Smithfield has rezoned a swath of land south of Interstate 95 to clear the way for its largest development ever — a mix of 2,005 single-family homes, apartments and townhouses.
“This is just the first step,” the fast-growing town’s planning director Steve Wensman told The News & Observer. “They’ve still got to come back with a plat and construction drawings to make it all happen.”
The proposed Woodleaf development is on an assemblage of 491 acres south of Interstate 95, between exits 93 and 95.
Plans call for 490 single-family homes, 691 townhouses and two apartment complexes with 824 units between them. The apartment buildings will be three and four stories high.
On Tuesday, the town council approved a rezoning request that clears the way for the development to proceed.
Construction on the first phase could start as early as 2023, with final completion projected for 2028.
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Behind the proposal is NRP Ventures, a 3-year-old LLC with a Chapel Hill address.
Molly Stuart, a Raleigh attorney representing the developer, said they’re aiming for a “village feel” throughout the community, with narrow streets and a multi-use trail.
She said the developer’s investment in infrastructure would open up the possibilities for growth south of I-95.
“It will kickstart the necessary water and sewer infrastructure and permit the town to grow in a compact way,” Stuart told the town council.
Wensman said the water and sewer upgrades must be completed in the first phase of development and will connect a broad swath of the community to those services for the first time.
“They’re going to extend the public utilities a good distance,” Wensman said. “Bringing sewer to this area is bigger than this development.”
The first vote Tuesday was gridlocked, but after council members negotiated farther setbacks from the street and closer parking lots, the council unanimously agreed to approve the rezoning request.
Staff said the development would create the need for a fire station, public park and potentially a police substation. Electric power will likely be supplied by Duke Energy.
Mallard Road, now a quiet two-laner, will be transformed. It’s primarily agricultural and today, with woodlands, wetlands and fields adjacent to some low-density residential.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation is requiring turn lanes at the seven intersections that provide access to the new neighborhoods. A signal must be placed at the intersection with U.S. 70.
This story was originally published June 11, 2022 8:00 AM.
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