Friday, July 12, 2024

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Mebane council approves commercial, residential project at Mebane Oaks, Old Hillsborough roads


Mebane’s city council has approved a new mixed-use development at the northeast corner of Mebane Oaks and Old Hillsborough roads.

The 27.16-acre parcel would have five lots along Mebane Oaks Road for commercial development and 90 rental townhouses behind the commercial area.

On Monday night, the council heard the developer’s plans for 38,000 square feet of commercial space in front of the 90, three-bedroom townhouses.

The commercial component would have five buildings on 6.86 acres with a 20-foot vegetative buffer at the front and eight-foot landscaping buffer behind the buildings.

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Members of the city council made several overtures to the developer to learn the potential identities of commercial tenants for the project.  The developer noted previous projects whose tenants included a Texas Roadhouse restaurant, as well as a Trader Joe’s and Aldi grocery stores.

Still, the developer’s attorney, Mike Fox, and one of the developers, Brian Pierce, emphasized that there were no “committed tenants, yet.”

Pierce added that potential tenants often prefer to await a final approval of a project’s rezoning, which the council subsequently granted, before committing to a particular project. Pierce had given a similar response at the planning board meeting, saying, “We’ve talked to a lot of folks,” he said, adding “we’ve got a lot of interest.”

The five commercial buildings would front Mebane Oaks Road (near one of the city’s fire stations and a future location for Summit Church) and back up to an extension of Wilson Road. The preliminary plans show that the commercial buildings would have 50-foot minimum lot widths, with 25-foot front setbacks, 30-foot rear setbacks, and maximum building heights of 70 feet.

The five commercial buildings would have an average of 7,600 square feet each (for a total of approximately 38,000 square feet), based on the plans that the developer filed with the city.

The residential component of the project would cover 16.86 acres of the total 27.16-acre site. The townhouses would be for rent and would feature three-bedroom floor plans.

The townhouses would have a total of 180 parking spaces (two per unit), with 47 off-street parking spaces, two of which would be handicap-accessible.

The townhouses would have a minimum lot width of 20 feet, with front and rear setbacks of 20 feet, side setbacks of 30 feet, and maximum heights of 50 feet.

The developer’s preliminary plans show that the townhouses would be constructed as about 19 separate buildings, with three to six units each and a minimum separation of 30 feet between the buildings.

A portion of the property at the rear of the townhouse buildings would be designated as a common area/open space, which would back up to the treeline, a 20-foot landscape buffer, and the Haw Creek.

After about 40 minutes of explanation and discussion, councilman Tim Bradley moved for adoption of the proposed rezoning for the project, which passed on a 5-0 vote.


Backyard “private recreational space”

At the planning board meeting, the most controversial part of the plan turned out to be the request to consider the backyards of the townhouses as part of the required “private recreational space” under Mebane’s ordinance. But the concept didn’t raise any problems for city council members, who didn’t even discuss the concept.


Background on the project

The site is near Walmart and Garrett Crossing shopping center and spans a total of 27.16 acres on three separate parcels. The preliminary plans list the street address for the proposed mixed-use development as 1446, 1462, and 1470 Mebane Oaks Road.

The developer, Greensboro-based Deep River Partners, is requesting R-8 zoning for the residential component of the project. The proposed site is currently zoned B-2 for general business and R-20 for residential. The developer is proposing to build 90 townhouses that would have a density of 5.34 dwelling units per acre.

The commercial portion of the project would have an eight-foot landscape buffer along a future extension of Wilson Road, which now runs behind the Chick-fil-A farther up the road.  (Wilson Road is currently a short stub that would be extended in the future through several properties and ultimately the Deep River Partners’ land to reach Old Hillsborough Road.  Wilson Road is different from a longer, better-known road nearby, Ben Wilson Road.) .

The developer is offering to pay the city $135,000  in lieu of providing 2.07 acres of public recreation space; instead the developer has designated 11,400 square feet (about a one-third of an acre) as public recreation space. Current amenities include a 10-foot multiuse path and common area, also a playground, picnic shelter, and a dog park. The proposed development would be built in a single phase, based on the plans that have been filed with the city.

Streets within the commercial portion of the development would be dedicated as public streets, while other streets connecting to the residential portion would be private and would be maintained by a homeowners’ association.

The three parcels targeted for the mixed-use development are currently owned by: the heirs of D.D. Mebane; the William Weldon Mebane Life Estate and Danny Lee Mebane; and Betty Kerley Mebane, Robert Fitch Mebane, and William Weldon Mebane.

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