he said that he and his brother withdrew the rezoning request to give Graham time to figure out how to extend water and sewer to that area.

“Until Graham figures out their sewer situation, we’ve got it on hold.”

Burton said that he has had talks with some industrial buyers, but that the site could still be residential if the utilities are provided by the city. It appears to come down to the best offer, but he conceded that residential development would offer he and Jack a better return.

“Right now it’s first-come, first-serve. If somebody makes us an offer, we’ll take it.”

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