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Denver residents voice concerns about SHEA Homes development

Jaclyn Anthony / Lincoln Times-News Tony Matthews, Hunter’s Bluff resident, voices his concerns about a proposed SHEA Homes development in Denver on Thursday.

ELIZABETH HEFFNER

Staff Writer

Denver residents met for a second time to learn more information regarding the construction of a new 600-acre adult living community near East Lincoln High School on Thursday, and some were skeptical about portions of the plan.

SHEA Homes plans to build 1,650 units for an “adult active lifestyle community.”

Planning Consultant Walter Fields and SHEA Communities Marketing General Manager Jay Seymoure along with Lincoln County Planning Director Andrew Bryant led the discussion.

According to Seymoure, the community would cater to citizens ages 55 and older. However, up to 300 of the homes will permit non-age restricted housing for single families. The land in consideration is located on the south side of N.C. 73 and the west side of Little Egypt Road in the Catawba Springs Township.

At the Nov. 14 meeting, Fields said developers were working with the North Carolina Department of Transportation on a Traffic Impact Analysis study, and that they would present the study’s results by Thanksgiving of 2013. However, due to unforeseen delays with NCDOT, Fields and SHEA Homes officials did not receive NCDOT’s final recommendations until Jan. 9.

During the meeting, Pace Development Group consultant Stephen Pace addressed the new traffic changes with audience members. According to Pace, the company plans to extend the left turn lane in front of East Lincoln High School to better accommodate bus traffic. A traffic signal will also be installed in front of the school.

“On Little Egypt Road, as you’re going away from the school, we’ll add a right turn lane and a left turn lane as you’re coming into Highway 73,” Pace said.

Pace’s presentation on the proposed traffic construction did little to appease audience members.

Hunter’s Bluff resident Tony Matthews said that the traffic study was invalid, as NCDOT did not take into consideration the Hunter’s Bluff neighborhood. According to him, these neighborhood roads are often used as shortcut between the major roads.

“If the traffic study didn’t take into consideration Hunter’s Bluff, then it was not a complete and accurate DOT study,” Matthews said. “You can speak all you want about your grandiose plans, but if the plan is not taking into account the impact on Hunter’s Bluff and Oxford Hunt, then it is incomplete…DOT has dropped the ball.”

Bryant said that while the Department of Transportation did not consider Hunter’s Bluff in their traffic study, they are aware of the residents’ concerns. He further stated that the department plans to continue monitoring the neighborhood in case further action is required.

Another resident expressed concern regarding whether the area’s infrastructure could feasibly handle a population spike.

“We’re forcing this kind of development before the infrastructure is in place,” she said. “The infrastructure is just not there for 1,650 additional homes.”

While most of the discussion was spent addressing traffic concerns, a few community members interested in purchasing SHEA homes questioned Seymoure on the predicted cost of a home in the development and amenities offered. According to Seymoure, the floor plans will range between 1200 to 3700 square feet.

“They’re generally three bedrooms and a den or two bedrooms and a den,” Seymoure said. “The couples that move into these homes are generally downsizing, but we really want them to be able to maximize the amenities that are offered.”

He estimated the projected price to range from $165,000 to $350,000 as a base home price. If approved by the county, Seymoure predicts construction to begin by the end of this year. The company is currently looking at a seven-year build-out plan, constructing approximately 200 homes per year.

The Planning Board and County Commissioners will further discuss the SHEA homes proposal at a public hearing on Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Citizens Center.

 

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