Residents oppose apartments on Statesville Boulevard

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Mark Wineka
Residents in the Milford Hills and Meadowbrook neighborhoods are mobilizing against plans for a 104-unit apartment complex at 1229 Statesville Blvd.
“There’s a lot of opposition to that thing,” Lenny Wolfe, a Milford Hills resident, said Monday.
Many neighbors plan to attend a Salisbury Planning Board hearing related to the project at 4 p.m. today. The Planning Board meets at City Hall, 217 S. Main St.
“Three-story apartments would be right out our back door,” said John Whitfield, whose home on Wiltshire Place backs up to the 6-acre site, which was originally proposed for a medical/office park.
Representatives with Crosland Properties of Charlotte met with neighbors March 9 at Milford Hills Baptist Church to discuss plans for what it describes as “workforce housing.”
Workforce housing is targeted to families earning 60 percent or less of the area’s median income.
The area median income for Rowan County is $64,100. The developer says targeted families are employed but earning $38,460 or less.
“Tenants are often employed as entry-level teachers, firemen, police officers, teacher aides, medical technicians and retail or hospitality workers,” Crosland stated in its March 9 presentation.
The proposed rents for “Grants Creek Crossing Apartments” would range from $470 to $800 a month, depending on the income of the tenant or household size.
But nearby residents opposing the project describe it as “low-income” apartments not suited for their office-residential area.
They say they oppose the apartment project because it will worsen traffic on Statesville Boulevard, it’s inconsistent with the building scale of the rest of the area, it will create “an unsightly entrance” to the neighborhood, and it will devalue surrounding properties.
“I think Milford Hills will just start to deteriorate,” Whitfield said. “… This has always been our worst nightmare.”
Opponents went door to door over the past week and circulated their concerns about the project and the need to show up for today’s hearing.
Milbrook Medical Park LLC, the owner, is seeking a Conditional District to replace a previously approved “special” district, when a 2004 site plan for the property was approved to be a medical park.
The proposed modification seeks to remove the S-district and replace it with the Conditional District to allow multi-family housing.
Whitfield said he and others had no problems with a medical park because such a development would have no weekend or evening traffic.
Whitfield said he could even live with a residential development such as Castlewood, which would have one-story residences and individual owners who would take care of their properties.
Grants Creek Crossing Apartments would include seven three-story buildings for apartments, according to plans. Two- and three-bedroom units would be available. The project would have on-site management and a clubhouse.
Other amenities would include a playground, covered picnic areas, a gazebo and open green space, the developer has reported.
“Still, it’s low-rent,” Wolfe said.
Proposed financing for the project would include federal and state tax credits through the N.C. Housing Finance Agency.
Crosland says the apartment proposal is consistent with the Salisbury Vision 2020 comprehensive plan, directly supporting many of the vision statements and contradicting none. It also is consistent with the city’s growth strategy and located within a “primary growth area,” according to the developer.
Crosland has considerable experience building workforce housing and tax credit, multi-family residential projects.
Crosland says it would connect the apartments to the existing greenway and upgrade sidewalk and streetscape along 300 feet of Statesville Boulevard.
The property is located across from Johnny’s Amoco. Longtime Salisbury residents remember it as the Kirkpatrick horse farm. The old farmhouse was moved off the property a couple of years ago.