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Drummond Village residents voice opposition to subdivision extension

SALISBURY — Over the course of a nearly two-hour discussion Tuesday evening, about a dozen Drummond Village residents said they oppose the idea of an extension of their subdivision.

Developer True Homes has proposed constructing a 150-lot subdivision just north of Drummond Village but needs to get the property rezoned before construction can begin.

The City Council had to vote on whether to allow for that rezoning at its Tuesday meeting.

Residents cited concerns about potentially higher homeowner’s association fees, increased traffic, and smaller lot and house sizes in the extension that they said could lower their own property values.

During his report on the rezoning that would allow for Phase 2 of Drummond Village, Planning and Development Manager Preston Mitchell said the original plan for the subdivision was created in 2002 and involved four phases.

The Drummond Village subdivision that exists today has 26 homes and is Phase 1 of that 2002 plan.

Mitchell said that plan, which promised amenities like a golf course and had similarly sized homes proposed in its first and second phases, was “significantly revised” by the developers in 2007.

Then, because of the 2008 recession, only Phase 1 of the four-phase plan was finished.

Many of the residents who spoke during the public hearing said they had never been notified that the original developer backed out of building the rest of the subdivision.

Many also said they bought houses in the neighborhood because of the original developer’s vision.

“What about the ethical implications of what the original homeowners were told by the developer when they were buying these homes?” asked Drummond Village Homeowners Association President Mark Hill. “That … this particular neighborhood was going to be this particular way with these particular homes. … And then all that gets ripped out.”

Hill said it is “disingenuous” to call the proposed new subdivision Drummond Village.

“It’s not Drummond Village; it’s something else,” Hill said. “I don’t know what it is, but it’s not us.”

Hill, as well as other residents, said they are worried that the homes in the proposed new subdivision — which would be, on average, smaller than the ones in their neighborhood — would lower their property values.

“My home is 3,965 square foot,” said Mark Dixon. “It’s valued at about $235,000. And with them bringing in 1,200-square-foot homes … I just think it’s going to bring down the value of our property. My wife and I, we bought this house as an investment.”

Mitchell said general statutes prohibit the city from regulating developers based on square footage.

Jane Lingle asked the council members to block off the road that would connect the two subdivisions and make them two separate communities.

“Let us have our own community — because that’s what we are, a community — and then they can have their community with their HOA (and) their access points,” Lingle said.

Mitchell said that because the connectedness of the phases was in the original approved plan, the phases must be connected moving forward.

Traffic generated by limited access points and the idea of separate HOAs were addressed by several other residents as well.

“When I look at this … I really care about 150 homes in there and having a 5-year-old little girl and 15 other kids that play around my house when those 300 cars are going to town,” Satterfield said.

Resident LaMont Andrews said he would be OK with the arrangement if the two neighborhoods had separate HOAs.

“And if their HOA wants to step in and pick up the bill or speak with our HOA or see if they can come together to spread those finances out and our community can be maintained properly, I’m pretty sure we’ll be fine,” Andrews said.

Resident Ivy Wolfe said she has no problem with True Homes.

“I looked you up. You do wonderful homes in lots of nice neighborhoods,” Wolfe said. “So we’re happy that you’re going to develop that neighborhood, but you see our point. We can’t be part of your neighborhood because you’re building an entirely different neighborhood.”

Donna Cook of True Homes said the company would be open to not naming the new subdivision Drummond Village and to having a separate HOA.

Because of the number of residents’ concerns, the council voted unanimously to table the vote on whether to rezone the land until its next meeting.

In the meantime, True Homes and Drummond Village representatives are to meet and go over the concerns to try to come up with joint solutions.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.

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