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Ask Matt ... what's going up next to Fletcher park?

The Groves in Fletcher will be similar to Palisades at Legacy Oaks in Raleigh (above). The Groves in Fletcher will be similar to Palisades at Legacy Oaks in Raleigh (above).

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Q. What’s going up on Howard Gap Road next to Fletcher Park and across from FernLeaf Charter School?

That would be a 168-unit apartment complex approved by the Town of Fletcher last November. The housing project will go by the name The Groves at Town Center and is being developed by Southwood Realty of Gastonia, NC. The site measures 9.5 acres of level ground and is just inside the Fletcher city limits. According to Fletcher Planning Director Eric Rufa, there will be a mix of 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments. The site plan calls for a security gate, several detached vehicle garages, a clubhouse with pool, and a left turn lane on Howard Gap Road.
According to project manager William Ratchford of Southwood Realty, the developer asked the town for permission to build a pedestrian bridge over the small creek that separates the housing from Fletcher Park. This would offer residents at The Groves easy access to the park but the Fletcher Town Council said no. Town Manager Mark Biberdorf offered an explanation for nixing the connection. “The park is closed to the public from dawn to dark,” he said. “It would be difficult to control pedestrian traffic from a side entrance.” Ratchford thought it was a good offer. “I guess they didn’t want their own residents using the park,” he said. “That’s all right, we will build our own dog park.”
About a half dozen Fletcher residents spoke at a Nov. 13 public hearing. Most spoke against the development and cited increased traffic, potential flooding and the proximity to Fletcher Park. The Town Council voted 3-1 in favor with Mayor Pro Tem Eddie Henderson casting the lone no vote. I asked Henderson why he opposed the project and he said that it was because it would increase traffic on Howard Gap Road plus there was no secondary “rear access” to the complex. Henderson was also concerned with possible excessive stormwater runoff and the fact that this would be rental housing and not privately owned units. “I just don’t think it’s the right fit for Fletcher,” said Henderson.
Ratchford said that his company recently built a similar apartment complex called Seasons at Cane Creek which is located on U.S. 25 in Fletcher near the Buncombe County line. They are advertised as luxury apartments in a gated community. The Groves at Town Center, although now largely treeless, will more closely resemble a sister Southwood development near Raleigh called The Palisades at Legacy Oaks. The Groves is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2019.

Send questions to askmattm@gmail.com.