SURF CITY — National construction company D.R. Horton is seeking to rezone an additional 93 acres of its Waterside development near the Surf City Bridge, which would result in a lower density of homes than what was permitted in the original zoning plan.
More than half of the 240-acre piece of land — originally owned by the Sullivan brothers, longtime property owners in the area — was rezoned from a Rural Agricultural district to a Planned Use Development (PUD) district in December 2015, allowing for a total of 3,242 residential units and four acres to be developed for commercial businesses.
Its first two phases, consisting of 65 acres, were rezoned from a PUD district to a Multi-family Cluster (MFC) district in December 2016. After a public hearing on Tuesday morning, Town Council will vote on whether the third phase of construction will follow suit (residents can leave public comments at 910-338-5510 and watch the meeting virtually here beginning at 10 a.m.).
The Planning Board approved the rezoning request on April 9, and town planners are now reviewing a concept plan for 253 single-family homes for the project’s third phase, according to Town Planner Amy Kimes. She said a small section of land next to Belt Road is also included in the rezoning request, and a concept plan showing roughly 50 to 60 homes has been provided to her office.
D.R. Horton has begun construction of approximately nine homes, according to Kimes. The current development plan for the first two phases allows for 170 single-family homes; the final plat for the first 60 lots has been approved while about 20 building permits are being released, she said.
A PUD typically allows for areas of differing density and land use requirements, according to Kimes.
“In this case, the original plan was revised to consist of single-family homes. Multi-Family Cluster allows for homes to be slightly closer together while providing more open space by preserving natural areas,” Kimes said.
Kimes said she did not know the anticipated completion date of the project’s first 170 homes.
Last February, Alabama-based developer Marion Uter acquired a $20.8 million loan to fund the construction of 415 single-family lots on the land, which sits just west of the Intracoastal Waterway and the town’s new 3,600-foot high-rise bridge.
In September, the developer said the project’s original plans, approved for 3,200 homes and multi-family units, had been significantly downscaled to a total of 430 single-family lots and possibly 200 multi-family units in a later phase of construction.
“And that would be it,” Uter said. “It’s a business reason. We’re not multi-family developers, we just do single-family [lots]. We thought it was better to maybe conserve some of that land and not develop with that much density. It’s not a market thing — the market seems great — it’s just not what we do.”
He said the next phase of construction would include 230 lots, but he did not have a time frame on when that would begin. He also left the door open for additional multi-family units or townhomes in the future.
“That’s not to say there may not be a decision to maybe provide more dense development — some multifamily or townhomes — in the future,” Haley said at the time. “But that’s going to be market-driven when the time comes … There’s still raw, undeveloped, unplanned land out there that we don’t know what the yield will be, but it’s not going to be anywhere close to what that original approval was for.”
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