Board grants rezoning request for proposed subdivision

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SILER CITY — The town’s board of commissioners on Monday granted a rezoning request for a nearly 100-acre subdivision proposed for Harold Andrews Road, a vote which came after a recessed public hearing on the issue a week ago.

Commissioners originally heard the rezoning request during their regular meeting June 20 and could not come to a consensus after several questions that arose from the presentation, most of which revolved around the lack of affordable housing planned for the development.

On Monday, in a specially-called meeting at 6:30 p.m. at Wren Memorial Library, commissioners asked again if the subdivision, located at 893 & 909 Harold Andrews Rd., would have affordable units. The developers’ response: all units would be available at “market value.”

“Sometimes when you agree to affordability, that would shut the door on certain builders from looking at the site,” Lou Dickey, from Raval Realty LLC, said. “So at this point, we don’t want to agree to conditions providing a certain percentage of affordable housing in this project, it’s going to be a market value development.”

Siler City Planning and Community Development Director Jack Meadows said he and his staff met with the county’s affordable housing department twice in the last week to discuss what the town could do to incentivize developers to build affordable housing units.

“We had one meeting with just the town staff and county staff, and then the next day we met with the developer and development teams,” Meadows said. “There was quite a lot of information shared, so I just wanted to highlight that.”

One of the ideas the county staff had for the town was to develop an affordable housing incentive program for developers who include affordable housing in their development plans. Incentive programs can provide developers with expedited review and approval, allowance for fees in lieu, higher residential density or more.

However, affordable housing wasn’t the only question brought up by commissioners on Monday.

Commissioner Norma Boone said she was concerned about the visibility coming up the hill from Snow Camp Road up to Harold Andrews Road.

“I know we’ve talked about speed limits and putting up warning signage and things like that, but I am concerned about the visibility coming up that hill,” she said. “Is there a way we can do a study or investigation to see if any changes need to be made before all those people move there?”

Meadows said three engineering firms — one for the town, one for the N.C. Dept. of Transportation and one for the developers — examined the intersection to see if any changes were needed. Each said even with the increased traffic, the intersection would function without changes.

Commissioners unanimously voted to approve the rezoning request, as well as accept a fee in lieu from the developers in regard to green space in the subdivision. The fees will be allocated toward improving facilities in Bray Park.

Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at theeden@chathamnr.com and on Twitter at @HeedenTaylor.

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