Citing concerns of increased housing density levels and traffic, the Mooresville Board of Commissioners on Monday unanimously denied a request to rezone about 130 acres of property on Rinehardt Road and East Plaza Drive to make way for the construction of hundreds of town homes, single-family residences and commercial businesses.
The conditional rezoning request, brought forth by MT Land LLC on behalf of several landowners, was rejected “because it is inconsistent with the town’s comprehensive land use plan,” said Commissioner Bobby Compton, reading from a statement explaining the board’s decision. “It is not reasonable in the public interest because Rinehardt Road and the current entrances and exits from Highway 115 to 150 do not support the proposed density of this project thereby creating a concern for public safety.”
The town board’s decision caused the audience members filling the town hall chambers to break into applause.
After the meeting, Paul Shriver, MT Land LLC land manager, said he was unsure what the future held for the proposed Rinehardt Village development. “No idea,” Shriver said. “No idea. We had full planning board support. We meet the comprehensive plan. The neighbors came out. Nothing we can do about that. We don’t know what’s going to happen at this point.”
On Jan. 10, the planning board unanimously recommended approval of the conditional request from MT Land LLC, on behalf of William Darrell Rinehardt, Honeycutt Family Properties, Vickie Rinehardt McAuley and R.M. Brawley Jr. Trust, to rezone a 123-acre parcel from R2, or Single Family Detached, to R5-C, or Residential 5 with Conditions, and a 7-acre parcel from HB, or Highway Business, to MCX-C, or Corridor Mixed Use with Conditions.
The proposal would reroute Rinehardt Road to a new location 900 feet east of its current intersection with N.C. 150 with a traffic light to be installed only if needed at a later date. The project would also make numerous road improvements and add turning lanes at Mazeppa Road and N.C. 115, Rinehardt Road and N.C. 115 and N.C. 150 and West McLelland Avenue, said Rawls Howard, town planning and community development director.
As presented Tuesday, Rinehardt Village would include up to 217 single-family detached homes and 255 town home units with several parks, a 4,500 square-foot pool with clubhouse and walking trails.
The town homes would sell for between $200,000-$250,000 while the single-family residences would sell for between $250,000 to the low $400,000s, Shriver said.
The second smaller parcel proposed to be rezoned to Corridor Mixed Use has frontage on N.C. 150 and would be seen as the “gateway” to the neighborhood, Shriver said. The commercial component of the parcel would total 3.5 acres if town homes were also built there or total 7 acres without town homes, he said.
Changing the zoning from R-2, a lower density designation for single-family homes, to an R5-C, the lowest density designation required to build town homes, seemed to be the proposal’s undoing, according to commissioners and members of the public who spoke at Monday’s public hearing on the matter.
“In a perfect world I think this would be great but the reality is the world’s far from perfect and so are the drivers,” said Commissioner Gary West. “I still think the density here is high. “
Also mentioned frequently by members of the public was the added strain on road infrastructure and increased traffic that would come from the Mooresville Graded School District’s plan to build two new schools as well as a bus storage garage on 73 acres of vacant land at Rinehardt Road and NC115, just a stone’s throw from the proposed Rinehardt Village.
Brad Warren owns six acres of land next to the proposed site. Besides the environmental and wildlife concerns he has about the project, Warren said he was also concerned with the proposed high density town homes to be built. “I don’t want to stop somebody from selling their land, I don’t want to stop somebody from building, but that density is just too big a density,” said Warren.
Other members of the public were concerned with the fact the land in question was once used as a pre-regulatory dump for textile chemical waste. Several residents said they know of numerous cancer incidents from people who lived near there.
Shriver said the Superfund site is actually across the street and that the Rinehardt Village’s wells have been tested and there is no reason to be concerned.