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Planning Board votes 7-0 against Greenville Highway apartments

A crowd of more than 50 people turned out Thursday to oppose a proposed rezoning to allow 165 apartments on 6.8 acres on Greenville Highway south of Brookdale Avenue, raising concerns about the loss of a forest, traffic congestion, flooding and other problems they said the development would cause.

Lock 7 Development LLC, a Washington, D.C.- and North Carolina-based developer that specializes in boutique townhomes and apartments, applied for a zoning change last October from Greenville Highway Mixed Use to Greenville Highway Mixed Use conditional zoning for the construction of the multi-family project. Tax records show a 1,053-square-foot home on the parcel, which is otherwise vacant. The land, owned by Ann Ferguson of Winston-Salem, is valued on the tax books at $1,217,100.

After more than two hours or discussion and public comment, the Planning Board voted 7-0 to recommend that the City Council deny the rezoning application, citing incompatibility with the surrounding neighborhood, stormwater runoff and the loss of urban forest land, Planning Board Chair Jim Robertson said. In support of its motion to recommend denial, the Planning Board said:

  • The scale of the development is out of character with the surrounding single-family neighborhood.
  • The proposal fails to address compatibility as the site plan does not scale back in intensity/density as the site transitions from Greenville Highway to the R-15 Single-Family neighborhood.
  • The extent of the proposed land disturbance would do excessive damage to urban forest land and drainage areas within the city limits in an area that is already prone to flooding.

City staff, the city Tree Board and the city's stormwater administrator proposed 14 conditions dealing with traffic, sidewalks, stormwater control, landscaping and other factors, most of which the developer had agreed to. During a heavily attended neighborhood compatibility meeting on Dec. 14, residents raised concerns about loss of trees, traffic congestion, water pressure and the scale of the three-story apartment buildings.

The density of the adjoining neighborhood is 1.7 acres per acre compared with 24 units per acre in the proposed apartment complex. The site contains two streams, which the developer proposed to pipe. A staff analysis concluded that the application was consistent with the city's 2030 comprehensive plan in part because the land is on a major thoroughfare.

The current mixed-use zoning allows multiple-family housing and many commercial use, city Planning Manager Matthew Manley told the Planning Board.

Eric Allen, an Asheville-based land-use attorney representing Lock 7, said the development would help alleviate a housing shortage and added that the developer was offering to add some affordable units as a condition. Lock 7 is committed to Hendersonville and the area — it has projects under way in Weaverville and Asheville, too — because of the downtown, quality of schools and proximity to the Ecusta Trail. Civil engineer Warren Sugg said the plan channels stormwater to drain into Greenville Highway rather than onto neighboring property.