By Yustin Riopko
INDIAN TRAIL – A developer is looking to build 127 houses and 119 townhomes on Poplin Road near Bonterra Village Way. First, Indian Trail Town Council has to annex the 58.4-acre site from Union County and approve the zoning request.
The new neighborhood would be called Greenwich Downs.
Developers presented a similar project to Union County one year ago involving apartments instead of townhomes. Union County turned that version down, and now developers are asking Indian Trail to pick up the property and approve their updated concept.
John Ross, of Eagle Engineering, presented plans on behalf of Ingram Walters for the Greenwich Downs at the Aug. 11 town council meeting.
“Many will recognize this project did go through the county a little over a year ago,” Ross said. “This is not the same project that was presented and denied by the county. I can’t iterate that enough.”
The applicant team has worked closely with the town and existing neighbors, in one case doubling the width of a buffer to honor an agreement made between a nearby resident and Union County during the last project’s consideration.
Town Planner Brandi Deese said Greenwich Downs is consistent with Indian Trail’s Secrest Short Cut Road Small Area Plan, which calls for a mix of medium and high density residential development there.
Ross predicted the houses would be at least 1,400 square feet, starting over $300,000 and extending above $400,000. The townhomes would be in the 1,300-square-foot range and could cost around $250,000 to $350,000.
Six residents of the nearby neighborhood Bonterra Village voiced numerous concerns, some by email. Deese read the public comments.
“I’m opposed to any more development in our area until infrastructure improvements are made to the water and sewer systems and the schools are able to accommodate more students,” Patty McAllister wrote. “I’m not against development, but I am against over-development and decisions made without input from neighboring communities that would be most affected.”
A school impact study projected Greenwich Downs would bring 148 new students to the area.
Evan Buckingham wrote, “I myself have already had issues with water pressure and air quality. I had childhood asthma. More homes, more cars and more demand for Indian Trail’s limited resources will not help Indian Trail in the long run.”
Mike Everett, Bonterra Village HOA board president, said his community addressed the issue with Union County last year.
“A traffic study has been completed but it [wasn’t] with the new homes going in on the other side of us,” Everett said. “This is the new 55 and over community on the other side of Bonterra Village, where it’s going to tie back into our utilities – our sewer, our water and our roads.”
To accommodate new traffic in the area, Eagle Engineering intends to widen part of Poplin Road to three lanes as well as add left turn lanes and tapers at all of the community’s entrances. A new right turn lane will make for easier access at the site’s main entrance.
Some Bonterra homeowners fear that won’t be enough.
“Traffic is already not that good,” resident Dave Holland said. “It’s two lanes most everywhere. If you build a new subdivision, adding a third lane is really not going to solve the overall traffic problem. I think the number-one concern for everybody is infrastructure for water and sewers. That’s something that’s going to take longer to take care of.”
Mayor Pro Tem Marcus McIntyre thanked Ross for listening to the town’s concerns and trying to find a “happy medium” that’s still within the town’s vision.
“I definitely like the approach here,” McIntyre said. “Where the townhomes are proposed, they do fit in terms of what’s there being constructed. I think it’s a good compromise in terms of removing the apartments and coming in with less density.”
Ross believes Greenwich Downs would contribute to a natural transition between the area’s existing neighborhoods and the townhomes already under construction there.
Council members could vote as soon as Aug. 25 whether to move forward with Greenwich Downs.