The Elon Town Council heard a conditional rezoning petition for Manning Avenue, in which Anthony Hezar, the developer for the project, said he wants to build duplexes on two currently vacant parcels of land.

Manning Avenue houses the Oaks apartment complex and leads away from Elon University’s campus and into residential neighborhoods.  

The proposal occurred during a council meeting Oct. 10. Due to the location of the parcels of land near a stream buffer, three waivers would need to be approved by the council in order for construction to start. 

The multiple waivers include permission to have parking in the front of the duplexes, allow driveways to exceed 24 feet and waive land exceeding the amount designated for lot areas. 

While Hezar’s engineer Chad Huffine said he believes the construction of the duplexes supports the Town of Elon’s 2024 Future Comprehensive Land Use Plan because it expands housing choices in the town, council members had several concerns. 

Many of the council members’ concerns revolved around the issue of parking. Council member Monti Allison said he was concerned that with parking located in front of the building, residents will have to back out into the intersection on Manning Avenue. Others shared concerns that there was not sufficient parking available with the current design. 

Town of Elon Mayor Emily Sharpe said there could be negative effects of allowing this conditional rezoning petition to pass. 

“My biggest concern is that in every conditional rezoning we have had to date, what we have been able to guarantee to our residents is that what we are approving is a better product,” Sharpe said. “We’ve been able to secure really great things for other residents by giving conditional rezoning.” 

However, Sharpe said she does not feel as though the quality of the product for this project is up to the standard the council has set when considering conditional rezoning. 

“In my opinion, we would be setting a precedent against what we’ve shared unless we make some changes,” Sharpe said. 

Elon resident John Elder spoke out against the construction of the duplexes during the public comments section of the meeting. Elder said he dislikes the idea of duplexes being built in an area that is primarily single-family residential homes. 

“This is nothing but greed,” Elder said. “Simple greed.” 

Town of Elon planning director Lori Oakley said it is not against the town or state’s code to build duplexes in that area. 

The council decided to not make a decision and granted a continuance so Hezar and Huffine can work with Oakley to find solutions to the council's concerns. 

During the meeting, the council made decisions on other resolutions and amendments, several of which revolved around construction in the town. 

The council approved to close and abandon Gregory Drive, meaning the land owners adjacent to the piece of property now privately own the land. 

The budget amendment was also approved for extending Trollinger Avenue, so construction can now be completed. Following the approval of the budget, the bid for the construction was granted to ASJ Williams Construction.

Sharpe said the lack of a sidewalk on this road has caused issues in the past. 

“This is probably the top sidewalk that I hear from residents that they want because they don’t like to have to dodge the people working on the street,” Sharp said.