China Grove citizens raise concerns about housing development annexation

Published 12:10 am Sunday, October 2, 2022

CHINA GROVE — A development on the north side of Mount Hope Church Road that will contain 268 new houses is being touted as a way to bring more housing options to China Grove, along with recreational facilities.

However, the land being considered by Ellis Development Group is on a district-designated property, meaning the China Grove Town Council will have to change the property’s zoning before the project can move forward.

The residents in the area have only heard within the last two months of plans for expansion at Mount Hope and Menius roads. After further examining the development plan, some area homeowners have begun to question just how positive the expansion is.

The total net acreage of the proposed annexation site is 140 acres, but only 125 will be used for the construction of homes. The housing development will also include a dog park and playground to be situated on the south portion of the land, with an existing pond on the northeast portion.

According to the application submitted to the town, the project fits into the Rural Residential category of the China Grove Land Use plan, which reads “Rural Residential districts are designed for residential purposes that preserve the existing rural character, while offering larger lots.”

The proposed plan calls for two to three houses per acre.

The China Grove Town Council will revisit the proposition on Tuesday, when a motion will be made to either approve or reject the annexation.

Eighteen community members met Tuesday night at Bostian Heights Fire Department to discuss concerns about the project and what possible action to take before the council meets. Primary concerns are increased traffic and potential effects on drinking water.

“If that development gets stacked up with police and firefighters, what happens when there is an emergency in the southeast of China Grove?” asked Nelson Barbee, who lives across from the project area. He was worried about emergency vehicles not having a second exit. “My concern is one way in, one way out.”

According to the map of the rezoning plan, access to the housing development will be at Menius Road, with one main entrance and one emergency entrance.

Statistics show that if each house had two cars, the total vehicles in the proposed development would be 536 cars, not including motor homes, RVs and motorcycles. With this estimate, road safety and having enough room to drive through were additional concerns. The idea was raised that residents could resort to parking on the streets and hydrants could potentially be blocked, even though it is illegal to do so.

“I’ve been backed up a quarter of a mile on Menius Road trying to get on Interstate 85,” Baxter Gardner said. “I’m surprised at the state for allowing a development with one entrance and one exit.”

Because the homes are being built on concrete foundations, community members question how much water can be absorbed into the soil for wells. Additionally, those at the meeting questioned how clean the water could be from runoff that will end up in creeks, potentially polluting freshwater.

The residents, concerned that not enough study has been done of the issues that concern them, plan to draft a petition, asking that the annexation project be reviewed further instead of making a final decision Tuesday.

The members planned go door to door until Tuesday in the area to acquire as many signatures as possible in the hopes of getting town officials to pause before voting.

Patty Shuping said she was not opposed to development, but that a “good development is a controlled development.” After having car trouble on Mount Hope Church Road the previous week, she said she counted 300 cars driving down the road in the span of 15 minutes.

“Look at growth in China Grove as a positive thing,” she said. “Whether we know it or not, our opinions matter. Numbers matter.”

“There are too many animals that are going to lose their homes,” said Howard “J.R.” Peacock, who finds himself close to the local wildlife. “Our animals have a right, too.”

China Grove will hold another public hearing at town hall at 6 p.m. Tuesday about the annexation.

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