Opposition raised to new apartments


By Tom Joyce - tjoyce@civitasmedia.com



A Jamestown firm that already has successfully developed one Mount Airy apartment complex and is in the process of launching another has encountered some opposition in its plans for a third.

The most recent endeavor by Wynnefield Properties Inc. involves the proposed Danbury Pointe Apartments, a 60-unit project eyed for a site at 384 Old Toast Road.

It is located off West Pine Street (N.C. 89) near its interchange with U.S. 52-Bypass and is now in the extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) zone — an area just outside the city limits but still under municipal zoning control.

One of the first steps for making the new multi-family development a reality involves a decision by the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners during its meeting today at 2 p.m. regarding a request by Wynnefield Properties.

The Jamestown firm has petitioned the city government to annex and rezone the 5.6-acre parcel on Old Toast Road targeted for the project.

The commissioners are expected to vote today to set a public hearing on the proposed annexation/rezoning for their next meeting on April 20 at 7 p.m., which will give citizens the opportunity to speak in favor of or against the move.

Initial opposition

Some opposition already has surfaced ahead of the public hearing.

During a March 27 meeting of the Mount Airy Planning Board, an advisory group to the commissioners on zoning and related matters, several adjacent property owners voiced objections to the annexation and rezoning request.

Neighboring property owners are sent notification letters when such requests are filed for particular parcels.

Despite that opposition, the planning board voted 6-0 to recommend approval of Wynnfield Properties’ petition by the commissioners, who are not bound by that recommendation.

The present owner of the Old Toast Road land is local businessman E.D. Bray III, according to planning department documents.

It is now zoned a combination of R-20 (Residential) and M-1 (Industrial). Wynnfield Properties is seeking to have that changed, in conjunction with the annexation, to the municipality’s B-2 CD (General Business-Conditional District) zone.

Conditional zoning typically refers to flexibility for the use of land in a way not otherwise permitted within a particular zone, which may be allowed as long as certain conditions are met.

Earlier projects

Wynnefield Properties first developed Edgewood Place in Mount Airy several years ago, a 56-unit apartment complex on Edgewood Drive near Walmart.

This was followed in early 2015 with plans by the firm to build the Jasper Pointe apartment complex. It is a 60-unit project eyed for a 5.35-acre site in the 100 block of North Franklin Road near the Pipers Gap Road intersection, which the city rezoned to accommodate.

That apartment complex was delayed by Wynnfield Properties’ failure to be awarded highly competitive federal tax credits by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency to aid the construction. The Jamestown firm later reapplied successfully for those credits, a critical form of financing which also can make rent costs lower.

While no construction activity has been noted at the North Franklin Road site, the apartment project is poised to begin, according to Martin Collins, the city’s community-development director.

“It was funded,” Collins said Tuesday of Jasper Pointe being awarded the tax credits, paving the way for a site plan review process to begin.

“I guess the next steps will be for them (Wynnefield Properties) to actually acquire the property from the property owner and start their site work.”

Danbury Pointe Apartments, the project now planned for Old Toast Road, lies within about a one-mile radius of the Jasper Pointe site, an area that also includes Whistlers Cove. It is a 56-unit apartment complex for senior citizens on West Virginia Street which has opened in the past five years, built by Weaver-Kirkland Development of Greensboro.

Collins said there is no particular reason for such a cluster of new housing in one area, explaining that this is largely a matter of geography.

“We don’t have very many properties in Mount Airy that are really large enough to accommodate 60 units of apartments,” the community-development director said in discussing the site on Old Toast Road.

“That was just one of the places.”

Housing studies in recent years have indicated that Mount Airy has lacked sufficient rental units to adequately serve the community and much of that stock was older and in need of repair.

By Tom Joyce

tjoyce@civitasmedia.com

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

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