STANFIELD — Reece Gibson, a Stanfield developer, has plans to build a new subdivision on 37.99 acres of property at the corner of River Road and Renee Ford Road.
“My goal is to have a nice, safe neighborhood and something that people will be proud to live in,” Gibson told the Stanly County Commission at their latest board meeting. “It’s well designed. I don’t ever let a builder build a house that I wouldn’t live in myself.”
He mentioned that he isn’t taking on this new project for monetary purposes.
“I do this to keep me alive — I’m eighty years old, and if I don’t stay busy, I won’t live,” Gibson said. “I know the neighbors don’t want more houses down here and I can’t blame them for that, but the Planning Board told me that if I don’t do this, somebody else will.”
With a 4-3 vote, the commissioners narrowly approved Gibson’s request to rezone his four tracts of land from RA (Residential Agriculture) to R20 (Residential).
Chairman Matthew Swain, Vice-Chair Ashley Morgan and Commissioners Tommy Jordan and Lane Furr voted in favor of the request; Commissioners Bill Lawhon, Zach Almond and Mike Barbee voted against the proposed rezoning.
“If we drop this down to R20, would this open up a can of worms with other developers who would want to come back and reduce their lot sizes too?” Commissioner Barbee asked the board. “That would overtax the area and there would be a lot of well-water contamination for those who aren’t on water.”
Because the minimum lot sizes in RA are 30,000 square feet, Gibson needed the rezoning to enact his plan of building smaller lot sizes for the subdivision (around 50 lots that are over 25,000 square feet each), which would create 10 to 12 more homes. Ultimately, Gibson hopes to create an entrance to the subdivision on River Road to match the other entrance into the property on Renee Ford Road.
With the revised standards, rear setbacks would be reduced from 40 feet to 35 feet, and front setbacks would be reduced from 50 feet to 40 feet. The lot sizes are tentatively based on the results of a soil survey that is underway. Gibson has estimated that the price range for the houses would be around $250,000.
In 2008, Gibson developed a subdivision called Stanfield Ridge that is also on Renee Ford Road. The design of homes in the new project will likely be similar to Stanfield Ridge’s homes, which are also zoned R20.
Neighbors have expressed worries regarding traffic, school overcrowding, additional crime and the tax burden. A few of them addressed the commissioners in the public hearing.
“This is going to overcrowd the schools, and there are no plans to build a new school in that area,” said Ernest Alexander, who lives on Renee Ford Road.
“I just don’t think it’s designed environmentally to have that many lots to come in to that area,” Alexander added. “I don’t see how that area is going to sustain that many houses. The negative impact would be a lot greater than what the gain is going to be.”
Though the rezoning effort is a step forward for Gibson’s project, he still needs to get approval from the Stanly County Planning Board, North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Stanly County Board of Education.
Back in March, Gibson’s rezoning request was unanimously denied by the Stanly County Planning Board, which cited concerns about septic systems on the smaller lots as well as reductions in lot size.