SP Council Hears About Big Development Plans
This story originally reported that the Morganton Road project plans to extend Henley Street across Morganton Road and not connect the road to U.S. 15-501. The plans do include a connection at U.S. 15-501, but the plans do not currently include a connection to Morganton Road.
Plans are brewing for several major developments in Southern Pines.
Susan Clift-Brown, of Clift Commercial Real Estate Services, presented two conceptual development plans to the Town Council during its work session Monday - one for a project in the Morganton Road Overlay District and another bordering N.C. 22 near Sandhills Community College.
Clift-Brown said she was looking for feedback on the plans as she and her clients continue to develop the projects and take initial steps toward receiving town approval.
The Morganton Road plan proposes a commercial development between Henley Street and Brucewood Street on the southern side of Morganton Road. The project would extend to U.S. 15-501 across from Partner Drive near the Chamber of Commerce office.
The project, "The Shoppes of Southern Pines," would create a shopping center of small retail spaces that enhances connectivity in the area and lends itself to pedestrian-friendly shopping, according to Clift-Brown and developer Ben Henrich, of Henrich Properties.
The proposed project would be located across from the site of a proposed mixed-use development that Clift-Brown presented to the council earlier this year. Clift-Brown told the council that attorney Tom Van Camp, whose family owns the property, has been consulted about the project across the street.
Council members were mostly complimentary of the proposal, but all of them expressed concern that the plan does not include an extension of Henley Street to U.S. 15-501.
The plan already creates a signaled intersection by extending Henley Street across Morganton Road, but Brent Martin, an engineer on the project, said that the street would end in a temporary turnaround on the property.
Martin said his team chose to end Henley Street in a location that would allow a future developer to extend it to U.S. 15-501.
"We would leave that flexibility up to them as opposed to telling them where the road should go," he said.
Martin said the N.C. Department of Transport-ation requires only two connections in the project and that connecting Henley to U.S. 15-501 was not necessary at this stage.
Along with the main entrance on U.S. 15-501, there are connecting en-trances at Short Street and Southern Road. There will also be a connection to the parking lot located behind the adjacent soccer fields off Morganton Road.
Clift-Brown added that the market is going to dictate what goes on the property and said it would be impossible to align a road that would also be agreeable to development on the adjoining Van Camp property.
"It's an unknown, and it's impossible to say the road can go over there when we don't know," she said.
Councilman Chris Smith-son emphasized the importance of the connection and expressed concern over traffic in other connecting points in the project if Henley isn't utilized.
"This is significant even if nothing ever happens on any of the rest of that property," he said.
Smithson specifically mentioned a route connecting the project to the soccer field parking lot. He did not think the connection would be conducive for high traffic because it would not have traffic signals.
He added that a lot of people would utilize this connection or access the connection on Short Street via Mur-ray Hill Road, which is already used heavily by local traffic as a connection between U.S. 1 and U.S. 15-501.
"I understand the number of those connections, but it's also where those are relative to where a lot of people are - it concerns me," Smithson said.
Mayor Mike Haney said that connecting Henley Street to U.S. 15-501 poses an "inconsequential investment to someone."
"It's clearly going to have a positive impact," he said.
Town Manager Reagan Parsons told the council that the plan would have to go out for public review before the applicants can enter into the formal process of approval with the town.
The second project proposed by Clift-Brown, "Tyler's Ridge at Sandhills," would be on a 46.2-acre tract in a Planned Development zone bordering N.C. 22, south of the roundabout intersection with Airport Road.
The site adjoins tracts owned by Sandhills Comm-unity College and a private landowner.
Robert Hayter, of the Hayter Firm, presented the proposal to the board. The project includes a multi-family development on the south side of the property and a commercial use development on the northern side, featuring small shops and restaurants.
The multi-family development would place 232 one- and two-bedroom dwelling units on 33.5 acres of the property.
Hayter said the apartments would provide students with a close place to live while attending SCC, and the proximity of sit-down restaurants, a bank and possibly a day care center would promote more pedestrian traffic from the college.
"It meets needs that the neighborhood does not have," he said.
Hayter noted that the college's board of trustees has already discussed the proposal and expressed support for the project. He is also a member of the college board, and he told the council that he has abstained from discussion on the topic.
Hayter stressed that the development would not be a shortcut for traffic looking to avoid the roundabout at N.C. 22 and Airport Road to get to Airport Road or the college. He said that the roads leading into the development will not connect to the campus and that it will take longer for cars to drive through the development than the time it takes to go around the roundabout.
"We will make it as convoluted as possible," he said.
He added that the building plans conceive "non-box types of users." No building size will exceed 14,000 square feet.
Parsons said that the planned development zone allows multi-family development under a planned residential development application.
However, the Planning Board is currently considering an update to the planned development zoning language that only addresses single-family developments in regard to underlying density within the zoning district.
Parsons told the council that if it wants to proceed with a project such as "Tyler's Ridge" in this zoning district, it should consider reverting back to the language of a 1989 planned development zoning ordinance that addresses both single- and multi-family developments in the underlying density.
Hayter said that the owner hopes to submit an application for the project to the town in 30 days if possible.
Contact Hannah Sharpe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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