CLAYTON — The town council is again considering a request to build housing next to Sam’s Branch Greenway.
Harnett Land Group LLC wants to build 104 single-family homes and 46 townhouses on 74 acres on North O’Neil Street. The land abuts the 1.2-mile Sam’s Branch Greenway, and residents would have access to the greenway from four internal trails.
Town planner David DeYoung recommended the town council approve the request. “I think the density they are proposing and mixed uses is appropriate considering its location and its adjacency to the greenway,” DeYoung said.
Because the land is within a watershed, Clayton rules limit housing development to no more than two units per acre.
If the subdivision, called Ashcroft, sounds familiar, that’s because Clayton leaders have considered it before. Harnett Land Group first received a permit for Ashcroft in 2011, but the developer never moved forward, and the permit expired in March of this year.
And in 2007, a different developer received permission to build on the land, but the housing industry tanked during the recession, and the developer abandoned its plans.
If the town council says yes a second time to Harnett Land Group, the developer would have two years to break ground before the permit expired.
DeYoung said he’s more hopeful this time the project will move forward, but he stopped short of offering the council a time line.
Dustin Blackwell of Harnett Land Group said the company hoped to break ground in six months. He said the company is still firming up square footage and sales prices for the housing.
In July, the developer invited 13 Ashcroft neighbors to meeting to learn about the project. One neighbor attended and voiced no objections.
Citing the poor turnout for the meeting, some council members questioned if neighbors had received adequate notice. DeYoung said the project’s engineer, Dalton Engineering and Associates, mailed each adjacent property owner an invitation to attend the meeting.
DeYoung said the developer planned to give the town 5.46 acres inside Ashcroft for use as a trailhead and public park. “It’d be nice to have playground equipment next to a trailhead,” he said.
The council will decide Ashcroft’s fate its next meeting.