The need for affordable housing and the desire for local government planners to promote dense growth met the concerns of residents speaking against the impact of a proposed project.
The proposed zoning change for 30.9 acres located near the intersection of Bull Headley Road and Bannerman Road will increase the number of “dwelling units” from 16 to 247. In addition, the change will allow for approximately 300,000 square feet of commercial space in buildings up to four stories high.
More recent information indicates that an assisted living facility and residential apartments are planned for the project.
Planning staff told the county commission that the change in zoning is consistent with smart growth principles. These principles encourage higher density growth to combat the problems associated with sprawal.
During the public speaking part of the meeting, the majority of the people spoke in opposition to the rezoning request.
The speakers argued that the proposed rezoning will facilitate a project that is not compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods.
In addition, speakers told the county commissioners that the current infrastructure in the area will not support the proposed high density development.
More specifically, Summerbrooke residents complained about the increased traffic that will be routed from the development through the neighborhood.
A number of speakers told the county commissioners that they are not against development, just development that is not compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods and the current infrastructure.
A consultant for the applicant for the rezoning request told the county commissioners that speakers were raising questions that were addressed three years ago when the comprehensive plan was amended. He argued that residents should have challenged the changes at that time.
The legal counsel for the applicant told the county commissioners that they have voted for a framework that allows for the rezoning at least two times over the last five years.
County Commissioner Desolge was the first elected official to speak and defended the rezoning and made the motion to approve the rezoning.
Referencing the Summerbrooke residents speaking against the project, Desloge said, “they don’t like what they don’t understand.”
County Commissioner Dozier said her support for the rezoning was based on rules that were adopted years ago.
County Commissioner John Dailey, who is running for mayor, voted against the rezoning arguing that Bannerman Road needed to be widened before the development moved forward.
The final vote was 6-1, with Dailey voting no.