Habitat to Revise Project
Habitat for Humanity of the NC Sandhills is going back to the drawing board to accommodate concerns of Bronwyn Estates residents worried about a project planned near their backyards.
Representatives of Habitat for Humanity met with members of the Bronwyn community Thursday evening to discuss concerns about a Habitat project proposed on a current R-20 residential zone between Bronwyn Street and Midway Road in Aberdeen.
The project is a part of revitalization efforts of Midway residents to bring families back to the aging community.
The Aberdeen Planning Board had recommended that the town commissioners rezone the land from R-20 residential to R-10 at its last meeting. The Town Board will consider the matter at its Oct. 12 meeting. The rezoning would allow Habitat to put more lots on the property.
Residents of Brownwyn Estates expressed concerns about the zoning change during a public hearing by the Planning Board. Members of the board said they hoped Habitat and neighboring residents could work out their differences.
Habitat Executive Director Elizabeth Cox said she will take the residents' concerns back to her board and revise the plan to create a greater buffer zone between the project and the backyards of the Bronwyn residents. Increasing this distance will lessen the number of lots on the property as well.
"We want the community to be a part of the development process," Cox said. "We'll go back to the drawing board."
Cox said she hopes to get the Bronwyn residents as excited about the project as residents of the Midway community.
Maurice Holland Sr., president of the Midway Community Association, also attended the meeting to address any concerns from the Bronwyn residents involving the Midway community.
Among issues discussed, Cox explained the selection process for potential Habitat homeowners and families. She emphasized the caliber of Habitat homeowners.
"These are working, solid citizens who just need an affordable place to live," Cox said.
Cox promised the residents that Habitat does not work with "sketchy people" who would bring problems to the area.
"They don't want to do the work that's involved," Cox said.
Habitat requires at least 300 hours of sweat equity from each adult applicant and at least 60 for every teen involved. Families must also participate in at least 10 of 12 homeowner workshops, commit to a partnership with the community and Habitat, and be able to make their first down payment to cover closing costs.
Bronwyn residents Angelo and Karen Vaccaro said they were pleased to see that Habitat wants to work with their community, but they are still skeptical about the project.
"Their intentions seem honorable," Angelo Vaccaro said. "But it's hard to believe that our value in our houses isn't going to lessen."
Karen Vaccaro said she is upset about plans for a project that does not follow the current zone R-20 ordinance.
"It's zoned R-20," Karen Vaccaro said. "Why did they buy it as an R-20 thinking they can rezone it as an R-10?"
Some Bronwyn residents said they felt misinformed by their former Realtors. When they bought their properties, they were told the land belonged to the N.C. Department of Transportation and that it would remain a wooded, undeveloped area.
When the Aberdeen Town Board takes up the matter, it will not consider the details of the Habitat project, but rather, whether the land is suitable for higher-density rezoning.
Cox said she hopes the Town Board will see the need for rezoning. She said she is ready for the project to begin.
In the mean time, Cox said she and other members of Habitat will be working with the project's architects to create a plan that represents compromise between the Bronwyn and Midway communities.
Hannah Sharpe can be reached at (910) 693-2485.
More like this story