[Image by Ken MacDonald: A map of the proposed subdivision expansion.]
By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • A proposal to build up to 191 houses on about 85 acres of land behind West Hoke Middle School will go before Raeford decision-makers this month.
This is the second time a plan for the property has been brought up for public hearing, but the plans are somewhat different than they were in 2019 when a crowd of Raeford residents raised concerns about it.
Forge Investment Group LLC, representing property owners JNM Investments and Robert Wright, seeks to build up to 191 single-family homes in the area of Thomas Drive, also known as Raeford Village. The developer has requested preliminary subdivision approval for the project, an extension known as Raeford Commons.
The city will hold two public hearings on the matter with the first scheduled for the Raeford Planning Board meeting Monday, March 29 at 5:15 p.m.; and the second to be held at the Raeford City Council meeting Monday, April 5 at 7 p.m.
Both meetings will take place at City Hall on Main Street in Raeford. Interested citizens are welcome to attend the meetings and express their views and opinions on the project.
The current subdivision approval request is different from the plans of a few years ago. In 2019 the property owners applied to rezone the property from Residential-12 to Residential-8, to allow for smaller lots of a minimum 8,000 square feet. The original intent was to build up to 270 homes on the property.
A crowd of city residents spoke against the development at a Raeford City Council meeting in February 2019, raising concerns about drainage and flooding in existing housing developments in the area. Residents were also worried about impacts to their property value, increased traffic and more noise in their neighborhoods.
At the time the city council could only vote on the rezoning, not make any decisions regarding the development itself. The council ultimately voted 4-1 to send the matter back to the Raeford Planning Board.
Today the land is still zoned R-12 with minimum lot sizes of 12,000 square feet, and the developer plans to proceed leaving the R-12 zoning as it is, according to a public notice from the city. The project apparently also dropped about 80 homes from the earlier version of the plan, reducing the density of the proposed housing development.
If approved, the subdivision would be on city water and sewer service. The city would receive $94,750 total in subdivision fees for the project at $500 per lot, plus a $250 application fee.
The proposed development would be located in the general area behind Raeford Evangelical Methodist Church and Palmer Green Apartments, bordered by Rogers Street.