The potential for two new residential developments in Holly Springs generated much discussion at the Sept. 16 Holly Springs Town Council meeting.
The Council approved a landowner's request for the annexation of about 156 acres off Holly Springs-New Hill Road and zoned the property to residential conditional use. The zoning paves the way for the property to be developed with new homes, but under conditions offered up by the developer. No development plan for the property has been submitted to the Town yet, but it is very likely that one will follow. When a plan is submitted, the conditional use zoning will require upscale home features, landscaping and lot sizes.
Council members commented on the merits of annexing the property into the Town before it is developed.
If the Council had not agreed to the annexation, the property could still have been developed, but with the more relaxed development regulations of Wake County, which may have resulted in a less attractive and desirable neighborhood.
“Wake County development requirements tend to be much looser than our requirements," said Councilman Hank Dickson.
Additionally, Holly Springs requires developers to conduct traffic impact assessments before plans are approved, and the assessments often result in transportation improvements like widening roads and adding turning lanes, which the developers build. Developments on property that isn't annexed aren't always held to the same standards and don't always result in road improvements to keep up with the traffic they create.
Councilman Tim Sack said putting the development on the Town's water and sewer systems will provide a safe option, as opposed to a development with wells and septic systems that one day could fail, resulting in Town taxpayers paying to provide water and sewer connections to the development.
"Plus, we'll have more control in how they develop," said Councilwoman Linda Hunt Williams.
A development plan for property off Holly Springs Road approved in the early 2000s recently was revived with the interest of a new developer, and neighbors who did not exist when the Rhamkatte Village Planned Unit Development originally was approved spoke to Council members Tuesday night to express their concerns.
Holly Springs Planning and Zoning Director Gina Clapp addressed the council and residents to clarify the status of that development, Rhamkattte Village. She said the Town has received numerous emails concerning the proposed future development off Holly Springs Road near its intersection with Bass Lake Road.
The Town has many of the same concerns as residents, Clapp said, including the development’s density, smaller lot sizes, transition between neighborhoods, alleys adjacent to neighboring properties, and transportation improvements.
“We work for you,” Clapp said. “We are not here working for the developer; we are here working for the residents of Holly Springs.”
She said the Town is early in the development process, meeting with the Rhamkatte developer and waiting for the developer to provide the Town information on proposed lot sizes and dimensions, road cross sections, and more. The Town also is awaiting results from a traffic analysis. The study results will show what road improvements the developer will need to make. Clapp said the Town will consider residents’ concerns and that nearby residents will be notified when a public hearing regarding the development is scheduled.
After a public hearing at a council meeting where the Town Planning Board will be in attendance, the development plan will be forwarded to the Planning Board for consideration. The board will decide whether to approve the plan, approve it with changes or deny it. Then the development plan will be forwarded to the Town council, which ultimately votes on whether to approve the plan.
$20,000 check presented to local girl
Holly Springs Police Captain Mike Patterson presented a $20,000 check, proceeds from a fundraiser, to the family a local girl battling cancer. The Police Department, Crossfit Zeal and My Way Tavern teamed up to raise money for Amber Lunn, who soon will be three years old and lives in Holly Springs.
In 2013, Amber was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a cancer within her eyes. Through a joint effort, the Police Department and partner businesses raised money to help the Lunn family with medical expenses as monthly trips to New York City are required for treatment.
Patterson said the fundraiser's goal was to raise between $5,000 and $10,000. The $20,000 raised was an accumulation of efforts and donations from Holly Springs businesses and individuals, he said. The Operation Aspiration fundraiser included T-shirt sales, a raffle of donated items, a fitness competition, My Way Palooza and sponsors.
Patterson thanked Holly Springs leaders and townspeople.
"It's simply amazing what we can achieve when we put our hearts and minds together," Patterson said. “This fundraising effort began with a vision of kindness and awareness that the best aspect of human nature is represented by those who step up to help others in need. It is simply remarkable to think about what we have achieved through this fundraising effort.”
Other meeting business
The council approved amendments to the Town’s Unified Development Ordinance, regulations for developments. The amendments include mailbox standards for new residential projects because the U.S. Postal Service no longer is delivering mail to individual mailboxes in new residential projects. The federal government now requires new residential projects to have a cluster of mailboxes or mailbox kiosks. The council voiced concerns for safety at kiosks and requested that lighting be required.
The approved amendments also clarify the area required for pedestrians in outdoor seating areas, define the size of vending machines and add community gardens as a permitted open space use.
Town staff updated the council on street tree regulations for new subdivisions. Amendments the council approved to the development ordinance included requiring developers to plant multiple species to promote long-term health.
The council supported a plan for continuing to use Jordan Lake as an alternative water supply. While Holly Springs receives drinking water from the Cape Fear River, the town also has a 2 MGD water allocation for water from Jordan Lake.
The council approved waiving a fee for local Boy Scout Jason Wilkie, who is building a deck overlooking a baseball field at Womble Park. Boy Scout Tanner Mizelle reported on his completed project, building an arbor at Holly Springs Elementary School.
As part of the consent agenda, the council entered into a $78,043 contract with Falcon Engineering for construction materials testing and inspections for the Law Enforcement Center and a $86,868 contract with Geo Technologies for testing for the North Main Athletic Complex Phase 2.