Northwest Observer

Homebuilder denied waiver of subdivision rule

Summerfield Planning Board rejects D.R. Horton Inc.'s request to waive road requirement for a proposed subdivision

SUMMERFIELD – Summerfield Planning Board has denied a request by homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc. to waive a development rule requiring at least two permanent entrance/exit roads in new subdivisions with 50 or more lots.

The board’s unanimous vote this past Tuesday, Sept. 27, set back D.R. Horton’s plans to convert two tracts totaling 106.2 acres into a subdivision with 83 houses.

The decision was a victory for homeowners in Elmhurst Estates. They opposed D.R. Horton’s proposal to turn a narrow, unused farm road connecting the subdivision and the proposed development into an emergency-access service road.

“We don’t want an emergency road in our neighborhood,” Elmhurst Estates homeowner Brantley Williams told the board. He was among the standing-room-only crowd of more than 50 people in Summerfield Community Center.

The larger of the two tracts where D.R. Horton wants to build the subdivision consists of a horse farm east of Scalesville Road. Identified as Fiore Farms in property tax records, the nearly 92-acre tract is accessible by Millbrook Road, a narrow, winding road that starts at Scalesville Road and dead-ends at the farm dotted by barns and other buildings with green metal roofs.

If the subdivision were built, Millbrook Road would provide one of the two permanent entrances/exits to the project, as required by Summerfield’s unified development ordinance. D.R. Horton requested to waive the requirement for a second permanent road and instead create the emergency-access service road through Elmhurst Estates.

The road would be blocked by a gate with a lock accessible only by emergency officials, according to Amanda Hodierne, a Greensboro lawyer representing D.R. Horton. Not only would the road provide secondary access to the proposed subdivision, it would also create a second entrance into Elmhurst Estates, accessible only from U.S. 220, the lawyer said.

“This is not a bad outcome,” Hodierne said. “We are trying to create that public safety outlet.”

Even so, some Elmhurst Estates homeowners said they worried that a little-used road in the woods would attract teenagers intent on mischief. On the chance the road somehow became accessible to the public, homeowners said traffic would increase on Joseph Hoskins Road, the main road in Elmhurst Estates.

“Don’t make their problem our problem,” homeowner Walter Taylor told the board. “Don’t make us defend ourselves.”

From the east, D.R. Horton’s proposed development is accessible from Angels Landing, a subdivision on Strader Road. However, a creek with steep embankments separates the properties, creating construction and environmental challenges in building a permanent road, Evans Engineering President Bob Dischinger told the board. He also represented D.R. Horton.

In denying the homebuilder’s request for the waiver, the board concurred with the recommendation of Brad Rentz, Summerfield’s planning manager. In his report, Rentz cited the existence of road stubs in Angels Landing “aligned toward the proposed development, suggesting future connectivity.”

Homebuilder denied waiver of subdivision rule

Homebuilder denied waiver of subdivision rule

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