LINCOLNTON – The Lincoln County Planning Board voted on Monday to recommend two developments to the Board of Commissioners for approval.
Saint James Church Road project
Larry Mashburn applied to rezone an approximately 90-acre tract of land between N.C. 16 Business and Saint James Church Road for a 198-home subdivision.
The development would offer 62- and 72-foot lot homes, with the 72-foot lots overlooking the lake or creek, Mashburn said at the public hearing.
At a July community meeting where Mashburn presented the plan to community members, one of the concerns voiced by those in attendance was overcrowding of schools.
Joshua Grant, a county planner, said at the public hearing that the crowding of schools had been looked into. Mashburn’s proposed development would be served by Rock Springs Elementary, North Lincoln Middle and North Lincoln High schools. Based on student generation models that the county uses, estimates show the development will have about 70 school-age children.
Further, the model takes into consideration the building of a new school, Grant said.
“The thought process and the memorandum of understanding that’s in place currently is that there would be a school in four years with the Newton Crossing development, and so that does impact our calculations with regard to the percentage of capacity,” he said. “If the school’s not built, then you’re looking at a different scenario, but we have to take that school being built into consideration when doing these calculations.”
Sandra Andrews, public information officer for Lincoln County Schools, said the Board of Education had not taken any action to build a school in the Newton Crossing development at this time.
Grant also said the water system has the capacity to support the new development, but the current sewer system does not.
The pump the development would use is already at capacity and is also used by the Rock Creek subdivision. Engineers from both the Rock Creek development and the Sylvan Creek development are working to make sure the pump can serve both developments, Grant said.
The planning board voted unanimously to recommend the application for approval.
More homes for Westport
After the application was tabled in June, the request to add more homes to a Westport plan came up again Monday. The plan, which was originally approved in 2006, has been amended to ask for more zero-lot-line homes and fewer single-family residence homes, resulting in a net increase of 23 homes from the original plan.
At that June 20, Commissioner Martin Oakes suggested the developer, Tom Daniel, meet with the community to discuss some of their concerns with his request.
Since that meeting, Daniel has made some changes to his plan, reducing the increase by seven homes. His June proposal asked for a net increase of 30 homes.
He also has proposed to increase the minimum setback from the back of zero-lot homes to the property line of the adjoining single-family home from 10 to 25 feet. Daniel also has agreed to add a berm for the landscape buffer to be planted on.
During the June public hearing, some Westport residents said they were afraid the zero-lot-line homes would hurt their property values.
Brad Baranowski, owner of Elle Bee Realty, spoke to this concern at the Monday meeting. Because the zero-lot lines are selling for more per square foot than the single-family homes, he said the lots would add value to the current community.
Community members also expressed concern that the development was not in harmony with the surrounding area.
Cynthia Jones, who has lived in the Westport area for 23 years, said she did not think adding more zero-lot line homes would preserve the harmony of the neighborhood and showed the commissioners pictures demonstrating the proximity of some of the homes.
Commissioner Carrol Mitchem, however, took issue with this assertion.
“If somebody goes to buy that house, don’t you think they know what they’re buying?” he asked Jones. “They see it. If that’s what they want, that’s fine, so then why should we be judging between the houses what’s going on there? If they want two feet between the houses, that’s their choice.”
Jones held that the issue was with neighbors adjacent to the zero-lot line homes.
“I’m saying that it isn’t in harmony to the homes that are immediately behind it,” she said. “It’s not in harmony to the homes that are on Lakeshore Road South. It’s not in harmony to his own single-family homes.”
Some planning board members did not agree.
“It may not be in harmony with your neighborhood, but it’s in harmony with its neighborhood,” Floyd Dean said. “I know what you’re saying, and I might agree with you if I lived beside you, but if I lived in this neighborhood, I would strongly disagree with you.”
The planning board voted 8-0 to recommend the application for approval. Planning board member Andrew Robinson, who lives in Westport, recused himself for the vote.
There will be another public hearing in September to deal with the developer’s plan for handling stormwater.