Dozens of Southern Pines residents came to Thursday’s Southern Pines Planning Board meeting to protest against a proposed apartment complex off US 1.

Ten landowners spoke at the planned public forum to express their concerns about the impacts of traffic, noise and light pollution. As shown, plans for Patrick’s Pointe call for a 276 unit apartment complex with an office building on the east side of US 1, between Pennsylvania Avenue and Midland Road.

“This is once again déjà vu,” said David Sullivan, president of the Village in the Green Homeowners Association. “Conceptually, this plan is not compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods.”

The sloping, predominantly wooded property is located in the pavement of the city’s road corridor and zoned for office services, allowing for mixed-use development. The land faces a service road along US 1 and builds on two existing neighborhoods, including Village in the Green.

In the mid-2000s, the same site was the subject of a six-year long legal battle between the city and Leith Automotive, which wanted to build a car dealership on the site. The crux of the matter was the city’s decision to “demarcate” the site from a general trade designation, which would have allowed a car dealership, to less intensive uses permitted as part of office services.

More recently, a 288-unit apartment complex was proposed on the site in 2016. City leaders voted to reject the project. The plaintiff, Caviness and Cates, based in Fayetteville, filed a lawsuit before finally abandoning his plans.

The new proposal put forward by 1700, LLC features a slightly modified design that is mostly apartments, but also includes an office building on the outside. The company is owned by Logan and Charlotte Burnett, both of whom are military veterans who lived in Southern Pines while stationed at Fort Bragg.

“We really think this project brings tremendous value to the community,” said Logan Burnett, noting that the couple came to love the community during their time in the area. “In 2013, Southern Pines was less busy and more affordable. But the word had passed. Since then you have seen more lot splits and an increase in house prices. It has become difficult for young professionals to buy houses near the city center.

Burnett said Patrick’s Pointe will provide additional high-end living options within walking distance of the Broad Street neighborhood for military families and others looking to relocate to the community.

He compared the proposed resort to the Legends at Morganton, which is being expanded, and the new Eagle Landing development off the US 15-501 in Southern Pines. The rental price would be set by the market, Burnett said, but estimated that a one-bedroom unit would be rented for around $ 1,200. In military parlance, the price is comparable to housing allowances for an E5 service member with dependents.

“It’s important to recognize that housing prices in Southern Pines have really gone up lately. This is why it is important to bring new products to the region, ”he said.

Land use attorney Nick Robinson, speaking on behalf of the claimant, noted that the special use permit required under municipal ordinances does not require the site to be re-zoned. He also said that the site’s design meets city standards for setbacks, buffer zones, height, and proposed parking spaces.

“This is a standard 101 planning concept,” said Robinson, referring to a project that provides for a gradual transition from heavy uses on US 1 to less intense residential areas. “This use is exactly what the zoning requires there.

“Creating workforce housing in Southern Pines goes hand in hand with the overall long-term plan. The main thing is that all the conclusions are met. What is proposed is 100 percent allowed in the zoning district.

Sullivan suggested that if the density of the proposed plans was reduced a bit – he recommended a design that incorporated two-story apartment buildings rather than three stories – plus the addition of a decorative 10-storey brick wall. feet between the two developments, there would be less opposition to the plan.

“Maybe it would work and maybe I wouldn’t be as vigorously opposed to this plan when it comes to city council,” Sullivan said.

Other speakers said they were concerned about traffic impacts, especially for vehicles exiting development on US 1, and increasing congestion along North Saylor Street and Midland Road.

“I don’t know if this is a chicken or an egg situation. I can’t say if the land was purchased and this plan designed or the other way around, but it’s obvious it’s not compliant, ”said neighboring owner Nancy Andrews. “Looks like they want to put it all in there and tick all the boxes … Don’t make me pay for something you didn’t plan well.” “

Bob Koontz of Koontz Jones Design also presented on behalf of 1700, LLC. He noted that the site would be allowed up to 70 percent impermeable surface, but plans only called for 49 percent built-up area. The site plan protects a designated wetland and was designed to limit the number of proposed buildings along the property line shared with the Village in the Green community.

After discussion, the Southern Pines Planning Council prepared a list of considerations to be conveyed to City Council as part of its formal review process.

Southern Pines City Council will consider the Special Use Permit in a public hearing Tuesday, December 14 at 6 p.m. at the Douglass Community Center, 1185 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Southern Pines.