Planning board OKs Clawson St. rezoning
by Anna Oakes
The Boone Planning Commission voted 5-3 Monday to recommend
approval of a rezoning request for a 266-unit apartment complex on Clawson
Street in the Perkinsville area of Boone.
Greensboro-based Mega Builders has contracted with Wayne,
Dana and Joy Clawson as well as Anna Greene to purchase about 20 acres for the
10-building complex, with 546 bedrooms planned. The parties’ request is to
rezone four parcels currently zoned R-3 Multi-Family and M-H Manufactured Home
Park to Conditional District R-3 Multi-Family with a site-specific plan.
A mobile home park on the property is scheduled to close
Oct. 4 whether or not the rezoning is approved.
The developer agreed to a number of conditions at the
Planning Commission meeting, including the payment of in-lieu fees of about $52
per linear foot for sidewalk, curb and gutter from Meadow Hill Drive to
Jefferson Road (N.C. 194); traffic improvements, including the realignment of
Clawson Street to connect with Meadow Hill Drive, a four-way stop at the
intersection of Perkinsville Drive, Grove Street and Meadow Hill Drive and the
installation of speed humps and crosswalks; and a buffer to include a
six-foot-high opaque fence and evergreen trees.
Much of the discussion prior to the commission’s vote
related to concerns about traffic and pedestrian and cyclist safety.
Rebecca Glaser, a resident of Wickham Square north of the
proposed development, said, “I’m not happy at all about it,” she said. “It’s
our backyards. I’m very concerned with 500 additional cars. It’s a very
congested area. It’s already hard getting out in the mornings. When you say 500
additional cars, it’s very frightening to me.”
In response to pedestrian and cyclist concerns, engineer
Michael Trew said that a multi-modal (for cyclists and pedestrians)
10-foot-wide sidewalk is proposed for U.S. 421 south of Jefferson Road and that
students can access the sidewalk by using Grove Street.
Several commissioners expressed doubts that complex
residents would bike, walk or use public transit. Commissioner Greg Simmons
said he would rather see high-density complexes closer to the ASU campus.
“There have been other projects much closer to campus that
extensively have been modeled to fit what we said in the 2030 (land use master)
plan related to off-campus housing,” Simmons said, referring to the proposed
Poplar Cove housing project on Poplar Grove Road near campus.
The Planning Commission unanimously voted to recommend
approval of rezoning for the Poplar Cove project, but the Boone Town Council
voted to deny rezoning from R-1 to R-3 for the project in December 2009, citing
safety concerns, doubts about the project’s ability to provide workforce
housing and the need to preserve single-family neighborhoods.
“I do find it frustrating,” Simmons said. “When we fail to
move ahead on those things, it costs us later.”
Simmons also asked the developer about the town’s need for
additional student housing, citing a quote from ASU Vice Chancellor for Student
Development Cindy Wallace in a May article in Watauga Democrat.
“I really think we’re maxed out. I don’t think we need more
housing right now in this town,” Wallace said at the time.
Frank Forde, director of development for Mega Builders,
“With all due respect to the vice chancellor, we think we’re
good at what we do,” Forde said. “There’s a real demand here for student
Forde said Mega Builders’ other projects in Boone —
Mountaineer Village and Studio West — were at 100 percent capacity and that he
has no doubt the Clawson Street project will be at 90 percent capacity in its
first year. So much so, he added, that Mega Builders is investing between $25
and $30 million in the project.
“We believe this is one of the best — if not the best — housing markets in North
The Boone Town Council will consider the rezoning request at during its regular monthly meeting, which takes place Aug. 21 and 23.