New 72-unit facility to be located off Catawba Road near Walmart

The Havelock Board of Commissioners has paved the way for the construction of a new 72-unit apartment complex on Catawba Road.

During Monday night’s meeting, the board approved an application for a conditional zoning district to allow South Creek Investments to construct the Woodfield Cove affordable housing apartment complex. The plan calls for the apartments to be located on 12 acres of a 33-acre parcel at 201 Catawba Road, which is zoned for highway commercial and multi-family residential use.

The board voted 3-2 to approve the conditional zoning district request, with commissioners Danny Walsh and Brenda Wilson voting against the motion.

Walmart abuts the site to the west, while Cherry Point sits to the north and east.

Under the approved plan, the apartment complex will consist of nine two-story buildings, with eight units per building and four per story. Of the 72 proposed units, 24 will be three bedrooms, 36 will be two bedrooms and 12 will be one bedroom.

A clubhouse/office building is also proposed. An open area on the north side of the site is designated as a recreation area and playground.

The plan calls for a sidewalk along the front of the property that will be extended to the intersection of Catawba Road and the Walmart access road. The developer has agreed to widen Catawba Road from the existing three lanes at the Walmart access road to the first entrance into the Woodfield Cove site, and then provide a transition taper to the second entrance to the site. The plan calls for re-aligning the intersection of Catawba Road and Education Lane to create a 90-degree intersection on the south side.

According to Havelock Mayor Will Lewis, rent at the apartment complex will vary to meet the needs of different income levels, mainly those making less than $34,000 annually. He said the apartments would not be subsidized.

In April 2016, commissioners voted down a proposed 80-unit apartment complex at the site. The apartments were to be subsidized by the N.C. Housing Finance Agency and intended for families earning $28,000 or less per year.

A similar 72-unit complex received approval from commissioners in May 2015. According to Lewis, the developer was unable to secure financing for the project at the time. The board was required to rescind the previous approval Monday night before voting on the new conditional zoning district request.

Lewis explained that South Creek Investments would use a similar process to seek funding for the project approved Monday — tax credits from the Internal Revenue Service which would then be sold to investors in return for money for the construction of Woodfield Cove.

The mayor stressed that no city money would be used for the project.

“There’s still a chance the project won’t happen,” said Lewis. “It will probably be sometime this summer before we know if the funding has come through.”

Lewis said the addition of a new commissioner Jim Kohr, who voted in favor, and concessions made by the developer helped secure votes for the apartment complex.

“The developer went above and beyond to address traffic and drainage issues at the site, and that went a long way,” said Lewis. “They weren’t just looking to slap down some apartments in Havelock.”

Concerns about traffic around the complex and the impact the complex would have on nearby Arthur W. Edwards Elementary School and on property values in the nearby Westbrooke subdivision had been raised previously for those opposed to the complex.

Also during Monday night’s meeting, the board decided to table discussion on a proposed brunch bill rule that would have allowed alcohol sales within city limits beginning at 10 a.m. on Sundays, rather than the current time of noon. State legislators passed a bill that gave cities and counties the option of deciding on the earlier time for alcohol sales on Sundays.