Meeting set to discuss apartments

Published 11:02 am Friday, June 17, 2016

The developer who wants to build a 120-unit apartment complex on South Main Street will host a public meeting at 6 p.m. Friday, June 24, on the cul de sac at Cabell’s Court.

Ward A Councilman Greg Cole helped to organize the meeting.

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“The idea of the resident meeting came from a series of conversations I had with the mayor, town manager and citizens following the joint public hearing,” Cole said, “A majority of the people I talked to were not opposed to the apartment complex but had legitimate concerns about the project. I thought it would be best to arrange a meeting for residents of the Greens South so that they could have an opportunity to express their concerns and have a dialog with the developer.”

Russell Harper of Farmville Associates LLC is hosting the meeting.

According to Mayor David Whitus, the meeting is “for the residents of the Green South to discuss any impact on quality-of-life issues like lighting and noise.”

“It is being done on site so the residents and the developer can view the property in question and see boundaries, proposed buffers, etc,” said Whitus.   

Town Manager Gerry Spates said, “I think what they’re going to end up doing is putting the buffer fencing up, a section of it, to show them how it’s going to look.” He said this will give residents an idea of the exact location of the fence and apartment complex.

Cole added: “I think this is a critical part of the project’s development, that the quality- of-life issues raised by the residents of Greens South during the public hearing are properly addressed in order to minimize any potential negative effects associated with an apartment complex.”

Whitus and Spates stated the importance of residents seeing in person the plans for the apartment complex.

“It’s an opportunity for the residents of the Greens South to interact directly with the developer to hear and discuss ideas as to how the apartment complex will directly affect their neighborhood,” Whitus said. 

Spates said, “I think it’s a matter of having a community meeting and explaining the project and showing how it’s going to impact the community.”

The meeting comes in response to mixed community reactions to the proposed development between Walmart and Greens South. The property is zoned for apartments, which require a conditional use permit from the town council.

A divided planning commission recommended the permit at a special meeting on May 23.

The permit approval is now pending the town council’s vote. The vote has been postponed until after the open community meeting, officials said, so that residents will have an opportunity to voice concerns and Harper can answer any questions they may have.

On July 13, during the monthly council meeting, council members will vote on the permit, said Spates. “The decision is up to council on what conditions they want to put on it.”

As I see it, there are two issues that must be addressed: Greens South residents’ quality of life and Main Street traffic,” said Cole. “The intent of this meeting is to fully investigate and discuss quality-of-life issues. The issue concerning Main Street traffic will be taken up in a separate process that is yet to be determined.”

Harper, in an interview with The Herald’s managing editor and publisher last week, said he would have as many meetings as necessary to answer citizens’ questions.

According to Cole, Greens South residents will receive letters inviting them to the meeting. Cole said, “I hope there is a good turnout and that we can have some productive and constructive dialog between the residents and developer.”