By WECT Staff | March 22, 2021 at 7:21 AM EDT – Updated March 22 at 12:11 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – County Commissioners are set to vote on a rezoning that will allow adding an additional 84 apartments on Gordon Road, a road that is already over capacity according to a 2019 NCDOT traffic count; however, the development would increase affordable housing if the rezoning request is granted.
The request comes from Terrorir Development and would rezone roughly 5-acres of land located near the I-40 interchange and adjacent to another large apartment complex, Hawthorne at Smith Creek, and across from the currently under-construction development The Landing at Lewis Creek Estates.
The project, Estrella Landing, has already received favorable recommendations by county staff as well as the county’s Planning Board.
Currently the property is zoned R-15 which would allow for a maximum of 13 dwelling units as it is currently zoned, approval of the request will allow an increase of 71 additional dwelling units.
So what will affordable housing look like if approve?
“The development is considered workforce housing and will be targeted to working families and seniors, whose incomes are 80% or below the area median income. More specifically, the community will consist of 13 – 1 bedroom units, 35 – 2 bedroom units, and 36 – 3 bedroom units. A total of 21 units (25% of the total unit count) will be targeted to residents whose income are 30% or below the area median income, which predominantly consists of seniors and persons with disabilities,” according to the request from the developer.
But, there are other things county leaders will need to consider before approving the request.
Concerns with traffic on Gordon Road have been voiced in the past and a previous traffic impact analysis conducted by the Landing at Lewis Creek Estates estimated the level of service of the roadway at Gordon and College Road to be a ‘D.’ According to a staff report from the county, Gordon Road at the 4400 block has a capacity of just 19,600 but in 2019, was seeing a volume of 22,500. There are traffic improvements planned for Gordon Road, however, they are not expected to even begin for several years.
“Project to widen Gordon Road from the I-40 ramps to Market Street. The widening of Gordon Road will result in the road having four lanes and a center median. The project is currently scheduled to begin in the summer of 2024,” the staff report reads.
The development itself is only expected to add an additional 456 trips in a 24-hour period and 29 total trips during the weekday peak morning hour, and 37 trips during the weekday peak evening hour.
Traffic is just one area of congestion, schools in the area are also overburdened, schools in the area are also operating near or above capacity, and the addition of new apartments, especially those marketed as affordable, will likely generate more students than estimated, according to the staff report.
“Based on a generalized historic generation rate, staff would estimate that the increase in homes would result in approximately 18 additional students than would be generated under current zoning. However, affordable housing developments may be more likely to provide housing for families with school-age children, so the proposed rezoning may generate more students than would be estimated using the historic generation rate,” according to the report.
The staff report concludes that the site plan and rezoning request is inconsistent with the General Residential place type that it is listed as in the 2016 Comprehensive Plan due to the density – but – they are still supportive of the request.
“However, staff is supportive of the proposed development as it is aligned with the goals of the Comprehensive Plan for providing affordable housing and creating complete communities. It is also aligned with the Comprehensive Plan’s intent of providing an orderly transition of uses from higher intensity to lower intensity areas and providing for a range of housing types. The proposed moderate density multi-family housing is also consistent with the existing development pattern of the surrounding area,” according to the staff report.
On March 4, the county’s Planning Board voted 5-0 to recommend the approval of the application and it is currently set to go before the Board of Commissioners on April 5.
Copyright 2021 WECT. All rights reserved.