Planners say no to 299-unit Sanders Ferry Road project

Planners say no to 299-unit Sanders Ferry Road project

Members of the Hendersonville Regional Planning Commission were unanimous Tuesday in their vote to recommend denial of a New Jersey developer’s request to rezone 6.4 acres at 216 Sanders Ferry Road in order to build a 299-unit, 55 and up age-restricted community.

The denial followed a public hearing in which nearly two dozen residents of the Sanders Ferry peninsula spoke in opposition to the project, mostly citing concerns with traffic and infrastructure along a heavily travelled, two-lane Sanders Ferry Road.

Others said the area did not need another high-density development.

Residents, some wearing ‘no to the rezone’ t-shirts and carrying signs, filled the main meeting room of City Hall as well as two additional meeting rooms where they watched the meeting on a live feed.

Three citizens, including the developer’s realtor, spoke in favor of the project, saying developer Greg Lutfey would bring much-needed improvements to Sanders Ferry Road and Mallard Point Park and would increase the market value of homes in the area.

Lutfey’s Sanders Ferry Adult Living Project proposes two six-story buildings with 177 units in one building and 122 units in the other. The project includes a combination of one, two- and three-bedroom units both for sale and for rent. All of the units would be restricted to those ages 55 and up.

The request requires both a change to the city’s Land Use and Transportation Plan as well as a request to rezone the property from SR-1 to OTR-PD. While the planning commission voted to recommend denial of both requests on Tuesday, the final decision will come from the city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

The current SR-1 zoning allows for 22 single-family homes. However, a conditional use permit was issued for the property in 2014, allowing for an assisted living facility. If built, 128 units would be permitted with a density of 20 units per acre.

Under the OTR-PD zoning the developer is requesting, the maximum density allowed is 15 units per acre, or 96 units for the 6.4-acre property. The proposed 299 multi-family units exceeds the maximum by 203 units and represents a density of 46.72 units per acre.

City planner Timothy Whitten said he’s not aware of any development in the city with a density that high.

By comparison, Hickory Bay Towers to the north of 216 Sanders Ferry Road has 116 units and a density of 7.93 units per acre. Nottingham apartments is to the south and has 200 units with a density of 15 units per acre.

Commissioners voted unanimously to defer the rezoning request for 30 days at Lutfey’s request at the June 1 planning commission meeting.

Lutfey, who purchased the property in December and also owns 248 Sanders Ferry Road, resubmitted plans for the project on June 17, offering to fund several area road and infrastructure improvements in exchange for the requests to exceed the city’s density requirements and restrictions on building height.

He outlined those improvements on Tuesday that include a commitment of $4.9 million. They are:

- A $3,500 per unit development fee to the city at a cost of a little more than $1 million

- $3.4 million for improvements to Sanders Ferry Road

- $450,000 for improvements to Mallard Point Park including an ADA-compliant fishing pier with paddle boats and kayak rentals; a playground, park benches and restrooms with water and electricity.

Lutfey told commissioners that his team has had several discussions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about the proposed road and park improvements. The corps leases the park to the city of Hendersonville and would need to approve any improvements to Sanders Ferry Road.

In the end, however, the majority of commissioners said they thought the density request was excessive and would negatively outweigh any proposed infrastructure improvements to the area.

Lutfey said after the meeting that he plans to present the project to BOMA who may be more open to the financial commitment he’s willing to make for the city.

The General Committee could consider the project as early as Tuesday, July 13. The soonest it would come to BOMA would be August 10. If a majority of the board votes to approve it, a second and final reading, followed by another public hearing, would occur on Sept. 14. BOMA has said it will not meet on the fourth Tuesday in July or August.

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