Drawing shows how the subdivision will be laid out
LOUISBURG -- A proposed 147-home development project received approval from the Louisburg Planning Commission last Thursday and, assuming other permits are obtained in a timely manner, the project could be under construction as early as summer, 2020. All of the homes will be single family.
The project is being planned for the 62.2 acre former Green Hill Country Club on the south side of Louisburg along NC 39 South. Average lot size will be about a quarter of an acre and there are nearly 18 acres reserved for open spaces.
The primary developer is Winslow Homes of Youngsville and Matthew Winslow said the project will include a mixture of housing types and is being designed to take full advantage of its proximity to the Tar River, which runs along the back edge of the property.
Winslow said plans call for keeping but renovating the existing club house building, the swimming pool and converting the existing tennis courts to multi-use courts of some type, although that hasn't been finalized.
One major attribute to the development will be easy access to the Tar River and both a picnic area and some hiking trails are planned for a piece of the property that will join the club house and the Tar River.
Winslow, who is partnering in the development with Mike Moss of Wake Forest, said the idea is to hit a price point of $200,000 to $300,000 for the homes, adding that there will be price ranges within those totals depending on what individual owners want their home to include.
One aspect of the development is an area set aside for about 24 "patio style" homes that are specifically designed for active, older adults, he said.
Those homes will have slightly wider than normal doors, have either a no step or one-step design and be configured overall for easy access.
The patio homes will range in size from 1,500- to 2,000-square-feet and also will be targeted for the $200,000 to $300,000 price point.
The other homes in the development will likely be one and a half or two stories as well as one-story ranch-type homes, Winslow said and target the same price point depending on options that the owners select.
"We want a mix of products," to meet the desires of potential residents, Winslow said, adding that his firm has done a great deal of research to see what those in the market for a home need and want.
Although some of the houses are suggested for older adults, there will be no restrictions on who can live in the development. "We really want a mix of age groups," he said.
Winslow explained that his company, Winslow Homes, will be forming a partnership with another construction company to build the homes. Homes and lots will be sold as a package, he added.
The second builder has not yet been selected, Winslow said, although he and his staff have been conducting interviews.
No formal name for the development has been chosen but in deference to the long local history of Green Hill Country Club, Winslow said it will probably feature Green Hill in the formal name.
(Green Hill was the name of an 18th Century settler of Franklin County whose preserved Georgian home is nearby and is in private hands.)
Green Hill Country Club has been operating on a scaled-back schedule for some time as it and other golf courses in the area seem to have fallen out of favor.
Winslow said his company plans to close on the purchase as soon as all the necessary permits are in hand.
Governing the new development will be a Homeowners Association (HOA) and owners will pay dues to maintain the amenities like the clubhouse and swimming pool, he said
"We are part of this county and we want to make absolutely sure we do a good job," he said.
"I would like to say we'd be under construction by next summer," Winslow said, but noted that the next step is for the Louisburg Town Council to consider the project, probably in a vote slated in December.
Then the developers must obtain plan approvals and permits from the State Department of Transportation, as well as permits for handling storm water, water and wastewater treatment.
"That will take awhile," he said.
"But we are planning a quality development. We want to do the right thing -- to be a good neighbor in Louisburg."
Shortly after getting Louisburg Planning Board approval, Winslow lauded the town for its cooperative, helpful attitude toward this development.
He said Louisburg leaders have "really stepped out" to promote the community recently, doing it "the right way."
He singled out efforts to redevelop and improve downtown as examples that are positive for the future.
"That helps make us feel confident," Winslow said.
"We're excited to be first," he said about developments that he sees on the horizon for Louisburg as U.S. 401 nears completion and other growth and development becomes reality.
The Town Council is expected to vote on the project at its next meeting, slated for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16.
Asked about the project, Town Council member Boyd Sturges lauded it as "smart growth. We are looking forward to having a nice housing development and to responsibly growing our town.
"Rooftops can be good," he said, "and this is good for Louisburg."
Commenting on the project, Louisburg Town Administrator Jonathan Franklin said that "it is unfortunate that we are losing a source of recreation and a golf course, but we are fortunate that this change is being handled by a local person who understands the town's needs and expectations.
"I am excited for the opportunities that this project offers: a range of housing options from patio homes for retirees to four bedroom homes, a pool, a club house, a multi-use court, greenways, a picnic area, and possibly a putting green," Franklin said.
"Louisburg has seen very little residential growth these past few decades. To have our first subdivision be something of this caliber, being developed by a group of Franklin County locals, is truly a blessing for this community," Franklin said.
"Matthew has been exceptional to work with thus far, and I look forward to working with him to the end of this project and the start of the next one.
"A big hurdle for our economic development efforts has been our lack of rooftop developments. This changes things and we're looking forward to 2020," Franklin said.