The Hickory City Council voted to annex and rezone property along Snow Creek Road for a housing development over the objections of one of the neighbors Tuesday night.
The request was for changes to approximately 18 acres at the corners of Snow Creek Road and 25th Street NE and Snow Creek and 25th Street Place NE. The annexation and rezoning were requested by Futuro LLC and Corbin Harline.
The property was annexed to provide Hickory public services to the site and was rezoned to the city’s R-2 classification.
That zoning designation allows for up to four single-family units per acre.
Futuro General Manager Oscar Vasquez said after the meeting the applicants plan to build roughly 50 homes at the site. He said the values of the homes would be at or above $200,000.
Planning Director Brian Frazier told the council the Hickory Regional Planning Commission had voted 6-0 to recommend the rezoning.
He also said that roughly 13 people came to the planning commission meeting with objections related to the transparency of the process and concerns about the effect on the neighborhood.
On Tuesday, Larry Day was the only neighbor to address the council with objections to the project.
“One issue that the neighbors have had is the lack of transparency from the developer because we know he’s building 50, 60, 70 houses there but we don’t know what,” Day said.
He also voiced concerns that the development did not fit in well with the existing neighborhood, would cause problems with traffic and would harm property values.
A second neighbor, Steven Eckard, had signed up to speak. However, when his name was called he declined to step up, saying: “It’s already decided, so no use for me to speak.”
Frazier said the law does not require the type of transparency the neighbors are requesting.
“There is nothing in the (city ordinances or state law) that requires the applicant present these plans ahead of time,” Frazier said, adding that state law also prohibits the city from dictating the aesthetics of the homes.
He also said neighbors are free to reach out to him with questions about the project.
The council voted unanimously to approve both the annexation and the rezoning.
Day continued to describe his opposition to the project as he was leaving the meeting after the vote.
“I think the city and the developers are working together to bring more single-family homes and that’s just how it is and if you don’t like it then you can always sell your home and move somewhere else, is how that works,” Day said.
Following the meeting, Vasquez said plans for the houses are still being developed, adding they hoped to have construction start in January.
Despite the objections, Vasquez said the neighborhood will eventually welcome the development.
“Everywhere that we have gone so far in Hickory, when we were done, property values of surrounding (properties) increased,” Vasquez said. “They’ll be real happy when we get done.”
Kevin Griffin is the City of Hickory reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.
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