By Gordon Anderson

When the Sanford City Council rejected a petition for voluntary annexation in January by an Apex-based developer who had hoped to put several hundred new homes on 168 acres of land off Valley Road just outside the current city limits, it gave a glimpse of what municipal leaders envision when it comes to the construction of new housing tracts.

It’s not that the city doesn’t want or need this type of development, as the main story in the newspaper you’re holding makes more than clear. In fact, the opposite is true, as the city sees this type of residential growth by developers who want to be in the city limits as one of the best ways to continue expanding its tax base.

And so it’s a matter of guiding — managing, even — that development toward a specific standard of quality.

“I can say with some confidence that the amount of subdivisions that will be built in Lee County in the next few years will be on the rise, both ‘big box’ and custom,” said Brad D. Cummings, a local home builder. “On a positive note, zoning and restrictive covenants are in place to help ensure that new developments would be an asset to the surrounding communities. The city of Sanford’s leadership has done a great job in laying the groundwork and guidelines for future developments.”

In the case of the Valley Road development, many of the most public objections came from neighbors in the area who didn’t think a high density development fit with the surrounding area. But city leaders also had concerns that the project in question would lead to lower-valued homes that might not otherwise fit with the vision many of them have for Sanford’s future.

There’s a desire among those leaders to see amenities including a variety of floor plans and materials, curb and gutter, sidewalks, green and shared spaces, and a level of density which makes all of those efforts as cost effective as possible.

So as residential developments in Sanford’s city limits are announced and begun in the coming months and years, you can expect to see a specific level of quality which should bring a level of change — for the better — for those looking to purchase a home here.