Riverwood hopes to expand again

sgilman@newsobserver.comApril 4, 2014 

  • Public hearing on Sheetz request is Monday

    At 6:30 p.m. on April 7, the Clayton Town Council will hold a public hearing on a rezoning request by Sheetz. The 24-hour restaurant and convenience store chain wants to build a store on 2.46 acres at the southeast corner of U.S. 70 Business and Rose Street.

For the second time since 1998, the developer of Riverwood Athletic Club is moving to buy adjacent land to add to the existing 1,141 lots.

On Monday, the Clayton Town Council will hold a public hearing on Riverwood’s request to rezone nearby 46 acres from R-E, or residential estate, to R-8, or residential with 8,000-square-foot lots. Developer Fred Smith wants to build 156 single-family homes on the land, which is just south of the existing Riverwod.

“This is the first expansion since 2006,” said Clayton planning director David DeYoung, who noted that the first expansion was 28 acres.

Smith began developing Riverwood in 1998. The 46 additional acres are undeveloped.

“If you went out there, you would see a wooded area, and you would see cows,” DeYoung said.

Smith bought the land in January from the Dupree family.

“It benefits Riverwood, it benefits the Dupree family, it has benefits for the town, and, hopefully. one day it will have benefits for me,” Smith said.

He said the plan is to build 30 lots this year, with the total of 156 houses taking six to seven years to build.

Since 1998, Riverwood has been growing internally. The athletic club, complete with indoor and outdoor pools, came in 2001. The Riverwood Child Development Center arrived in 2002. The commercial area, including 20,000 square feet of commercial and office space, opened in 2003, and the Riverwood Cultural Arts Center arrived in 2005.

But it has been roughly eight years since Riverwood has expanded from its original borders.

“We went through a huge economic downturn,” DeYoung said. “There are ebbs and tides, but it’s doing well; the subdivision is doing very well.”

In February, the Clayton Planning Board unanimously backed Smith’s rezoning request on behalf of his company, FSC IV LLC. It also unanimously backed his request to modify the existing Riverwood master plan to include the new houses and streets.

Smith told the Planning Board that the addition was in keeping with his goal “to provide a quality place for the Town of Clayton.”

“I think there is no other community that provides amenities to the quality that we provide in Riverwood,” Smith said. “We feel like [the new development] will meet the needs of residents of Clayton and Riverwood in particular.”

Smith told the board he would take steps to ensure the impact on the surrounding area was minimal. To keep construction vehicles out of Riverwood, he plans to build a temporary construction road off of Covered Bridge Road. He said he would donate two acres of open space along the Neuse River to the town.

Though the planning board has approved the request, the project awaits the Town Council’s decision on April 7.

“It’s not a done deal,” DeYoung said. “The Town Council is going to vote on it. It’s consistent with our future land-use map, so I would say it is a likely that it will be rezoned, but it is up to their discretion.”

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