The town of Elon held a public hearing for citizens to speak for or against the rezoning request for the eventual creation of Parc Northwest, a mixed use development that would be located on Shallowford Church Road and University Drive. This was one of two public hearings held during Elon’s Town Council June 27 work session meeting.
Interim Planning Director Carrie Spencer said the rezoning would change the land parcel from a Neighborhood Residential Planning District and Village Center Planning District to a Neighborhood Residential-Conditional Planning District and Village Center-Conditional Planning District to account for having both businesses and residential areas.
GreenHawk Development, which is responsible for this project, has gone through Elon’s technical review committee, a neighborhood meeting and the planning board before the public hearing June 27.
Local community members, many of whom are Elon residents living in the neighboring Cable Square development, have expressed concerns regarding density, traffic and the process the rezoning itself followed.
Spencer said density should be less of a concern to residents because while housing would be more tightly packed together, it would not increase the density. Spencer said due to the planned number of single-family homes, the total number of people should still be equivalent to what the area is currently zoned for. However, some residents, like Kristen Trzonkowski, are still concerned about the total number of people that the zoning would bring.
“That conditional zoning is shifting from 275 single-family homes to 200 single-family homes, 200 multi-family homes and 100,000 square feet of commercial space,” Trzonkowski said. “The way I do the math, that is, that does definitely increase the density of the total number of people per acreage.”
The issue of density also led to a concern about a lack of parking. The developers assured residents there would be parking garages created when necessary, and those details would be considered once their master plan was created in later steps, but for most homes, driveways would provide adequate parking.
Clifton Fogelman, an Elon resident and builder by trade, was concerned with the combination of perceived lack of parking and homes built closer together.
“If the lot line is 20 feet wide, will the whole yard be a driveway?” Fogelwood asked.
Traffic was a concern for many residents, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation is currently conducting a traffic study to see how the development would impact Elon. The developers assured residents that nothing would occur before this traffic study was completed.
Another concern raised was that many residents felt left out of the conversation, and the process occurred too quickly. Mayor Emily Sharpe said every meeting held — not only ones with public hearings — are open to the public, which should make information about the development easily accessible.
“This is the most controversial rezoning we’ve experienced,” Sharpe said. “We encourage everyone to be a part of the process. We get so caught up on a national level, but what happens in D.C. might never affect you, but what happens here affects you tomorrow.”
Elon Town Council will vote on this rezoning during its July 12 regular meeting.
The other public hearing held was for a special use permit for a sign on University Drive and O’Kelly Avenue. Brad Moore, University architect and director of planning, design and construction management, represented Elon University and presented this request. He said the purpose of the sign will be to signify the entrance to campus.
Moore said this will be created in phases and eventually will have two signs and a 34-foot bell tower in the median on O’Kelly Avenue.
The council will also vote on this at its next meeting July 12.