Developer Seeks Changes
The developer of an upscale town home project in Pinehurst wants the village to increase the density allowed under the zoning for his property.
Michael Doninger, the managing partner of the Tradition of Old Town, which is near the Village Arboretum, is asking the village to increase the maximum dwelling density for the Village Residential District from 5.25 units per acre to 6.75. The development is the only one in the village zoned in that classification.
The Pinehurst Village Council will hold a public hearing on the zoning text amendment during its 1 p.m. meeting Tuesday.
The original plan for the development called for two of its buildings to contain three units each. The amendment would allow those six units to be divided in half, by floor level, creating 12 smaller units, which would be sold at a lower price. The plan would not change the footprint or square footage of the two buildings.
Doninger said that he and his partners have waited for the real estate market to rebound before starting construction.
"We've been simply waiting for things to improve in the real estate market and for demand for our product to increase and for us to lower the price of our units, which we've worked at diligently," he said. "The market has improved significantly, so we think it's time to start construction."
The town homes were originally expected to be priced between $1 million and $1.5 million. But Doninger said the prices will be reduced. A full-size unit would start between $600,000 and $900,000. Smaller units would start at $400,000 to $500,000.
"We're looking to the village, asking them to recognize the economic tsunami that has hit us and give us a hand in getting the project started," he said. "I think these economic times call for some creative thinking, not just on my part, but on the part of the village."
The amendment has run into some resistance. The village's Planning and Zoning Board voted 5-1 at its Feb. 4 meeting to recommend that the council deny the request. The village's planning staff maintains that the amendment would not be consistent with its Comprehensive Long-Range Plan or the NewCore Master Plan.
"While the [NewCore Master Plan] states that market factors should be considered," Senior Planner Bruce Gould wrote in a memo, "increasing the maximum allowable density to 6.75 dwelling units per acre does not appear to be consistent with the overall goal of this plan for this district."
He concluded that the amendment "is not in the best interest of the public."
The Village Residential District classification was created after the NewCore Master Plan was adopted in August 2008. It was designed to encourage higher density development in that area of the village "to create a transition into the single-family residential area."
According to village records, Doninger originally requested the dwelling density be changed to 10 units per acre. The Planning and Zoning Board voted at its Jan. 14 meeting to table the request until its February meeting. But Doninger amended the request to 6.75 units per acre four days after the board tabled the original request.
The planning board advises the council, and cannot approve or deny requests - it can only make recommendations.
The approval process for the development in 2008 was contentious, with Concerned Citizens of Pinehurst - the group that also opposed the Carolina Vista roundabout - speaking out against it.
The Village Council unanimously approved the project in June 2008, approving both a major -special-use permit and a major site plan. The original plan -consisted of 20 individual town home units. The land has been cleared.
Village Manager Andy Wilkison said the council is not expected to vote on the matter Tuesday.
Contact John Krahnert III at (910) 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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