By Paul T. Choate
Aug. 7, 2012. Representatives for the proposed 546-bedroom Clawson/Green Multi-Family Development presented their request for re-zoning at the Aug. 6 quarterly public hearing in front of the Town Council and Planning Commission. Some members of the public spoke out in opposition to the new development.
Wayne Clawson, Joy Clawson, Dana Clawson and Anna Greene – the owners of approximately 22.38 acres of property (which includes the Clawson Mobile Home Park) located at and near 170 Clawson St., 140 and 141 Marich Lane – are hoping to have areas that are currently RR-3 Multiple Family Residential and MH Manufacture Home Park re-zoned to R-3 Multiple Family. Mega Builders out of Greensboro has been contracted to develop the new complex.
“Due to health and financial reasons, the Clawson family has decided to close the [mobile home] park,” said Frank Forde, director of development for Mega Builders. “Irregardless [sic] of what requests are approved or disapproved, unfortunately the park will close.”
Clawson Mobile Home Park residents were notified in April that they would be required to vacate the park in six months. The park is scheduled to close Oct. 4. According to Wayne Clawson, Mega Builders will be providing $4,000 to park residents to support relocation expenses. Charles Clement, an attorney representing the Clawson and Greene families and Mega Builders, also added that only 46 percent of the mobile home park residents are full-time residents there.
“Speaking for a lot of my neighbors – not all of them, of course, but for some of them – this move has been very traumatic, as any move is,” said Elizabeth Harris, a resident of the mobile home park on Fourth Street. She added that the help from the Clawson family and Mega Builders is “a great help to so many people.”
Wayne Clawson stressed how “logical” the re-zoning request was to the Council and Planning Commission.
“I would remind the Council and the Commission that we have apartments to the left of us, apartments to the right of us, town homes to our rear and only the Clawsons and the Greens to the front,” said Clawson. “For the sake of argument, let’s say the project is refused. Before long the property will require re-zoning. Since no mobile homes will be present I ask, ‘What might be the logical zoning to be considered at that time?’” He then reiterated having multi-family developments all around the proposed area for the complex.
Multiple representatives for the development stressed that the area they requested re-zoning for is the best and most logical location in all of Boone for a new large complex.
Forde also noted that Mega Builders are also the developers of Mountaineer Village, Studio West, as well as several town homes and condominiums, and said they are the largest tax generator in Boone. He said the complex would generate approximately $827,000 in tax and other revenue and create approximately 122 new jobs.
Chuck Billing, owner of Alternative Repairs on Perkinsville Drive, voiced concerns over the additional traffic in the area, noting that wrecks were already frequent near his shop.
According to Frank Amenya, director of traffic engineering with Davenport Transportation Consulting in Winston-Salem, a traffic impact analysis was done during the school year with student traffic taken into consideration and that a plan was already in place. Clawson Street will be widened and a curb and gutter system will be installed as per Town of Boone code. The intersection of Clawson Street and Perkinsville Drive will be improved and speed humps will be installed on Perkinsville Drive. Improvements also include realignment of Clawson Street into Meadow Hill Drive, creating a four-way intersection with a four-way stop. Additionally, sidewalks will be installed on Clawson Street.
The strongest opposition to the new complex came Gail Bedell and Katherine Anderson, neighbors who live on Wickham Square near the proposed development.
Bedell emphasized how much she values the quiet seclusion of her neighborhood, and that this development would be too close to the homes on Wickham Square.
“It’s just a very unusual neighborhood for Boone. You’re in the city limits but it’s like you’re in the country,” she said. “There is student housing out down Fieldstream [Drive] and out that way but their trees and things keep it real quiet.”
She was also concerned about the amount of parking spaces that would be needed for such a large development.
“How many parking places is that on land that is visible out the back window of several of our neighbors,” she asked. “Zoning is something that is supposed to protect. At least that is my understanding.”
Forde responded to Bedell’s concern over the parking area, saying Mega Builders would be willing to add trees, an opaque wall or both to help with light and noise associated with the parking lot.
Anderson echoed Bedell’s concerns; also saying she was worried about the noise.
“Many of us plan to live [in the neighborhood] for years,” said Anderson. “Where my house is, I can hear the student housing and I don’t want any more behind me. I’ve called the police on many occasions for the noise factor just off of Fieldstream Drive up the hill. So it’s not true that there is compatibility with the surrounding properties.”
“Change is difficult, that is all that needs to be said about that,” said Clement. “Nobody wants to be affected by change – nobody. But it’s inevitable. Change is going to occur one way or another.”
The re-zoning request will next be looked at on Aug. 13 at the Planning Commission meeting. It will then move to the Town Council agenda for either the Aug. 21 or 23 regular meeting.
To view a previous article regarding the Clawson/Greene Multi-Family Development, visit hcpress.com/news/new-clawsongreene-mega-complex-planned-for-august-of-2014-near-intersection-of-421-194-pending-re-zoning-request.html.