Letter: Opposed to Haw Creek rezoning

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Unlike a previous writer, I actually live near the proposed Haw Creek project and am vice president of the Happy Valley Property Owners Preservation Association.

The project may create housing but also creates 13% more traffic on our two-lane road that already experiences bumper-to-bumper traffic during the school year; destroys a tree line and animal habitat; and offers no information about traffic disruption plans during the construction of town houses, let alone information about the protection of vehicles from construction debris, airborne or otherwise, during construction of the town houses. Even a proposed greenway on the property abruptly ends at the entrance to Happy Valley.

The developer has offered no solutions to community concerns so far. Public hearings to date have been widely attended and in opposition to the project as proposed.

I and those we represent oppose rezoning to accommodate the developer.

— Jeff Altman


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3 thoughts on “Letter: Opposed to Haw Creek rezoning

  1. indy499

    You skipped the “I support more housing, but…” part of the letter. It is required.

    • Think about it

      And you, apparently forgot the part where people are allowed to express concerns about their own neighborhoods being run over by aggressive developers. Why is it when anyone expresses concern about a development plan some wants to trot out the nimby facade?

    • Mike Rains

      3 weeks back in an earlier opinion piece on this Haw Creek project you made your NIMBY comment. This resulted in me challenging that comment and that resulted in additional, more detailed comments from you and me (posted below).

      I can’t make much sense of your detailed justification for all this opposition simply being NIMBY and you never responded to my research and comments. I’d appreciate greater clarification on your justification and perhaps some comments on mine. You know, actual thoughtful dialogue instead of name calling.

      indy499 comments 3 weeks back:

      You make assertions as if they are facts.

      here are average lot sizes:00 sq ft house: At least 0.15 acres or 6,534 square feet (607 square meters). 2000 sq ft house: Approximately 0.2 acres or 8,712 square feet (809 square meters). 2500 sq ft house: Around 0.25 acres or 10,890 square feet (1,012 square meters).

      This 26 acre property has >10,000 sq feet per lot with 20% more for infrastructure.

      You should have been tipped off when the author repeatedly wrote this is not a NIMBY issue, which of course, clls out a NIMBY issue. Just abundant smoke screen provided under we don’t want it

      Mike Rains comments 3 weeks ago:
      NOT NIMBY. This 26 acre property on New Haw Creek Rd is zoned R4 (4 units per acre along with other requirements including lot size, setbacks, etc.)

      This R4 zoning perfectly fits with the LONG STANDING and EXISTING neighborhood and area. Many houses are on 1/3-1/2 acre lots. There are also a number of larger lots (multiple acres), such as this one under consideration, which will fall to excessively high density development should this one be approved. This is significant.

      The 26 acres is split by New Haw Creek Rd (NWCR) as well as Haw Creek beside the road. A not insignificant portion of the land is flood plain and can’t be used for buildiing. To the west of NWCR is 6.4 acres (of the 26), not in flood plain and quite buildable. This is the section proposed for 35 townhouses which technically comes to 5.4 units/acre but obviously meets none of the lot size, setback and other requirements of R4.

      On the east side of NHCR and past the flood plain area, the developer proposes 60 houses, each on .11 acre postage stamp lots and with much smaller setbacks. Both the houses and townhouses can be 40′ tall, which is close to 3 stories.

      Looking at the total lot size (26 acres), the propopsed number of housing units (60 houses plus 35 townhouses) comes out at 3.65 units per acre. So the density requirement of R4 is met; however, because a good number of acres are unusable, the density is much higher. Also, the requirement of all being houses, lot sizes, setbacks and other R4 requirements cannot be met. Thus the developer has submitted for RES EXP (Residential Expansion) conditional zoning. Here’s what the development code says about this zoning:

      “It is the intent of the Residential Expansion District (RES EXP) to permit a full range of high density single and multi-family housing for developments that meet the definition of a Level III development. It is intended that proposals in this district include a broad range of housing types and be located near employment centers, shopping facilities, roads and other urban infrastructure capable of handling the demand generated by higher density residential development. The Residential Expansion District is a conditional district that is applied for through a rezoning application.”

      It is clearly the intent of this conditional zoning for this higher density to be in denser, urban settings such as, for example, on Tunnel Road, or Merrimon Avenue, etc. It is clearly not the intent of this conditional zoning to be used in a bucolic and more rural setting as exists in most parts of Haw Creek.

      The proposed 35 townhouses next to NHCR will be 40 feet tall and starkly visible from that road. The 60 houses will be further back from NHCR because of flood plain between them.

      Looking for compromise, I would submit that the 35 townhouses should NOT be allowed whatsover, They are totally out of character for the area. Regarding the 60 houses, perhaps those could be allowed with less density, and more importantly, a signficant evergreen tree buffer along the floodplain that would block the view of these sure to be vertical houses that will be spaced 14′ apart from one another.

      Frankly, the first formal review of this conditional zoning by the city should “throw it out on its head”. The developer is inappropriately trying to skew the intent of the requested conditional zoning and should be taught not to waste city and neighborhood energy on such a wrongheaded request.

      However, it would be a shame to lose some reasonable development potential for this plot and many others like it the area; however, each proposed development should be required to “fit in” to the existing look and feel of this longstanding neighorhood.


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