Bermuda Run council approves rezoning request for senior housing project

Published 12:10 am Thursday, April 18, 2019

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By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

The Bermuda Run Town Council unanimously approved a request from South Creek Development LLC to rezone a 6.25-acre tract for an 80-unit senior housing apartment complex behind Bermuda Commons on N.C. 801 in last Tuesday night’s meeting, but not before hearing from several residents expressing concerns about the project in a public hearing.

However, the Council found that the proposed rezoning change for Bermuda Run Landing from Village Mixed Overlay to Village Mixed Conditional, with its associated site plan and conditions, was consistent with the town’s Comprehensive Plan.

Town Manager Lee Rollins said that the development group will next be required to submit a full site plan for the technical review committee to consider. That site plan would be weighed against the zoning ordinance as it relates to lighting, landscaping and other conditions.

Mayor Ken Rethmeier said that this was merely a preliminary step in the entire process.

“What we’re doing is approving the zoning,” councilman Mike Ernst added.

Charlie Heritage, speaking on behalf of the applicant for the project, said that the multi-family development is targeting seniors 55 and older, and will have 47 one-bedroom units and 33 two-bedroom units.

The building will be two stories and have two elevators along with several commons areas and a covered drop-off area at the front entry in addition to a screened porch, courtyard with a gazebo and picnic shelter, and sidewalk.

Plans call for South Creek to build half of the boulevard leading to the complex. Heritage, who said that about 30 additional acres are available for development in the area, added that the estimated total development cost is about $13 million.

During the public hearing, a couple of residents talked about the increase in traffic in an already congested area.

“The traffic is just going to be horrendous out there,” said Robin Blum, who also questioned if there was adequate advance notice of posting a sign at the site regarding a zoning change. “I just hope this is not the tip of the iceberg with these 80 units and it won’t be 200, 300 units back there.”

Karen Myers said that a lot of people where she lives in Bermuda Run West are concerned about being able to navigate N.C. 801 in the mornings with the extra traffic.

“The only way I can get out on 801 now is for somebody to let me out with the line of traffic that is going by my house,” Myers said.

Said Sadat provided a different take in his remarks, saying he wanted to make sure the Council was aware that there were some graves on the property.

Brian Williams, town attorney, said that the applicant knows about the potential of a cemetery on the property and that an environmental study will be conducted, and depending on the findings will deal with it according to what the law requires.

Speaking of the traffic issue, later in the meeting Rethmeier said he recently met with Pat Ivey, Division 9 engineer, and learned that NCDOT had pulled the redesign and improvements at the intersection of U.S. 158/N.C. 801 into a separate project that will receive a higher priority and be linked to the widening of I-40.

“That will hopefully provide an opportunity to reduce some of the heavy traffic that all of us experience on 801,” Rethmeier said.

Along with the Bermuda Run Landing public hearing, the Council also had two other public hearings, where no one spoke, on the agenda of proposed action items.

The Council unanimously approved a text amendment to permit, with conditions, the use of self-storage warehousing in the Commercial Mixed zoning district where all storage shall be located within the building and outside storage of any type. Also, storage units shall not be visible off site and access to individual storage units shall be from corridors inside the building.

The Council also approved a text amendment to alter the application of the 10/70 provision on sites within the town on the Future Land Use Map. The text amendment also deletes the maximum size requirement for any 10/70.

A section of the N.C. Administrative Code states local governments that do not use the high-density watershed option may allow a maximum of 10 percent of their watershed area outside of the critical area to be developed with new development projects and expansions to existing development of up to 70 percent. The remainder of the property, a minimum of 30 percent, must be maintained as permanent open space or pervious surface.