Town leaders approve 140-acre mixed-use development

INDIAN TRAIL – Leaders in Indian Trail approved a proposed mixed-use development on Tuesday night, Nov. 12, that will bring 250 single-family homes, 52 townhomes, around 240 apartment units and 170,000 square feet of commercial and retail offerings to town sometime over the next 10 to 12 years.

The Southgate project will sit on 140 acres near the corner of Poplin and Rocky River roads, and the residential homes and apartment units will feed into Poplin Elementary School and Porter Ridge Middle and High schools.

While Poplin Elementary currently is not over capacity, the two Porter Ridge schools are – something area residents and some on council have raised as concerns. The county, currently in a funding battle with Union County Public Schools, plans to build a relief school in the area that could open in 2018, but that could change depending on the impact of legal matters between the county and UCPS. The homes at Southgate will start being constructed in late 2015 and take six to eight months to complete, officials said Tuesday night, meaning the first homes are expected to open as much as two years before the new school comes on line.

The commercial aspect to the project could follow later, developer representative John Ross said. The market and economy will drive retail clients and how quickly commercial is built at the site, with Ross saying the commercial part of the project could come to be in five to eight years.

Councilman David Waddell raised the question of school overcrowding related to the project, also asking about what impact the development will have on law enforcement needs in Indian Trail. Deputies contracted through the Union County Sheriff’s Office currently protect the town, and an assessment is in the works to judge if Indian Trail has an adequate number of deputies. Waddell was told Tuesday night that the assessment will take the new project into account when giving town leaders a projection of how many deputies are needed to maintain or improve response time in Indian Trail.

The town currently estimates annual taxes will approach $2 million at Southgate, while construction will create 1,500 temporary jobs and the finished project will create 286 permanent jobs.

The project also will contribute to road improvements in the area – including $180,000 worth of work from the developer pledged toward fixing the Poplin and Rocky River intersection. It is likely a roundabout will be constructed and sight lines improved at what town staff referred to as a dangerous crossing.

The developer also will set aside two acres for an emergency responder facility, which will be donated to the Hemby Bridge Fire Department which covers the area. It also will provide a pedestrian connection from the single-family home neighborhood to Poplin Elementary.

“I hope you find it to be a real asset to the community,” said Andy Rathkey, with the developer.

The project was approved by a 4-1 vote, with Waddell voting against the proposal.

Town leaders also voted Tuesday night to approve the 207-home Union Grove subdivision, which will be built on Unionville Indian Trail Road east of Faith Church Road.

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