WESLEY CHAPEL – Wesley Chapel has been encouraging neighboring towns and villages to urge county commissioners to maintain low-density zoning around municipalities.
Developers have been targeting sites just outside of Wesley Chapel’s borders with housing projects at a higher density than the village allows. Rezoning decisions in unincorporated areas are approved by county commissioners.
The Wesley Chapel Village Council passed a resolution on July 8 calling on county commissioners to maintain R-40 zoning around its borders. R-40 zoning requires minimum lot sizes of 40,000 square feet with at least a 40-foot setback from the street.
“The Village of Wesley Chapel recognizes that a large majority of citizens in Wesley Chapel and in neighboring areas are not in favor of high-density development and wish to preserve the current standard of living and not become urbanized,” according to the resolution.
The resolution also notes that high-density development puts a burden on infrastructure by allowing growth to outpace improvements.
Wesley Chapel Mayor Brad Horvath noted during the meeting that when the N.C. Department of Transportation evaluates road projects, they consider current land use and zoning. But when a town or the county rezones an area to allow smaller lot sizes, such as 8,000 square feet as opposed to 40,000, “they blow that whole thing to bits.”
Since the July 8 meeting, Horvath has written neighboring communities asking them to consider approving similar resolutions.
“We understand that the county and municipalities have the right to make decisions regarding individual project requests due to whatever considerations are being proposed,” Horvath wrote in a July 10 letter to mayors and councils. “However when a rezoning request seeks to have the property move from R-40 to R-8, then the impacts have been magnified greatly.”
This includes water, sewer and schools, he said.
Horvath’s letter prompted Stallings Councilwoman Lynda Paxton to add the item to the Aug. 12 Stallings Town Council agenda. Paxton wasn’t able to attend the meeting, but she wrote her support of it in an Aug. 5 memo to council.
“I think it’s important that we support our neighboring communities, in adoption of a resolution from Stallings,” Paxton wrote. “The resolution deals primarily with housing but the county allowed the property next to Woodbridge to be used as storage for dirt for construction. That has been a problem for the Woodbridge community as well as an eyesore and continues to pose a frequent traffic hazard with tracks going in and out.”
Stallings Councilwoman Deborah Romanow said during the Aug. 12 meeting that she didn’t support the resolution.
“We are that unique town that borders municipalities from Mecklenburg County and Union County, and people pass through us. We can’t do anything about that. We can’t prevent them from coming into our town. With our small area plans in place, I think we committed that high-density development in certain areas of our town are the direction we wanted to go and we felt was best for the town.”