Photo by Patti Stokes/NWO | Homeowners in the Birkhaven subdivision off N.C. 150 who attended a June 10 open house expressed concerns that construction of 33 more houses on abutting property might congest their neighborhood’s only entrance and exit and strain water supplies.
by CHRIS BURRITT
SUMMERFIELD - Developer Rob Jessup plans to build as many as 33 houses on almost 46 acres abutting Birkhaven that would be similar in design and prices to houses in the upscale neighborhood.
"We're going to do the same thing that's already there," Jessup, owner of RMJ Builders, said in an interview after an open house in Summerfield's Town Hall on June 10. Housing prices in the Birkhaven subdivision on N.C. 150 generally start in the $500,000s.
The open house drew about 15 homeowners concerned that construction of new houses might congest the entrance road into Birkhaven and strain the supply of well water. Due to public gathering restrictions related to the COVID-19 outbreak, residents entered Town Hall in small groups to view preliminary plans for the new houses and talk to Jessup and town planner Chris York.
Town staff facilitated the open house for residents to learn about Jessup's request to rezone the property at 3016 Rear Oak Ridge Road from AG (agricultural) to RS-40 (residential). The town's Planning and Zoning Board will consider the rezoning request during its June 22 meeting and then forward its recommendation to the Town Council for a final decision to be made during the council's July 14 meeting.
"We've only got one way in and out of the neighborhood," Scott Muthersbaugh, president of Birkhaven's homeowners association, said in an interview as he waited to enter the open house. "We already have more than 70 houses in the neighborhood."
Summerfield's development ordinance contains no provision to limit the number of lots based on traffic considerations, according to York.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation will require a driveway permit as part of the subdivision process, and it's possible the agency may require alterations to Birkhaven's entrance area at N.C. 150 and Birkhaven Drive, York said in an email earlier this week. But, he added, "I don't think that's likely."
York said he encourages developers of new houses to preserve as many trees as possible for managing soil erosion and providing screening between adjacent properties. He reviewed setback requirements for lots in a RS-40 zoning district: 40 feet on the front, 15 feet on the side, 30 feet on the rear and 40 feet on the side street if the lot is located on a corner.
"I strongly encourage developers and house builders to clear the area necessary to develop the house, garage, driveway and septic areas," said York, adding he recommends leaving trees, shrubs and grass untouched.
York said the drilling of wells and its potential impact on adjacent wells falls under the purview of Guilford County Environmental Health officials, which enforce state regulations that require permitting for new wells.