Letter: City should listen to concerns about Haw Creek project

Graphic by Lori Deaton

In the Feb. 14 issue, there is a letter to the editor praising a 95-unit development on New Haw Creek Road in Happy Valley as needed affordable housing [“Haw Creek Project Would Provide Much-needed Housing,” Xpress]. I respectfully think this writer (who apparently lives in Haw Creek but does not live near Happy Valley and will not be directly affected by the increased traffic on New Haw Creek Road) is not looking at this from the perspective of those of us who will be directly affected by this development.

He claims there is a robust infrastructure to support this development, and, again, I respectfully disagree, as do a great many residents and people trying to drop off/pick up kids at the schools in the valley. One main two-lane road and a secondary two-lane one are the only ways in and out of Haw Creek and do not equal robust infrastructure. I believe the public transit routes have also been reduced, thus adding more private vehicles to an overburdened road structure.

He states that we are “forcing developers to build a few luxury houses” rather than starter houses when zoning is not increased. In this development, it would be going from 49 as zoned to 95 homes, including townhomes, if conditional zoning is permitted. The developer wants to build as many luxury homes as he can squeeze onto the property. New construction in Haw Creek is in the $700,000 and up range. There is no affordable housing planned for this development, so this will not solve the lack of starter homes that families can afford.

Add in the loss of tree canopy by about three-fourths of current density; the disruption of habitat that not only lives in the area but also lives near the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is less than 1 mile away from this proposed development; and size of this project, and it all looks less and less appealing to those of us who call the valley home.

Yes, development will occur, but it can also enhance an area rather than be a detractor.  Personally, I will miss seeing an open field but understand that infill happens — just make it palatable to those of us who live here. Furthermore, Planning & Zoning needs to take into account the concerns and impact on the neighborhood and the entire Haw Creek Valley.

— Larry Layton
Happy Valley, Haw Creek


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