Nineteen homes are proposed on a 5.6 acre tract of wooded, undeveloped land at 12800 Holmes Rd

Proposed housing at 128th and Holmes alarms Woodbridge neighbors  

“This is a pretty common scenario around town. Neighbors want as little housing as they can get. Builders want to be cost effective.”

By Kathy Feist

Limeview Development has proposed a residential development at 12800 Holmes Rd. (near Blue Ridge Blvd) consisting of 19 single family homes on 5.6 acres of undeveloped wooded property.  The preliminary plan and a request for rezoning will be reviewed by the City Planning Commission in a public hearing on Tuesday, July 5th.

Plans include 19 homes of four various designs within a figure 8-type layout that runs parallel to Holmes Rd. Larger homes will be built at the north and south end of the development with smaller, sometimes narrow homes inbetween. While structures vary in size, all will have a one car garage. No greenspace has been designed into the plan. Two water detention ponds for runoff are planned on the northeast and southeast corners of the site. Limeview purchased the property in September 2021 for $147,000.

Limefield Development’s prototype for the smallest house is narrow and long at 3,320 sq ft. Photo by Kathy Feist

Currently the property is zoned O (office). Limeview is requesting the property be zoned R5 (medium density).  R-5 requires lots to be at least 5000 square feet as well as 45 feet in width. Limeview’s lot sizes range from 5741 square feet to 21,179 square feet (9605 square feet average). The proposed lots are at least 50 feet in width. According to a City staff report the request meets the Red Bridge area plan which allows up to 8.7 units per acre for medium density zones. Limeview is proposing 3.37 units per acre.

The homes are surrounded by the Woodbridge neighborhood development on the south and west end. While many of the Woodbridge neighbors will be viewing the rooftops from 30 feet above, most were not shy in expressing an opinionated view of the site at a June 28 virtual meeting with the planners.  

Chief among the concerns was the exit from the development into heavy traffic along a curve on Holmes Rd. “The curve is incredibly dangerous,” said Scott Caron, a retired policeman who lives nearby. He claimed there is at least one wreck a month at the section. 

 Others were concerned about an inordinate amount of cars parked along the street due to one-car garages, making it difficult for fire trucks to pass through. 

The design currently does not include green space. However, the city ordinance requires a street tree planting plan as well as a dedication of parkland or private open space. A $64,000 per acre payment is otherwise required from the developer. 

Residents were also concerned with the developer, Emile Brown’s, lack of aesthetics in other parts of town. Brown has built tall, narrow row housing on small infill lots around 91st and Grand and 92nd and McGee. The houses are out of character with the surrounding neighborhood, which has small ranch homes.  Attorney Michelle Burns and architect Lonnie Shank defended the builder, saying he was a very conscientious person. However Brown was not present at the virtual meeting because he was on vacation. 

There were many questions that the development team could not answer, such as cost of homes, amount of space between buildings, and why the builder was not seeking an R-75 zoning like the rest of the surrounding neighborhoods. 

“This is a pretty common scenario around town,” said Shanks. “Neighbors want as little housing as they can get. Builders want to be cost effective.”

All three refused to give the name of the builder, providing only a hint: the word lime is his name spelled backwards. 

Emil Brown may have bigger concerns if the city approves his plan. According to a local developer familiar with the property, the soil consists of fill dirt dumped from another construction site. The soil should be tested before further decisions are made. 

 

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