By Richard Sullins |

The Sanford City Council gave its approval Tuesday to several new housing developments in various stages of completion, developments which will help address current and projected housing shortages as new industries start up their operations.

The council approved a $1,098,508.45 performance security to guarantee the uninstalled improvements for Phase I of the 78 South Subdivision, a 120-lot residential single-family subdivision off Tramway Road that will be served by public water, sewer, and streets. Preliminary approval of the subdivision plat was approved by the City Council in January.

Acceptance of the performance security allows the developer, Flagship Ventures LLC, to record the final plat and legally create the lots for the development while the public improvements are being constructed and installed prior to December 1, 2022. The property is located off Tramway Road near the intersection with Lemon Springs Road. The developer is Bobby Branch of Raccoon Path Holdings of Sanford.

A second development owned by Raccoon Path Holdings, along with Truesdale Capital of Chapel Hill, was annexed into the city in response to a request from the group for a noncontiguous annexation and was classified in a separate action as the Northview Conditional Zoning District.

This 43.1-acre tract has frontage on Hawkins Avenue and Beechtree Drive just north of the roundabout at the intersection of U.S. 1 and U.S. 15-501. The property is being developed as apartments and potential commercial uses. Keith Cotton of Cotton Road, whose property adjoins the future development, was on hand to say the cleanup that has already been done by the developer has greatly improved the look of the community and he anticipates that further work will continue that trend.

A map showing the location of a new development along Beechtree Drive near the U.S. 1/U.S. 15-501 intersection.

Traffic is always a concern with new developments like this one, particularly when they are situated alongside major thoroughfares like Hawkins Avenue. Cars exiting from Beechtree Drive onto Hawkins have a difficult turn if they are headed north and there can be a wait of several minutes for them during high traffic times. There is a roundabout just south of the intersection that allows vehicles to make the u-turn safely, but the developer has indicated that the North Carolina Department of Transportation will be consulted to see if other options might be available.

And it isn’t housing, but the council will be taking up a petition next month for a non-contiguous annexation from Daybreak Farms LLC for a 46.9-acre tract of land previously owned by Lee Iron and Metal at 1600 Colon Road in connection with an economic development project. Daybreak Farms is a land investment firm based in Raleigh that has been in operation since 1999.

Project Frame is a code name assigned to the project by the North Carolina Department of Commerce for an $18 million project in Sanford that will create at least 235 jobs in the building construction materials industry over the next four years. The Council will hold a public hearing on January 18 on annexing and rezoning the tract.

“It’s going to be a busy year,” City Manager Hal Hegwer said of 2022. “Everyone wants to be in Sanford.”

A bright new year is coming

Councilman Sam Gaskins took a moment at meeting’s end to reflect on the arrival of Winter Solstice on December 21, marking the shortest day of the year and how it brings hope for those in the Northern Hemisphere of longer ones. Gaskins reflected on the difficulties that the community has faced over the past two years, particularly brought on by the COVID pandemic, and said the Solstice is something to be celebrated.

Gaskins spoke of two $10,000 gifts made on Tuesday by the Sanford chapter of Modern Woodmen of America. One was a gift made to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Carolina in Sanford and the other to the local Salvation Army unit to assist in workforce development. He also reminded the council of a $2 million pledge made in July by E. Eugene Moore of Bear Creek Arsenal to create a streamlined degree for set up technicians and keeping the school’s tool and die program innovative.

“These kinds of gifts,” Gaskins said, “can mean changes for whole families because they can provide the means for kids to attend community college. As I look around, I can see much hope for the future of Sanford and Lee County. This is indeed a happy new year.”

Mayor Chet Mann was characteristically optimistic as he ended the meeting by taking stock of the year about to pass into history and the one yet to begin.

“I’m so very grateful to our staff and this Council for making the most of what has worked over the last 2 years. As this year ends soon, it’s important for us to try to remember to show gratitude,” he said. “I think there is greatness in the average citizen in Sanford and Lee County. We all want the same things. We just try to get there differently.”

The mayor stressed his wish that people would exercise care and take care of themselves and others during the holiday break.

“We don’t want to lose what we have gained back,” he said. “Nobody wants to go back to where we were. We’ve all worked hard get back to where we are, so I’m confident that we will all be continuing to do what we know to do to stay as healthy as we can over the winter months.”