Meriwood Farm Road rezoning goes back for a vote in Farmville

Published 1:05 am Friday, August 4, 2023

Originally, the plan for the Meriwood Farm Road rezoning was to take a vote during the July meeting of the Farmville Town Council. But there was an issue getting notices out to the neighbors. Instead, discussion over a request by Harper Associates will come before the council during their meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 9. 

The focus here is on two parcels of land in the 300 block of Meriwood Farm Road in Farmville, both owned by Harper Associates. The company wants the 31 acres rezoned from R1 to R2, so they can have a roughly 50/50 split of townhomes and single family houses. The current R1 zoning only allows for single family homes to be built on the property. 

Nearby residents are concerned about the density. Harper Associates say they only plan to put up 90 to 100 homes on the property.

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However, a rezoning would allow for significantly more homes and in the event Harper Associates were to sell the property, promises made now wouldn’t matter. A new developer at that point could come in and build more. That’s what some neighbors of the property have repeatedly said, when discussing the issue before council over the last few months. 

“The actual housing density has been a statement of intent, seemingly not binding,” said Robert Dillman. He’s one of the residents that live in nearby Jessie’s Way. Speaking to the council during their July 12 meeting, he just argued that there’s not enough information to make a decision.

“The actual traffic density that will cause, the affordable housing term, what does that mean in terms of house pricing as well as perhaps minimum square footage?” Dillman said. “Without those specific quantified key factors, it seems like a decision can’t be well made yet.”

Numbers for Meriwood Farm Road

In their application to the town, Harper Associates said their plans were for a 140-home project, with about an even split between townhomes and single family houses. However, in his presentation Wednesday, July 12, Will Allen from Harper Associates placed the number in the high 90s. 

“The memos reference 140 units, and that’s intentional,” Allen said. “The traffic consultant and utility engineer, they typically will go with a higher number out of the gate. They want to be very conservative. They don’t want us to spend a big number, a big investment to do all the engineering work and find that utilities aren’t available on site.” 

Allen told the council at their July meeting that his group didn’t see a market for a project with a number of homes much larger than that in Farmville. Instead, his group is proposing a 50-50 split between smaller lots, single family detached homes and townhomes that would be roughly between 1400 to 2000 square feet. 

He also pointed out that due to the shape of the land, the company would be limited in how many homes could fit.

What happens next? 

A public hearing on the rezoning has been scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 9, beginning at 7 p.m. That’ll be held in the Council Chambers, located on the second floor of Town Hall, located at 116 N. Main Street in Farmville.