Concerns about traffic congestion are once again circling around a proposed development off Overlook Road in South Asheville. The developer, Paul Holst of Greensboro, previously pitched a 221-apartment, 30-townhome development called Overlook Apartments.
That original plan encountered resistance from South Asheville residents concerned about whether the existing road infrastructure could handle the increase in cars associated with a development of that size. In June, Holst’s team asked the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment to delay a hearing on the project before ultimately scrapping the plans.
Holst is now looking to build a 98-home subdivision, named Overlook Point, on the same 25-acre footprint at 109 Overlook Road.
N.C. Department of Transportation data show that in 2014, Overlook Road had an annual average daily traffic of 9,000 cars, or nearly 3.3 million cars a year. Information from Asheville Police Department’s traffic incident report database shows Overlook Road had 23 accidents in 2016 and is up to 15 accidents this year through Aug. 24.
South Asheville resident Vijay Kapoor helped organize community members with concerns about the project the first go-round, and sent an email on Thursday, Aug. 24 alerting citizens of the new plans.
“Though it seems crazy to us, the county does not require a traffic study for this development (note that the city of Asheville would have). It is up to the N.C. Department of Transportation to decide whether a traffic and safety study should occur,” said Kapoor, via email, while imploring citizens to reach out the the NCDOT and District 3 County Commissioners Joe Belcher and Robert Pressley.
Kapoor also noted that plans appear to show most trees on the site would give way to homes. “One would expect severe stormwater runoff given the storms we’ve recently been experiencing. This would impact the properties downhill including Crowfields,” he said.
In the past year, a number of new housing developments have been approved. Community members, especially residents of South Asheville, have expressed concerns that development could overload infrastructure that is believed to be at, or near, capacity. For example:
- June 2016: Board of Adjustment approves contentious residential development.
- August 2016: Board of Adjustment gives go-ahead to 224-unit apartment complex.
- January 2017: Board of Adjustment gives nod to 232-unit apartment complex.
- May 2017: Rowdy, marathon BOA meeting highlights development, traffic frustrations.
- June 2017: P&Z votes in favor of new RAD zoning code, 133 apartments.
Major subdivision requests are decided on by the Planning Board and do not need approval from the Board of Commissioners. Overlook Point is classified as a major subdivision and is set to appear before the Planning Board on Monday, Sept. 18.