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City Council OKs 263 apartments on South Allen Road

Map shows location of the Waterleaf at Flat Rock apartments between South Allen Road and I-26 north of Upward Road. Map shows location of the Waterleaf at Flat Rock apartments between South Allen Road and I-26 north of Upward Road.

Hendersonville could see 356 new dwellings — single-family homes and apartments — if developers win City Council approval for two major projects developers have proposed. The City Council discussed the projects Thursday night.

The projects were a 263-unit apartment complex on 15½ acres on South Allen Road and a subdivision of 93 single-family homes on 22 acres behind the Oklawaha Village community and south of Duncan Hill Road.

Hearing concerns over the North Main project, the council postponed action on the application so the city staff could address options to alleviate traffic impacts.

High Country Engineering and First Victory Construction applied for a planned residential development conditional-use zoning for the Providence Walk development with a density of 4.6 units per acre on a C-shaped piece of land. A site plan shows 71 single-family dwellings on the north end of the property and a smaller cluster of 28 two-bedroom homes behind Oklawaha Village.

Responding to concerns of Oklawaha Village residents about a road connection through their neighborhood, council members added a condition to change that access to a greenway. The rezoning also requires a right-in, right-out access on the northern entrance and a deceleration lane at the main entrance. The developer plans to save 125 trees and remove 71.

The North Main-Duncan Hill-Signal Hill area is becoming "a hot spot for development," planning manager Matt Manley told the council.

Lynn Clark, of Yon Hill Road, said she feared that a 93-home subdivision would compound hazardous traffic conditions and that the neither the city nor the NCDOT had presented any plans to deal with congestion and improve safety.

"The comment was made that this area is a pressure point right now," she said. "That doesn't make me feel good." Citing large developments currently under construction on Clear Creek Road at I-26, she asked, "How can we talk about a development if you don't know how you're going to manage the traffic."

Council members agreed that 90 homes would likely worsen congestion on a road that is already overcapacity.

"I agree that we are creating much more traffic here," Jerry Smith said. "We are definitely on a road that I agree, when I drive there at night I have to pay attention the whole time. ... In approving this as it is we are taking ownership of a traffic problem."

Jennifer Hensley, the city's representative on the Transportation Advisory Committee, assured the neighbors that the North Main-Duncan Hill area is on the NCDOT's radar for safety improvements and said the city could try to advocate for pushing the work forward.

Waterleaf at Flat Rock

Greenville, S.C.-based Graycliff Capital Development applied for a rezoning from Henderson County's office-institutional designation to the city's planned residential development zone for the apartment complex on On South Allen Road. Based on the city's policy requiring annexation when new development needs city water and sewer, the property would be annexed into the city.

Developer Seth Peterson, of Graycliff, said during earlier public meetings that Waterleaf at Flat Rock would be made up of garden-style apartments with hardy plank materials, stainless steel appliances and other amenties. The complex will include pocket park areas between the buildings, he said.

During a neighborhood compatibility meeting, neighboring property owners expressed opposition based on density, building height, parking, traffic and impact on emergency services. Plans call for 15 structures — seven four-story apartment buildings, four carriage houses with garages, a clubhouse and maintenance buildings — and an overall density  of 17 units per acre. The proposed 444 parking spaces exceeds the required 421. A traffic analysis showed the apartments would generate 1,438 trips per day — 112 during afternoon peak travel times.

The new Jabil Healthcare plant across Upward Road from the development is expected to add 150 jobs, Peterson noted.

"We are trying to help meet the lack of rental housing for the jobs that are coming," he told the council. "Live here, work here."

Asked about price, Peterson responded that the company plans to charge a "right down the middle of the plate rent for a new product. It's not going to be a Taj Mahal rate but it's not going to be lower down the line." He projected the rent at $900 to $1,500 depending on size, number of bedrooms and other factors.

Council member Hensley said that rental units costing less than $1,500 a month are almost impossible to find in the city.

"This is desperately needed," she said.