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'A detriment to the community': Belmont neighbors unhappy about proposed housing development

The proposed plan by Turnstone Group, LLC would include about 630 new single family homes built on 275 acres of vacant land

BELMONT, N.C. — Belmont city leaders and residents are divided over a proposed housing development that would add hundreds of homes along South Point Road. 

The proposed development, known as the Henry Chapel community, would include 628 single-family homes on what is now a vacant 275-acre lot. Turnstone Group, LLC is the developer behind the plan that's placed under current suburban residential zoning. 

While the community would add new homes to Belmont, people who live in the area say it would only make the traffic worse. 

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"This particular development that is on slate to be built, I see it as a detriment to the community, especially with the traffic on South Point Road," neighbor John Henry said. "It's difficult to get up and down the road now as it is."

On a typical weekday, neighbors complain about the ongoing traffic backup that happens when nearby schools are doing drop-off or pick-up for students. 

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Some residents oppose the proposed development in Belmont, saying it would cause even further traffic problems on South Point Road.

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“We base our travel schedule based on the school for one part," Henry said. "Having to leave earlier or later to get to our destination.”

Belmont's rapid growth is causing some serious growing pains. Neighbors and city leaders are now concerned with new construction, more houses and more people, the traffic issues could worsen.

“We’re growing faster than our infrastructure can handle," Belmont City Manager Adrian Miller said.

One of the suggested calls to action is to make South Point Road the main two-lane thoroughfare in this part of Belmont into a four-lane road instead. Ultimately, that decision will be up to NCDOT.

City leaders believe there are some benefits that could come as a result of the new development.

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“The project would increase population, increase tax base, more vibrancy for our community, more customers for our businesses," Miller said.

But Miller also recognizes the negative challenges too.

“More people, more traffic, more students for our schools, just more congestion in general," Miller said.

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The next step is for the city of Belmont to continue reviewing the plan and complete a transportation impact analysis with the help of NCDOT. From there, the Belmont Planning and Zoning Board may consider it further.

The developer has scheduled a community meeting on Oct. 18 at First United Methodist Church of Belmont starting at 6 p.m.

Contact Briana Harper at bharper@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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