Albemarle Council views proposal for annexation request for proposed development

The Albemarle City Council on Monday were about to vote on a motion to decline a proposal to annex around 136 acres of land along U.S. Highway 52 near the intersection with N.C. Highway 138 and Aquadale Road for a proposed development when the applicant, Exponential Development out of Charlotte, withdrew the request.

Exponential Development had requested the land be annexed into the city and then be rezoned R-8 Neighborhood Residential to allow for a mix of high density residential, including apartments. The site plan and future development would not exceed 500 units.

Council was introduced to the proposed annexation during its Oct. 18 meeting but tabled the decision until the planning department and other relevant agencies had reviewed the proposed annexation thoroughly.

In a detailed analysis of how a new development would impact the city, staff found that with the addition of 500 units, the city would add between 1,200 and 2,900 new residents which would increase the population by at least eight percent. Staff projected that such a development, once it was fully built, could produce as much as almost $2.5 million in revenue for the city.

Several residents spoke at both the October meeting and Monday’s meeting about concerns regarding developing in a wetland area and the increased population that such a development would bring.

“I grew up in that community and I would prefer that it stay rural and not be developed into housing,” said Wayne Rummage, who owns 30 acres on Jana Road.

Barrett Eatman worried that if the land was developed and homes were built, it would lead to increased flooding around Rock Creek Park during periods of heavy rainfall. He was also concerned that the school system would not be able to accommodate the influx of new students.

Ricky Yeoman, a lawyer with Grimes Yeoman LLC which represents Exponential Development, told Council the build-out of the development would take several years. Once completed, it would help the city expand its services and amenities while also helping to attract new businesses and industries.

While he acknowledged concerns about the development that had been raised, he said: “It is our belief that the pros of this development far outweigh the cons.”

After hearing from concerned parties, Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Sue Hall offered a motion to decline the annexation request, which was seconded by Councilman Benton Dry. Before the council could go through with a vote though, the developer quickly withdrew the request. A decision to rezone the property, which would have followed had the annexation request passed, was no longer brought up for discussion.

In other news, the council:

  • Approved a recommendation from Albemarle Fire Department, allowing it to purchase a new fire pumper. The department has allocated $670,000 for a Smeal 1500 GPM Pumper along with an estimated $130,000 for necessary equipment costs.
  • Rezoned .44 acres at 649 McKee St. from split-zoned R-8/Neighborhood Residential District and R-10/General Residential District to R-8/Neighborhood Residential District.
  • Revised the maximum height of a non-residential structure located in GHBD/General Highway Business District from 50 feet to 65 feet to aide the development of the Hampton Inn, which is being built at the corner of Wall Street and N.C. Highway 24-27. The revision will allow the hotel to reach a height of five stories.

The next scheduled regular meeting is 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6.