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In close vote, board approves rezoning request for proposed subdivision

In a 4-3 vote, the Stanly County Commissioners on Monday evening approved a request to rezone a portion of land in Stanfield from RA (Residential Agriculture) to R20 (Residential).

Developer Reece Gibson is looking to rezone four tracts of land containing 38.29 acres on River Road and Renee Ford Road in Stanfield for a proposed subdivision. The lots adjoining the property are currently zoned RA.

He wants to rezone the land to R20 because it will allow him to get smaller lot sizes for the proposed subdivision, which is in a growth area per the 2010 Stanly County Land Use Plan. The town of Stanfield would provide the public water for the lots.

Gibson has also suggested the homes would be similar to those found in Stanfield Ridge, a nearby subdivision Gibson developed which is also zoned R20.

Gibson will design the subdivision and determine the lot sizes based on the results of a soil survey which is underway. Minimum lot sizes in RA for this area are 30,000 square feet. His plan is to construct around 50 lots, with each one exceeding 25,000 square feet.

With the rezoning, front setbacks would be reduced from 50 feet to 40 feet and rear setbacks would be reduced from 40 feet to 35 feet. The price range for the houses would be around $250,000.

As of now, there is only one entrance into the property on Renee Ford Road, though Gibson plans to create one on River Road.

Gibson’s rezoning request was presented to the Stanly County Planning Board in early March and after much deliberation, the board unanimously denied his request, citing concerns with reductions in lot size and septic systems on the smaller lots.

“I don’t ever let a builder build a house that I wouldn’t live in myself,” Gibson told the commissioners.

He added that his goal for the proposed subdivision is to “have a nice neighborhood and a safe neighborhood and something that people will be proud to live in.”

During the public hearing, a few people spoke against the request.

Ernest Alexander, who lives on Renee Ford Road, was concerned that new housing would lead to an increase in traffic and overcrowding of the local schools.

“I just don’t think it’s designed environmentally to have that many lots to come in to that area,” he said, adding that the negative impact of new housing “would be a lot greater than what the gain is going to be.”

Andy Turner, who also lives on Renee Ford Road, said he was most concerned about the addition of several septic tanks in a relatively small space.

Commissioner Lane Furr made a motion to approve the request to rezone the property. Commissioner Ashley Morgan seconded the motion, saying he initially planned on voting against the request but he doesn’t see a huge difference between RA and R20 and the additional homes would bring in tax revenue for the county.

Commissioner Mike Barbee was concerned the proposed smaller lot sizes would “open up a can of worms” with other developers in the area who might also want to reduce their lot sizes as well. He was also concerned about septic tanks on the smaller lots.

While Commissioner Bill Lawhon has no issues with smaller houses and smaller lots, he said “there can and will be septic issues with small lots.”

The request ultimately passed in a 4-3 vote, with Chairman Matthew Swain and Commissioners Tommy Jordan, Furr and Morgan approving it.

Even with the approval of the request, Gibson still needs to get approval from the Stanly County Planning Board along with other groups, including NCDOT and the school system.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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