Albemarle Council opens three public hearings concerning Long Lake Development

The Albemarle City Council had several public hearings planned for Monday night regarding a new housing development near City Lake. But since the developer was not present, the council opened each of the three public hearings, which will remain open until the June 19 meeting.

Stanly County commissioners approved a rezoning request from BRD Land and Investment in January 2022 to rezone two plots of land totaling 100.67 acres on City Lake Drive from the R20 and RA districts to an R10 Long Lake Neighborhood Conditional District.

Long Lake Development would consist of 186 single family detached homes, located on City Lake Drive near the intersection of N.C. Highway 73.

Even though the subdivision currently lies within the county, the developer wants it to be annexed into Albemarle, as the property can be better developed with access to the city sewer.

Mayor Ronnie Michael told people signed up to speak that the subdivision is already going to happen, since the county approved of the rezoning. What the council is determining is whether the housing will be built under city rules.

“If you’re thinking that we’re going to be able to stop it, we cannot,” Michael said.

The first public hearing involves a development agreement outlining the proposed agreement between the city and BRD Land and Investment. Part of the agreement includes a compromise between the developer and the city on the details of the subdivision. The city would require a few changes to be included in the development that were not required by the county.

If the council approves the development agreement, another public hearing will be held to annex the property. If Council approves of the annexation request, a third public hearing will happen to zone the property from County R10 Long Lake Neighborhood Conditional District to R-10/General Residential District.

“We feel that the proposed community is in keeping with the residential nature of the area and will provide future residents with tremendous outdoor activities, most notably, City Lake Park,” BRD Land and Investment wrote in the Planning and Zoning application.

Two people spoke during the public hearing for the development agreement, expressing concerns about the ecological impact of the development.

Stanly Community College biology instructor and bird enthusiast Bryan Sharp was concerned about potential algal blooms caused by fertilizer runoff. He was also worried about the various wildlife in the area, noting that 128 species of birds have been spotted in City Lake, including Canadian goose, red-bellied woodpecker, osprey, mourning dove and Baltimore oriole.

“City Lake Park, to me, is the star of our city park system, it’s the biggest one, so I hope you agree that annexing and putting a cluster-style development is not really going to help the park,” Sharp said.

Several people slated to speak said they would wait until next month.