The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners on Thursday unanimously approved the rezoning of about 100 acres on Belews Lake for a new housing subdivision that will have homes priced from about $350,000 to well over $500,000 for lakefront sites.
The proposed Lakeside development will be on land located to the south of Reidsville Road on the east side of Belews Lake, with access from the Guilford County side of a site that straddles the county line.
Originally planned to have well water, the development plans were revised and call for water to come from the town of Stokesdale in Guilford County.
County officials said they received letters and telephone calls of support and opposition for the project.
The most vocal opponent, Christine Ryals, who lives near the proposed development, has told the county board that she fears increased traffic on the road in the area and a loss of the rural lifestyle. While acknowledging that change would come to the area, she has advocated requiring larger lot sizes and limiting access to the development to one entry off Happy Hill Road in Guilford County.
Ryals has also pointed out that the deal to bring piped water from Stokesdale has not been inked. Aaron King, the director of city-county planning, told commissioners on Thursday that he is confident the developer can get the town water.
"There is always a chance that something could potentially fall through, but Stokesdale seems excited to add customers onto the line," King said. "They would be committed to putting in the water lines to make this happen."
One nearby resident, Doc Taylor, operates a ranch for children called the Little Hat Ranch located on Van Hoy Road, which leads to one of the access points for the proposed development. Taylor said traffic would pose a danger for the children and that if the connecting road must be built, it should have speed breakers.
Another Van Hoy Road resident, Nelson Waite, focused on environmental concerns, expressing the fear that water quality in the lake could be affected by septic tanks in the development, or that erosion problems could occur. Waite said the development could increase the workload for fire departments, law enforcement and emergency services.
Greg Garrett, representing developer R.S. Parker Homes LLC, said the project will increase the county tax base by more than $35 million. He said that most nearby property owners "realize that change is inevitable and the plan being proposed should not negatively affect their property values nor make living unsafe."
The property is currently owned by the heirs of E.M. Leight. Elizabeth Quick, one of the heirs, said in a letter to the county board that the land has been in the Leight family for more than 100 years and was acquired by her grandmother, Mollie Leight of Walkertown.
Quick said the heirs were "careful to select a buyer who will be attentive to the environment and will plan a residential community that is consistent with the neighboring properties and developments."
In other action on Thursday, commissioners:
- Approved the receipt of $578,000 from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services for heating expense relief for low-income households of elderly and disabled persons.
- Awarded a contract to Allied Universal Security Services in the amount of $7.4 million over five years to provide security at the following county locations: the government center, social services, the courthouse, public health, human services and libraries. The company is the same one doing those services now.
- Awarded a contract to replace two 325-ton water chillers at the county jail to Professional Air Systems LLC at a cost of $385,213.
- Awarded a contract to Tek84 Inc. in the amount of $149,000 to provide a walk-through body scanner at the jail to detect illicit contraband on arrestees.