Site plan courtesy Koontz Jones Design

 

A 25-acre undeveloped tract of land along U.S. 1 near downtown Southern Pines is being eyed once again for development.

The property itself has a contentious history as the subject of a protracted six-year legal battle between the town and Leith Automotive, when the Raleigh-based company proposed opening an auto dealership on the site. Five years ago, a 288-unit apartment complex was considered. Town leaders voted to deny the project but the applicant filed an appeal, before eventually dropping plans.

On Thursday, Nov. 18, the Southern Pines Planning Board will review a special use permit request for Patrick’s Pointe, a 276-unit apartment complex with an office building outparcel proposed on the east side of U.S. 1, between West Vermont Avenue and West Rhode Island Avenue.

The sloped and mostly wooded property is located in the town’s Highway Corridor Overlay and backs up to two existing neighborhoods. Residents of the Village in the Green, Village in the Woods and Village by the Lake communities spoke out against the previous apartment complex proposal initiated by Caviness & Cates complex in 2016.

More recently, Southern Pines has been the subject of intense development interests as housing prices — and demand — have surged. In September, town leaders approved a 32-unit mixed use project with townhouses and offices about one mile south of the proposed site, on the opposite side of U.S. 1.

According to the staff report prepared in advance of Thursday’s meeting, the proposed infill project with its mixed use of office space and apartments “may be of more benefit to the surrounding neighborhood” than other potential uses that are allowed by right under the current zoning.

Plans call for three vehicle entrances on the NE Service Road that parallels the highway, and a dedicated right-turn lane on U.S. 1 North would be required. A pedestrian/bicycle gate connecting to an existing sidewalk on West Maine Avenue is also proposed according to a site plan submitted to the town.

A public forum will be held in conjunction with the Southern Pines Planning Board meeting on Thursday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m., at the Douglass Community Center, 1185 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Southern Pines.

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