STALLINGS – Lynda Paxton said as much as she does not like the idea of having multifamily housing in Stallings, Stinson Farms is the first and only such project she supports. That's due to the number of concessions the Stallings Town Council has been able to negotiate with the developer.

The development team has worked with the town for a year on the project. Stinson Farms has been revised multiple times through consultation with town staff and a subcommittee of the council. However, the planning board recommended denial of the proposal in December.

Since then, the council negotiated 11 major concessions with the developer, including

• Reducing the number of residential units from 618 to 504.

• Putting single-family residential and a 100-foot buffer adjacent to the neighboring Shannamara subdivision (70-foot with a fence in some areas) .

• Limiting the number of fast food restaurants in the commercial area from three to one.

Currently, the project calls for 136 townhomes, 32 houses and 336 multifamily units on 72 acres off Idlewild Road, east of the I-485 interchange.

Paxton, who serves as mayor pro tempore, said each type of housing in Stinson Farms falls well below what the ordinances allows.

“I know the concern is about density but I think we have to think about how far we have come with this project,” Paxton told colleagues during the March 22 public hearing. “The developer has done so many of the things we've asked them to do. I am fearful that we may get something that is so drastically worse than this project if we were to deny it.”

Homebuilder DR Horton will serve as the master developer for the site. David McCord, land acquisition manager, said his firm will have the ability to create a comprehensive plan with single-family, multifamily and commercial uses that complement each other.

But residents in Shannamara questioned during the March 22 public hearing whether the residential mix at Stinson Farms is the best use for the site.

Shannamara HOA President Bill MacMinn wondered whether the project was truly mixed use when the majority of it is residential in nature.

Neighbor Jeanne Lindsay said the project didn't comply with the Idlewild Small Area Plan, which called for a more inviting commercial core where people can live and work. She described it as high-density housing with a strip of commercial uses.

Shannamara residents also raised concerns about how that much density could affect their property values, existing stormwater issues and school capacity. The project's quick access to the interstate worries some from a safety standpoint.

Mayor Wyatt Dunn echoed some of the same concerns raised by residents during the public hearing.

He'd like to see more buffer for homeowners on Anglesley Court, higher quality restaurants in the commercial piece with preferably no drive-thrus, and assurances the project will maintain proper stormwater mitigation and natural vegetation.

“We learned our lesson over [in the Stevens Mill neighborhood] where the developer demolished some of the trees and it's going to take a long time for some of them to grow back,” Dunn said.

Members of the council want to continue fine-tuning the development agreement to ensure neighbors have enough buffer between them and the project. They also want to ensure road improvements are carried out.

Dunn told residents he wasn't sure when the vote for the project will come.

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