By Yustin Riopko
INDIAN TRAIL – Developers are working with town leaders to introduce Poplin Village, a 155-acre housing and commercial community on Rocky River and Unionville-Indian Trail roads.
The planning board met Dec. 18 about the expansive project involving 336 townhomes, 207 single-family detached homes, a 21-acre commercial district and a five-acre park. Board members voted unanimously to recommend town council’s approval of the rezoning request that would allow for this development.
MT Land – the development company behind Poplin Village – envisions an area you could live at, or drive to, and walk around for a day. Paul Shriver, land manager for MT Land, said the goal is to have a pedestrian-friendly community.
“The commercial centers have walking trails throughout the neighborhood,” Shriver said. “So they’ll provide easy access from anywhere in the neighborhood for people to walk up to the retail centers – not have to be driving up to get there.”
He also said the company hopes to land a drive-through restaurant that’s “a little bit nicer,” like Zaxby’s or Chick-fil-A, and a higher-end gas station to supplement the type of residential it’s aiming for. MT already has confirmation for a Publix grocery store.
Poplin Village would have a nicer architectural standard, sporting townhomes and single-family houses with Hardie board, brick and stone exteriors on 50- to 60-foot lots. On the inside, the 1,500- to 1,800-square-foot houses would typically have three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a one-car garage. Prices for townhomes begin around $200,000 to $250,000, with prices for single-family detached houses ranging from $265,000 up to $400,000.
A $1 million outdoor amenity center will include a clubhouse with an 1,800-squarefoot meeting room, a 4,500 square-foot pool with two kids’ areas, a playground and sports facilities, like basketball and volleyball courts.
Five acres are being reserved at the front of the community for a park, which would be owned and maintained either by the town or the homeowner’s association.
Senior Planner Katie See said the rezoning is consistent with the town’s comprehensive and area plans.
“The proposed request will give the opportunity to establish a unique identity in this area,” See told the board. “The provision of these multiple uses will enable the creation of a sense of place. [It] will promote compatibility of land uses between the residential neighborhood and retail uses. It will also provide multiple housing options.”
Locally owned and operated, MT Land has been in the Charlotte area over 30 years. They currently have eight projects, which represent 9,000 new home sites.
The project is expected to roll out in three phases, with a little bit of each aspect coming at a time. Shriver expects some commercial pieces to fall into place as early as phase one, because of the community’s proximity to the bypass, as well as to other neighborhoods like Bonterra and Annandale. Houses may come in 2020, with completion of all three stages as early as 2024.
Planning board member Sydney Sandy raised the concern of noise with Poplin Village being so close to the highway. Shriver explained that at $3 million, a barrier wall was out of the question. However, there will be a 75-foot planting buffer of large trees and shrubs to reduce noise from the road at the few apartments that do actually back up to the highway.
“Most of the homes have Poplin Village Drive between them and the bypass,” Shriver said. “So you have the buffer and the road before you get to your first set of houses. We spent a lot of time taking that into consideration when we were laying this site out.”
Board member Cheryl Mimy raised the concern that more homes means more strain on Union County Public Schools.
Shriver admitted there’s only so much developers can do to alleviate the pressure created by Charlotte’s growth, but he thinks the problem will resolve itself.
“The tax dollars and things of that nature with this type of commercial development – it does help add revenue to the system,” Shriver said. “It’s a concern everywhere I go. One of the nice things is with a neighborhood like this, at higher price points, the families come in and spend a little more time at the PTA meetings. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, so to speak. So doing these types of communities helps. There is some initial impact on schools and roads, but these types of people are very involved with the school system.”
The planning board is only the first stop in getting this project and rezoning approved.
“The planning board consists of citizens in Indian Trail,” board chairman Dennis Gay said. “We’re all neighbors and we’re all here for one reason. That’s to make Indian Trail a better place… If you are happy with what we recommend, that’s great. But if you disagree with what we think, then the next step would be to go to the town council meeting and let them – let town council members – know how you feel.”
The seven-parcel area of land doesn’t fully belong to Indian Trail. The request calls for unincorporated Union County land to be incorporated into Indian Trail. Then, developers want the parcels currently zoned for rural single-family use to be rezoned for planned unit development. That would make space in the community for commercial use and allow a higher housing density of five homes per acre.