Traffic concerns over new development
Susan and Charles Mclamb have lived on Wedge Drive in Pfafftown for 25 years. They once enjoyed playing on the Grandview golf course just around the corner from their home on Wedge Drive, as well as the peace and isolation of being away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
But in 2006, the city of Winston- Salem annexed part of Pfafftown, bringing changes to the neighborhood. The golf course closed because owners could not afford the higher tax rate imposed by the city and a new development known as Grandview Crossing replaced it. Around the same time, a subdivision plan for another development bordered by Reynolda Road and Wedge Drive was submitted. It was put on hold for several years due to the recession, but now plans are in the works for the development to move forward.
But this means increased traffic on Wedge Drive, Rock Hill Road and Grandview Club Road which is currently the only close exit to Reynolda Road–something that has residents like the Mclambs worried.
“Our roads are narrow and there’s a lot of dog-walking, children walking, runners, bike riders,” Susan Mclamb said. “And to this point it hasn’t bothered us because there are so few cars.
He’s putting in what is allowed under the zoning, and it’s just a higher concentration.”
She said she expects an additional 140 cars being brought to the streets, but there could be more when accounting for the teenage drivers travelling to and from nearby Reagan High School every day.
If a bond referendum is approved by voters in November it would set aside more than $30 million for sidewalk improvements, but Charles Mclamb said he thinks Pfafftown will not be considered a priority for receiving new sidewalks.
“If they do us, they’ve got to do the other side of Grandview that’s part of this development too,” he said. “They would raise a big stink if they just did our side.”
The Mclambs, who represent 23 homeowners on their block, said an additional exit to Reynolda Road would help alleviate the potential traffic increase.
“If there was another exit, I guarantee you the majority of homeowners on this road would not want sidewalks and curbing,” Charles Mclamb said.
At the city council’s meeting August 4, developer Justin Mendenhall of RS Parker Homes updated the council on the plans for Reagan Point, but Susan Mclamb spoke in opposition due to the fact that she had not been informed of how this would affect the existing neighborhood. This prompted councilman Jeff MacIntosh to push the issue to continue the discussion to the council’s meeting on September 2.
“There’s going to be more construction traffic and there’s going to be more vehicular traffic, and they need to know what’s coming at them,” MacIntosh told Mendenhall at the meeting. “And from your standpoint, it probably would have been a nonissue tonight had there been more outreach to the surrounding neighbors.”
Mendenhall said they did reach out once to the homeowners to let them know what would happen.
“We offered and no one took us up on that,” he said while adding that RS Parker homes will hold informational hearings for residents of Wedge Drive and Grandview Club Road in the coming weeks.
Planning Department Project Planner Gary Roberts said the number of homes was reduced to 65 due to the fact that an additional four-acre tract is zoned for a special use, while the rest of the land is zoned for general use. Mendenhall said plans for the subdivision will happen one way or another, but he still wants the additional land.
“We’ll be moving forward with the subdivision whether the zoning gets approved or not,” he said. “The zoning is just for that four-acre piece that we would like to purchase into our subdivision.”
Mendenhall said the planning department requires the zoning for all land being developed to be consistent. The city council will discuss the issue at their meeting on September 2.
Assistant Planning Director Margaret Bessette said land zoned for a special use carries many more restrictions than land zoned for general use.
“With special use, there’s a limitation on what you can do and how you develop the property,” she said.
Bessette said property is considered low density if there are eight or fewer dwelling units per acre.
Roberts said the planning board will review the proposal Thursday. He said the property is a right-by-use area with the way it is zoned now, but it is standard practice for the planning board to give their consent.
Roberts said he understands the concerns of the residents that live in the older section of the neighborhood but does not think it will be overwhelming.
“They will be having some more traffic coming through their neighborhood, but still their streets can handle more traffic,” he said.
Roberts added that it is typical for many residential streets to receive 3,000 cars per day, and that the family plan allows up to 12 units per-acre, while currently there are only plans for four units-per acre.
He said he agreed that the situation would be more tolerable with the addition of sidewalks, and that a second link to Reynolda Road would be very helpful.
“Ideally we would prefer more entrances, and a direct connection to Reynolda Road but they don’t own that property that connects to Reynolda Road,” he said. !