Aldermen consider subdivision 3/6/2015

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 6, 2015

Artist’s rendering of a southern cottage/craftsman-stye home like those proposed for the subdivision under consideration.

Aldermen consider subdivision

By John Howell
Subdivision developers David Smith and Brandon Crumpler heard questions and concerns from Westmoreland Heights residents during a public hearing Tuesday to determine whether Batesville aldermen will issue a variance that would allow Cottage Creek Subdivision to be laid out as planned.

C and S Real Estate plans to build 17 homes along McBride Street, north of Eureka Road at the South Panola Bus Shop. They plan to extend the street 830 feet into the midst of the 11 acres which comprise the project, ending it, if aldermen vote to approve their variance request, with a cul-de-sac. Cul-de-sacs on streets longer than 500 feet require a variance according to current subdivision regulations.

New subdivision regulations
Cottage Creek Subdivision is the first since the city adopted more stringent regulations for subdivisions in 2008. The developers will be responsible for building infrastructure, including the street extension and the sidewalks now required by the 2008 subdivision ordinance.

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Almost 20 residents of Westmoreland Heights attended. Cottage Creek will be between Westmoreland Heights and Highway 51.

Smith said that the homes would be “Southern Cottage/Craftsman-style, custom-built homes.”
Lot sizes will range from .34 acre to .65 acre, “So they are not zero-lot-line homes,” Smith said. Lot frontages range from 100 to 120 feet by 140 feet deep.

Subdivision covenants being prepared for the development will prohibit outbuildings, fences without approval of a homeowners’ association, storage units and the parking of RVs, boats or four-wheelers in yards, Smith said.

Single family, no rental
“It’s only single family,” he said. “We’re not allowing rental property unless it’s a hardship case,” approved by the homeowner’s association, Smith continued.

“I would expect the average size home to be between 2,000 and 2,200 square feet,” said Smith, who added that he planned to sell his personal home on Court Street and move to a 1,800 to 1,900 square foot home he plans in the new subdivision.

“We’ll have matching lampposts, … everybody will have matching mailboxes,” Smith said.
A homeowners’ association would initially include Smith or Crumpler as president until a sufficient number of residents have moved in to elect officers, Smith said.

Other subdivision details revealed in response to audience questions include:
• No spec homes will be built, Smith said, with the possible exception of one starter home;
• Homes prices would range approximately from $180,000 to $250,000, Smith said.

“One hundred dollars a square foot for sure,” Crumpler said, (with) the stuff we’re putting in them.”

Technologically advanced

“The interior of these homes” Smith said, “— they’re probably the most technologically advanced — you see all the commercials with using your iPad to set your alarms, lock your doors, things like that — I can definitely see that kind of technology going into these homes,” Smith said. “The most modern things that you can possibly put in, that’s what we’re talking about in these home.”

“Most of us were scared to death that y’all were going to go in there and try to build a bunch of cracker boxes,” Tommy Heafner said, prompting laughter from the group.

The homes will be custom-built by Crumpler’s construction company or a builder C and S Real Estate approves, Crumpler said.

“We don’t want any shady people,” Crumpler said.

All wiring will be underground.

“It’s a lot of people here that border your lots, … And certainly with y’all coming up to their back lots, I would have concerns, too,” Don Kilgore said.

Tax question
“You’re going to build streets and the curbs and gutters, sidewalks, you all are doing all that and adding it to the cost of each lot,” someone asked. “My taxes won’t be going up to help advance a street, a curb …?”

“We price the lots so that it will pay for all that,” Smith said.

The target market for the homes will be professionals — bankers, nurses, teachers, attorneys and retirees seeking to downsize, Smith said.

Water runoff will be improved by cleaning up a small ditch that flows through the property, Smith said, responding to a drainage question.

“We’re not really changing the water flow,” Crumpler said. “It’s buildable now.”

“But sometimes concrete and gutters and everything speeds water up, too,” Kilgore said.

Privacy lost
“You’re taking my privacy away,” another audience member said. “For that reason I’m not really in favor of this.”

“What we’re trying to do is build something that is nice enough so that someone else doesn’t come in, doesn’t ask for a variance, then builds a lot of smaller homes,” Smith replied.

“They’re looking straight into the back of me, right into the back of my home. My property value goes down.”

“That’s what we’re afraid of,” another audience member said, “that our property values will drop tremendously.”

“I actually think this will help property values,” Smith said.

The developers and Westmoreland residents discussed the impact on property values.
“I think if we can get everything in writing I think we’d be in better shape to make a decision,” one resident said.

Smith had presented a rough draft of covenants proposed for the subdivision.

“This (hearing) is about the variance for this cul-de-sac,” Batesville Code Administrator Pam Comer said. “Regardless of what action takes place here today, if they take any action, it’s still got a process it’s got to go to,” Comer continued, explaining the further steps involved in the subdivision’s approval.

Under advisement
At the conclusion of the hearing, Mayor Jerry Autrey said that board members would not vote on the variance at Tuesday’s meeting.

Aldermen voted unanimously to take the variance under advisement.

“With us doing that, I would like to ask them, when they get their final covenants, if you could get them back to us as quickly as possible,” Alderman Bill Dugger said.

“I can give you covenants for review,” Smith said. “I’m hoping to have them wrapped up within a week.”

“I think what I’m hearing is that they want these (covenants) before they make a decision on the cul-de-sac,” Comer said.