Decision night’ in Bermuda Run not coming until April: Only action on Hall Walker Development in latest council meeting was calling for public hearings

Published 12:07 am Thursday, March 21, 2024

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BERMUDA RUN — The Hall Walker Development has been a frequent part of Bermuda Run Town Council agendas going back to last summer, but if the large crowd that gathered in town hall anticipated any resolutions in last Tuesday’s meeting, it did not happen.

Actually, “proposed action items” simply called for public hearings for the April 9 meeting regarding a 10/70 provision and annexation requests for the “Hall Walker Property,” but Mayor Mike Brannon wondered if those in attendance were expecting more.

“I heard some rumblings out there that tonight was the decision night,” Brannon said. “I want to clarify that, by statute, the council cannot take action without having public hearings, which will take place next month.” 

So, first there was a call for a public hearing for the 10/70 Hall Walker request for the approval for 59.54 acres of project area for a multi-use development project, with the project area currently consisting of 6.57 acres outside of the watershed. The applicant is proposing 24.44 acres of impervious area on the site with the total impervious area on the site being 41.04 percent.

The second call for a public hearing was a request for the Hall Walker property with the town receiving petitions for a contiguous and a noncontiguous annexation of three Davie County tax parcels. On Jan. 9, the council adopted a resolution directing the town clerk to investigate the petition, and the clerk submitted a certificate of sufficiency.

Town Manager Andrew Meadwell recommended calling for public hearings for both requests, and the council approved both unanimously.

The history of this project goes back to last July when that monthly meeting was continued to August as a result of the anticipation of a crowd for public hearings that would far exceed the capacity in town hall involving a petition for the annexation of the Hall Walker Lane and Yadkin Valley Road parcels and a Hall Walker Development 10/70 provision request on approximately 57.4 acres of project area.

Then in the “2-for-1” meeting in August, it was revealed that questions were raised concerning the calculation of 10/70 allocation amounts in Davie County and Bermuda Run, prompting an inquiry to the N.C. Department of Environment Quality with the town taking no action until receiving the NCDEQ audit results and Meadwell stating “the ultimate finding is that there were no issues with how the town is allocated.”

Although the other parts of the July meeting were continued, the Hall Walker Development items including annexation and the 10/70 provision request public hearings were rescheduled until receiving further information to proceed.

In his concluding comments on the Hall Walker Development in last Tuesday night’s meeting, Brannon said that on April 9 the council will have the option to defer, approve or deny a 10/70 request.

“Given the developer now owns the Hall Walker properties, it seems to me this is no longer if the developer builds, but what and how the developer builds,” Brannon said. “There is no vote by this council that stops a Walker’s Retreat development from moving forward.”

He then asked what outcome from the 10/70 request produces the results being sought and stated that approval means a hybrid of townhomes and apartments — with 500 units aligning to what was heard in the town’s Comprehensive Plan feedback seeking a diversity of housing.

Meanwhile, denial would mean most, or even all, of the apartments, he said, with 500 units that is also permitted by zoning but lacks the housing diversity.

“So based on feedback seen in yard signs and social media comments, it seems the preferred choice between these two options is a combination of townhomes and apartments rather than only apartments,” said Brannon, who added these were only his thoughts only, “as this is only a council decision.”

Brannon also closed out the January meeting by saying there has been confusion across the community about an upcoming event regarding the proposed Hall Walker development by the council to vote on a 500-unit apartment complex. Brandon said he wanted to set the record straight then that the land is already zoned to allow approximately 520 housing units.

Also in last Tuesday night’s meeting, there was a call for a third public hearing — this one involving a 10/70 request from Davie Construction and Red 32 LLC for 0.044 acres of project area for a proposed Caribou Coffee location. 

The site currently has 0.217 acres, or 33 percent, of existing impervious area. The applicant is proposing 0.366 acres of total impervious area on the site. The total impervious area of the site would be 55.71 percent.

Like the others, the town manager recommended calling for a public hearing for April 9, which was approved by council.

In other highlights from last Tuesday night’s meeting, the council:

  • Heard from Brannon, who thanked Meadwell and Brian Williams, town attorney, for their work on the DEQ audit and 10/70 requests that provided the town with 26 additional acres.
  • Approved amendments to the Bermuda Run Tourism Development Authority regarding membership and appointments.
  • Approved a resolution of support regarding town charter language amendments.
  • Heard from Meadwell in his manager comments about NCDOT doing “a lot of plantings” on Exit 180 and the Harper Road exit on I-40 along with trees being planted along that stretch.
  • Also heard from Meadwell about a planning session scheduled off site for Tuesday, March 26, and that Town Hall would be closed that day so all staff can attend.
  • Received a presentation from Joseph Ashburn, director of the Davie County Emergency Services, on the services offered throughout the county.