City approves town home development with tremendous open space

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, October 4, 2022

SALISBURY — City Council members unanimously approved annexation and zoning changes on a 19-acre parcel on Old Concord Road that will allow for the development of 108 town homes, while leaving 44 percent of the land as open space.

The parcel is adjacent to the city line and inside the city’s ETJ or extraterritorial jurisdiction, and next to the existing Stone Ridge development.

NVR Inc., the developer, is the fourth largest publicly traded homebuilder in the country, and their plans match the future goals of the city in creating smaller footprint developments, leaving open space and trees in place.

“This is what you get when you have a compact development,” said Cindy Reid from the Urban Law Group. “A lot of trees saved, and a larger perimeter buffer.”

Land Entitlement Manager for NVR Scott Munday said the smaller building footprints and larger open space “are designed to foster social interactions and spending time outdoors.” He said looking at the city’s proposed Forward 2040 plans, “it does contemplate exactly what we are proposing.”

The change in zoning meant that the required 50-foot frontage normally required will be relaxed and Munday noted that the buildings, which can contain either three or four units, would have frontages of 40, 32 or 24 feet depending on location. Each unit will have a garage with carriage doors and windows, and units will have different colors to set them apart. Units will be between 1,500 and 1,600 square feet, and though the project is about two years from anticipated selling dates, the anticipated price tag will be “well into the $300,000s,” said Munday.

Paul Mitchell, former HOA president for Stone Ridge, said a year ago “Scott held a Zoom meeting with us and he was very open and honest with us.” He said Munday even drove around the neighborhood then went back to the design and added more buffer. “I’m no longer the president so I’m speaking as a private individual now, but considering what could be on this property — an apartment complex or cookie cutter single-family homes — I think this is preferable.”

Stone Ridge resident William McKinley was not so sold.

“I don’t have a problem with the annexation,” he said. “I do have a problem with 108 units in my back door. And with that number of units, you’re talking 216 cars added to Old Concord Road, and I don’t know how that’s going to affect traffic, not sure how the road can handle it. It’s going to be a mess. I would prefer they build single-family homes.”

Mayor Pro Tem Tamara Sheffield asked Senior Planner Victoria Bailiff if she could share the traffic plan.

“For this development, they will have right and left turn lanes,” said Bailiff, referring to the drawing of the proposal, “and DOT has reviewed the plans and so far, given their OK.” She added that DOT will have to approve permits for the roadwork, but did not appear to see any potential issues.

“Most of the green space appears to be to the north,” said Council member David Post, “so Mr. McKinley I believe will back up on green space and not town houses. We are sorely lacking town homes in Salisbury, and I think there will be a significant demand for this kind of living in the future. Maybe it’s my age, but I have a town home in Washington, D.C., and I absolutely love it.”

Munday added that the company does not build “on spec; we build as we sell, so we’ll sell three or four units in a group, then build, then sell units in the next group and so on.”

The next step will be the submission of specific design plans, which Munday said should take two to three months.