Saturday, January 28, 2023

114 West Elm Street
Graham, NC 27253
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Haw River OKs annexation for large residential project

Haw River’s town council has approved annexation and rezoning for a nearly 200-acre residential development that Haw River officials say could be one of the largest residential projects in the town’s history.

Plans described to the town council indicate plans for 34 single-family homes, 136 townhouses, and 360 apartments, for total of 530 single-family and multifamily units.

“If this comes to fruition, it will probably be one of the biggest development sites, from ground up, for Haw River. This is pretty big for residential.” – Haw River Town Manager Sean Tencer

The new apartment section would be linked to a previously-approved apartment complex on 57 acres, planned by the same developer, where 300 apartments are approved, bringing the maximum total number of apartments to 436 and the combined units in both parcels to 830.

The total number of residential units will also make the combined project one of the largest residential developments in the county.

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The three portions of the new development connect via an internal street to another Burton Brothers property, a previously-approved apartment complex that will front Trollingwood Road, Haw River town manager Sean Tencer confirmed Tuesday for The Alamance News.

Haw River’s town council voted unanimously, 5-0, last week to approve rezoning and contiguous annexation for 108 acres along Trollingwood Road and Stone Street, which is within the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).

The parcels adjoin an already-approved site where approximately 300 apartments are planned, putting the overall footprint for the residential development at about 167 acres, based on materials provided by the developer, John Burton of Burton Brothers Property Holdings in Burlington, for the town council’s discussion last week.

 

Four components include previously-approved apartment complex on Trollingwood Road
As currently envisioned, the sprawling residential development would have four components at build-out: a single-family detached home section; a multifamily apartment section; a multifamily townhome section; and an apartment complex currently in design.

The single-family home section would consist of 34 homes built on a total of 17.24 acres. That part of the development would be surrounded by a 20-foot natural landscape buffer consisting of evergreen trees and/or evergreen shrubs.

The single-family section would connect to Stone Street via a planned internal street, Whisperwood Way, which would link all three phases of the annexed site to the previously-approved apartment complex that fronts Trollingwood Road, based on conceptual plans prepared by a civil engineering consultant, Stoltzfus Engineering in Kernersville, and presented to the council last week.

“They’re talking about building a street and connecting Trollingwood and running through the development, connecting that to Stone Street, and then turning it over to us as a city street,” Tencer explained Tuesday. “That’s all speculation,” he added, “until they turn in plans and finalize everything.”

The multifamily apartment section would have a maximum of 360 units built on 26.51 acres, for a maximum density of 13.58 units per acre. The multifamily apartment section would have a 100-foot natural buffer along three sides of the property, as well as a 50-foot stream buffer, based on the conceptual plans reviewed by the town council.

The multifamily townhome section would have a maximum of 136 units built on 62.26 acres, for a maximum density of 2.18 units per acre.

The apartment complex, currently named Hawthorne at Haw River Apartments, planned for a 57.43-acre parcel that fronts Trollingwood Road, is currently in the design phase, based on the conceptual site plans.

“We did rezone the piece that fronts Trollingwood; they [BBP Property Holdings] got that approved about a year ago,” Tencer recalled this week. “They’ve submitted plans for, I think, 300 apartment units [that] border Novaflex [Hose industrial plant at 449 Trollingwood Road].”

[Story continues below a layout of the new subdivision.]

The green area above is the proposed single-family home section of the new subdivision, red is for apartments, and the blue/purple designates the townhouses. Also shown at bottom right is the already approved apartment complex layout, although it is still in the planning phase.

As part of the town council’s vote to approve rezoning and annexation last week, the town has agreed to extend water and sewer services for the development, Tencer said in an interview Tuesday. He also confirmed for the newspaper that the city of Burlington supplies water/sewer services to the town of Haw River.

“If this comes to fruition, it will probably be one of the biggest development sites, from ground up, for Haw River,” Tencer said Tuesday. “This is pretty big for residential.”

Though she says it’s too soon to speculate how much the project could add to the town’s tax base, Haw River mayor Kelly Allen agreed.

“We definitely need development in this town, and we definitely need to increase our tax base.” – Haw River ”

“We definitely need development in this town, and we definitely need to increase our tax base,” Allen told The Alamance News Wednesday morning. “They [the developers] have worked really well with the residents, and it looks like it’s going to be a nice project for the town.”

No speakers, for or against, at public hearing
Allen told the newspaper that no one had spoken either for or against the annexation petition and rezoning request last week.

During earlier discussions with Haw River’s planning board, one nearby property owner had expressed concerns about runoff from the two parcels for which Burton had requested rezoning and annexation, Tencer recalled this week. “The engineer met with him on-site and went over some of the concerns,” the town manager said. The developer ultimately agreed to run water and sewer lines to that property and to bear the cost for it, Tencer explained.

In December, the planning board concluded that the proposed development would be consistent with Haw River’s land-use plan and that the project would “ensure a diverse housing stock and increase the tax base for the town,” based on materials that were provided to the council last week.

Haw River’s planning board voted unanimously, 4-0, to recommend the rezoning for the property from B-2 and I-2 (General Business and Heavy Industrial) to CZ-R-G (Conditional Zoning-General Residential). The planning board also agreed, as the developer had proposed, to require a 100-foot natural buffer between the rezoned property and two other parcels: seven acres of vacant land at an unaddressed location along Stone Street, owned by James T. Martin, Jr.; and another property at 267 Ball Park Lane, which includes a single-family home on 7.5 acres owned by Joseph and Susan Jacaruso, based on the application materials.

Haw River’s town council also attached several conditions to its approval, Tencer told the newspaper this week.

The developer has agreed to install a six-foot fence along a property line that runs between the two rezoned parcels and a single-family home owned by Bennie and Geraldine Jordan and located at 225 Ball Park Lane. The developer has also agreed to maintain a 20-foot wide natural buffer with evergreen trees and/or evergreen shrubs between the development and four nearby properties (225 Ball Park Lane, 267 Ball Park Lane; and two properties along Stone Street). The developer has also agreed to maintain a 100-foot buffer along the northern property line for the multifamily apartment section.

 

Burton Brothers had purchased 167 acres for about $1.2M in 2021
BBP Property Holdings bought all three vacant parcels for the project – including the site of the planned apartment complex – for a total of $1,175,000 between February and October 2021, based on documents that have been filed with the county’s Register of Deeds consummating the transactions.

The developers purchased the 57.43-acre parcel that fronts Trollingwood Road, where Hawthorne at Haw River Apartments is planned, for $635,000 in February 2021. That property was deeded to Hawthorne at Haw River Apartments LLC for $5.4 million in December 2022. (Hawthorne at Haw River Apartments appears to be a rental management company in Greensboro, based on documents filed with the Secretary of State’s office.)
BBP Property Holdings paid a total of $540,000 for the two contiguous properties, which span a total of 103.89 acres and are behind the parcel that fronts Trollingwood Road, in August 2021 and October 2021, according to the county’s Register of Deeds.

Both Allen and Tencer told the newspaper this week that additional details about the project would be forthcoming once the developers submit construction plans to the town.

Previously, the town’s largest residential project had entailed a $35 million restoration of the former Granite Mill, on the banks of the Haw River, and conversion into 176 apartments by Durham-based D3 Development. The mill had been previously used by Cone Mills for its corduroy production. Portions of the Granite Mill, which Alamance County’s commissioners designated as a local landmark in 2017, date back to the mid-1800s.

 

Graham’s council previously rejected Burton’s proposal for 1,056 apartments near current site
Burton’s developments in Haw River followed an earlier attempt, in 2021, to seek approval for an even larger apartment complex on about 55 acres off Jimmie Kerr Road and Truby Drive, behind the Flying J/Pilot truck stop and Days Inn, for a potential apartment complex with 1,056 apartments. The property is near the current subdivision site, which is in Haw River’s jurisdiction.

Graham’s city council, however, was unimpressed with the proposed apartment project, largely because the city did not have adequate water and sewer service to support such a large residential project on land that had been set aside for industrial development (which does not require as much water or sewer service).

Ultimately, Burton sold that property, which is now under development by Al Neyer, a major developer in the commercial real estate industry headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio with an office in Raleigh.

According to plans filed with the city of Graham, Al Neyer envisions a 579,000-square-foot warehouse building, which is now under construction on the property.

Photos of the construction on the Al Neyer site beside I-85/40 can be seen below.

The entry off Truby Drive can be seen above. Clearing and grading along I-85/40 can be seen behind the treeline along the interstate (below). A photo of the future warehouse is shown on a sign posted at the property.

 

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