SOUTHERN PINES — The Southern Pines Town Council met Tuesday, where they held a public hearing for the Morganton Park South Preliminary Development Plan.
The hearing was a continuation of the June 14 meeting where the PDP was first presented to the council.
“This item has two recognized deviation requests, one being a reduction in parking and the other being an increase in the number of dwelling units or the density related to those dwelling units,” said Principal Planner Pam Graham. “There was also some discussion about the orientation of the buildings and whether they needed to address the public street or the private street that runs through the development.”
The deviation requests were to reduce the number of parking spots required by the development from 507 to 434, but more controversially, to allow the units per acre on the development from 16 to 20.4.
The council raised concerns with the density figures as they were reluctant to grant special permission for a higher density allotment in case it would set an unwanted precedent.
“Ideally, if this is granted, I want to make sure the other parcels don’t turn crazy and over-dense,” said council member Bill Pate.
There was also concern over the deviation request as it arose because the initial plans incorrectly had the requested density in line with the UDO standards.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize that we made a little mistake when we did the CDP, and we recognize there’s a conflict between the number of units projected for the entire CDP and the 16 units per acre stated in our plan,” said John Silverman President of Midland Atlantic Development Company. “So, we realize that may come back to adversely impact us in the future if our unit count goes from 650 to whatever the number would be. But it’s incredibly important that we start out on the right foot for the first phase of this development.”
The concerns from the applicants for allowing the deviation centered around the financial plan that was originally planned out for the Municipal Services District that the council recently approved.
“The financial models that were created to support the MSD made assumptions about what development would occur,” Silverman said. “In the event that either of the densities in the projects was reduced, then it takes the anticipated tax revenue that’s going to fund the MSD, that we jointly approved, and reduce it. In essence, we’d be starting to fund the MSD in a hole and have to try and dig us and the town collectively out of it. A reduction to the density below what we had all anticipated when we approved the MSD would put additional risk on us and the town as the entity that’s going to be obtaining debt for that MSD payment.”
After some deliberation and advice from Planning Director BJ Grieve, the council approved the application and granted the deviation requests on the condition that the development will not exceed a total of 483 multi-family units with the granted density permissions.
The council then approved three Architectural Compliance Permit for an Ace Hardware commercial development south of Airport Road, west of NC Hwy 22 and east of the Sandhills Community College, a Discount Tire commercial development located in the Urban Village Highway Corridor Overlay west of Pinehurst Avenue and east of US 15-501 Hwy and a retail building located in the Morganton Park South planned development.
The Southern Pines Town Council will next meet on August 9.