Belmont and Mt. Holly are both attempting to deal with the massive planned home construction in their own ways. “Belmont City Council has approved construction of 2,269 homes in 17 developments, from condominiums to single-family homes on 68,000-square-foot lots. That would mean about 1,408 more school-age students in Belmont, according to calculations from Gaston County Schools.”
Of course, neither the city or the county schools have the ability to provide land for school construction. The city is averse to requiring developers to provide land in their plans because of a ” building time-frame requirement” for use as imposed by the school board. The county school sytem doesn’t want to specify a site or approximate site due to continued demographic changes.
Last night, August 7, the city council approved the Belmont Estates schematic plans without rezoning or special conditions. However the new plans for this particular project call for a greater density (55′ x 125′ lots), 235 lots, and no second connectivity point out of the project. That means all the traffic will be dumped out onto the two-lane South Point Road, right below the High School. Adrian Miller, staff member of the Belmont Planning Department, said that the project still needs to go through the technical review process and brought back to the P&Z board for approval, then back to council.
Councilmembers, Charlie Flowers and Becky Burch, who oppose planning processes in general under the guise of “property rights”, voted with the majority to allow another development to progress in the bottleneck area around the high school.
Belmont Reserve is another project that is under construction. This project, at the intersection of Eagle Road and South Main Street, is the re-development of the old Belmont Hosiery mill property. 14 units are about three-quarters complete, and signs posted on the windows of 11, say that they are “sold”. It appears that the markets for the Belmont Reserve are “empty nesters”, and young professionals. Just an opinion, but they are dinky, and when built out will be tightly packed together.
One of the “good” projects that fit with the surrounding community and the TND philosophy of managed growth is the Belmont Village project. Located on Myrtle Street, smack in the middle between South Main and South Central Avenue and across from the middle school, this project re-uses the old A&P grocery store site. Lots of steps up will be required, but the look is similar to many urban townhomes along the east coast cities.
We will provide some information and discussion of the South Point Road/High School area projects sometime in the next week. Overall, we are concerned about the proper development of in-fill projects being a fit under the neighborhood preservation and traditional neighborhood development (TND) policies.
See the next Belmont Front Porch entry about our feelings about the City Council vote on August 7 in regards to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan.