China Grove Town Council approves Shue Road apartment complex, considers other residential development

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, October 6, 2021

CHINA GROVE — The China Grove Town Council on Tuesday night approved a special use permit request that will pave the way for a 240-unit apartment complex to be built on Shue Road.

The special use permit was requested by Huntersville-based developer Chris La Mack doing business under Shue Fits LLC. The complex will be constructed on 16.3 acres at the 200 block of Shue Road, not far from the intersection with Main Street near U.S. 29. The complex will be located directly south of the planned Kensington subdivision, a 174-single family home development approved by the town council in August.

The special use permit was unanimously passed by the China Grove Planning Board last month.

La Mack pointed to increased economic development in the area and a dearth of housing as reasons why he is keen on building apartments at the site.

“We like what’s happening in this area,” La Mack said. “We like this location. (It’s) close to the new interchange of (U.S.) 29 and I-85. It’s close to the logistics center that I think is about to break ground with probably 600 to 1,000 jobs coming to this area. We understand that there has been a lot of residential in the past few months that has passed and our thinking is that there is a definite need for rental type apartments for residential use.”

The apartment complex as approved will be composed of nine separate three-story buildings. The two largest buildings closest to Shue Road will contain 36 units and the other seven buildings will have 24 units each. There will be a clubhouse, pool, detached garages and several hundred parking spaces on the property as well.

La Mack said the complex will feature a mix of one, two and three bedroom units, but he said the exact number of each unit has not been determined. The average size of the units will be between 900-950 square feet and rent will likely start around $1,000-$1,100 for the one bedroom apartments.

Construction on the apartments will likely begin within a year and will take about two years to complete.

The Town Council unanimously approved the complex, but tacked on the condition that the four apartment buildings with frontage on Shue Road have sides of fibrous boards and not vinyl. The council also discussed concerns about traffic on Shue Road after Jason Higgins, a member of the town’s planning board, broached the topic during a public hearing on the special use permit request.

“I’m really for the apartments. I’m on the planning board. I might’ve even made the motion to send it to (town council), but I’m concerned with the traffic on Shue Road, especially with this 240-unit apartment complex on a road with a school on each end of it,” Higgins said. “It’s already a headache to get in and out of.”

Town council members agreed that traffic on Shue Road is becoming a problem. Councilman Steve Stroud said the traffic in the area is terrible, but he liked that the complex will be apartments.

“We are apartment short,” Stroud said. “It seems in this society, there are many more transient people than there used to be. People aren’t looking to buy a house and live in it for 40 years. They’re looking for an apartment for four or five years and then move on to somewhere else. I’m with you on the apartments.”

The apartment will have two deceleration lanes for drivers to use when entering the complex while traveling northbound on Shue Road.

After approving the special use permit, the town council considered another residential development planned for the south end of Delta Street between I-85 and Town Creek near Hitachi Metals. The development is being referred to as the Delta Street Major Subdivision and is being proposed by national homebuilder D.R. Horton.

“We are the largest builder in America,” said Marty Davis, land entitlement manager for D.R. Horton. “We are in about 90 markets. We closed over 80,000 homes last year, nearly 6,000 homes in Charlotte.”

The company plans to construct 103 townhomes and 113 single-family homes for a total of 216 units in a neighborhood featuring a pool, playground and cabana. The neighborhood would be managed by a Homeowners Association set up by D.R. Horton after it is completed.

“Our intention is to build a community here,” Davis said. “We put a lot of emphasis on the entrance features and the appearance, the curb appeal and our amenities. We bring people together and help create that sense of community. That’s who we are.”

Before the company builds the subdivision, it needs the town council to approve a conditional rezoning request. The 55.3-acre parcel of land where D.R. Horton wants to place the neighborhood is currently zoned I-85 Economic Development Two, but the company is requesting it to be zoned mixed residential. 

The land itself is actually in Rowan County’s jurisdiction, but D.R. Horton is applying for it to be annexed. Since that process is not complete, the China Grove Town Council could only hold a public hearing and discuss the project on Tuesday night. However, no action to approve or deny the request was allowed.

On behalf of Cornerstone Church, located at 315 Webb Road, Pastor Brandon Spiker spoke in favor of the proposed development.

Another China Grove resident stepped forward to proclaim her disapproval of the project. She said the town’s schools were already full and that she moved her family to the area to get away from similar developments.

Davis said his company had been assured by Anthony Vann, chief operations officer with Rowan-Salisbury Schools, that there was room for growth in the local schools.

Stroud said he was “not saying no” to the development, but did express his reluctance due to the proposed 50-foot minimum lot sizes and the fact that it could take away from industrial development in the area. Small lot sizes have been a sticking point for the town council when considering previous residential developments. Davis said the company thought it had reached a compromise with the China Grove Planning Board, which unanimously approved the subdivision, by agreeing to not have the siding of the houses be composed of vinyl.

Mayor Pro-Tem Rodney Phillips said it wasn’t the lot sizes that made him skeptical about approving the development, but it was the fact that it would take away 55-acres of land for economic development.

The China Grove Town Council will likely hold a public hearing regarding the Delta Street development at its December meeting, at which point the council may elect to take action.

The council also moved its Nov. 2 meeting from 6 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. due to it being on election day. Voting will take place from 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. More information about the municipal election can be found online at www.rowancountync.gov/191/Elections.