A project that would bring 162 housing units to Stewart Street received acclaim from the Danville Planning Commission on Monday afternoon.
The committee voted 6-0 at its regular meeting to recommend the Danville City Council to approve the complex which would include six separate three-story condos on approximately 6.5 acres and amenities including a swimming pool and clubhouse.
The project, proposed by CWC Holdings LLC and Elizabeth and Keith Walden, would be built on Stewart Street behind the Townes Funeral Home off West Main Street and would bring about $ 20 million in redevelopment investment for that area.
“The Waldens propose redeveloping most of Stewart Street to create an attractive high-end apartment community that brings this corridor back to productive use,” attorney Steven Gould wrote in a letter on behalf of the Waldens to the director of the Doug Plachcinski schedule on February 12th. 16.
The project is an important step in meeting the region’s growing need for available, quality housing, particularly housing outside the River District, Gould added in the letter.
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The Berkley Hall companies based in Greensboro, North Carolina will lead the construction and management of the community. The rental apartments will include one- to three-bedroom apartments, with rents at more than $ 1,000 per month, Gould said.
About a dozen speakers expressed their views on the project, with an almost uniform split between those for and against.
Advocates stressed the need for housing for employees of industries coming to the Dan River region, particularly Danville.
Others have expressed concerns about the increase in traffic, noise and lower property values as a result of the project.
Lewis Dumont, who lives on West Main Street, said there must be more projects like the one proposed by the Waldens, especially with more professionals moving to the area.
“Companies will pay attention to this,” Dumont told members of the planning committee, referring to the decisions that will be made by the city government on the project. “A negative recommendation will tell them that this is not a friendly place to come to build housing and apartments they need. Investors will pay attention too. “
But Randy Kelly, who said he had no objection to the project, pleaded with planners to consider traffic problems in the neighborhood.
“Please take a look at the impact of traffic,” said Kelly, adding that there is an issue with the interrupted traffic on Randolph Street, where he lives. “It could increase the traffic cut on Randolph and Lady Astor [Street]. There will be a lot more traffic out of Stewart Street. “
Peter Wrenn, a resident of West Main Street, said neighbors are concerned about the increase in population density the project would bring, as well as the increase in traffic problems at the Central Boulevard exit on West Main Street opposite. on Stewart Street.
About 20-30 emergency vehicles use that exit to reach Sovah Health-Danville, Wrenn added.
“It’s already very congested at that intersection,” he said, adding that funerals at Townes Funeral Home also increase traffic there.
Wrenn also expressed concern about a possible decline in property values on West Main Street and surrounding streets.
“It puts millions of dollars in reinvestment at risk,” he said.
But Mark Gignac, director of special projects at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, stressed that accommodation will be needed for those who train under the institute’s different programs.
He also mentioned the facility where Tyson Foods will soon open land in the area. That project will bring 376 jobs.
“Housing is the major concern for those involved in economic development efforts,” Gignac said. “I support this particular proposal. The institute is looking for many other projects like this “.
The project will have 231 parking spaces, about 1.4 spaces per unit, 40 percent more than the city required for such a project, Gould said. A traffic analysis is a condition for approval of the project, he said.
It will also provide pedestrian access to West Main Street, as well as access to Ballou Park and nearby facilities, including Crema & Vine and the King Cropp restaurant, Gould said.
The planning commission voted 6-0 to recommend the city council to approve the project.