By Richard Sullins |

The Sanford City Council gave approval Tuesday to preliminary design plats for two new housing developments that will make available nearly 1,000 new homes inside the city limits.

Both developments had previously been zoned, but the conditional zoning district designations under which they were created require the council to approve the design plats and any future modifications that may be requested by the builders.

The first of these is the Midtown Village South subdivision, a 288.74-acre tract that has frontage on Colon and Lower Moncure roads north of the city’s center. This project, which is among the largest housing developments currently under consideration in Lee County, will create up to 732 single-family homes and 171 townhouses for a total of 903 units.

Mark Lyczkowski of Sanford is the developer of Midtown Village South and told the council it will be developed in three phases. Documents submitted to the city indicate that 84 acres of the tract will be preserved as open spaces.

Brick Capital Community Development Corporation also submitted a preliminary plat, this one for a 15.45-acre tract to be known as the Washington Avenue Subdivision. This site is proposed to be home for 45 single-family homes that will help meet the needs for affordable housing in Sanford.

The Washington Avenue project, just across from the newly renovated Horton Park, is in the second phase of the project’s design.

“I am very excited for Brick Capital,” said Democratic Councilman Byron Buckels, who is also mayor pro tem. “Washington Avenue will be a bright spot for our citizens there, especially with the improvements recently made at Horton Park.”

The availability of affordable housing is key to the city’s growth. The median sale price of homes during May in Sanford ranged from $225,000 to $300,000, depending on the website consulted. It’s at least a third higher in the Triangle, where the median sale price last month stood at $400,000 in Raleigh.

Outgoing Mayor Chet Mann called the Washington Avenue subdivision “a perfect example of what happens when people work together – just a fantastic project.”

The council took the first steps with two other projects where annexation into the city limits has been requested. The first is a 611.9-acre tract at the intersection of Ammons Farm and Rod Sullivan roads across from the Raleigh Executive Jetport north of the city, a request for non-contiguous annexation conveyed by Stephens Enterprises LLC and Justin Matthew Stephens as its principal.

A petition for contiguous annexation was requested by LAMCO Custom Builders LLC of Raleigh for a 7.2-acre tract that runs the length of Tyndall Drive to its intersection with Carthage Street. Public hearings for the Stephens and LAMCO projects will be held on June 21.

Chatham Park water project

If you’ve driven north to Chapel Hill along U.S. 15-501, then you’ve passed through the heart of one of the largest developments in central North Carolina. Once completed, Chatham Park near Pittsboro will exceed 7,000 acres in size and will have up to 22,000 homes. Groundbreaking for this huge residential area began in 2014 and the target date for completion is 2045.

The Sanford City Council has agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding with Chatham Park Investors that could result in the provision of water and sewer services to the development. One of Sanford’s greatest assets is its ability to provide those services and the MOU stipulates that Sanford will assess its capability to provide up to 3 million gallons per day of both water and sewer services to the development.

Assuming the city can meet these demands, it will determine the costs for doing so while Chatham Park looks for funding to make it a reality. If both those objectives can be accomplished, Chatham Park Investors will install infrastructure that will allow interconnection with lines belonging to the city. A wastewater connection would have to be made to the city’s Big Buffalo Wastewater Reclamation Facility.

Budget adoption

The council also gave final approval to a budget of $64,202,816 for Fiscal Year 2022-23. The revenue and spending plan for the coming year keeps the property tax rate at 62 cents per $100 of valuation.

Sanford has seen an increase in the costs for providing water and sewer services, and the budget would raise those rates by 10 percent and 6 percent, respectively, meaning the average household would see their water and sewer bill go up by about $4.23 per month. Solid waste fees would increase by $10 per year.

City workers would see their paychecks increased through a 4 percent cost of living adjustment and they would be eligible for an additional merit increase of up to 2 percent. The city proposes one new position for the coming year, that of an additional building inspector needed to help with the booming construction taking place.

An existing part-time customer service representative position in utilities would be converted to full-time status, and three other positions (another building inspector, a grants analyst, and utilities and engineering director) would be funded as full-time for their first full year.

The budget focuses its revenues on accomplishing the five strategic goals adopted by the council last month: economic prosperity for all, preserving and creating affordable housing, vibrant downtown, planning and infrastructure for growth, and engagement. Hegwer said in May that meeting that these goals “anchor the city’s objectives and provide a tool to prioritize spending and resource allocations.”

Mann thanked the staff and council for their hard work during the spring to assemble the final budget of his third term as the city’s chief executive.

“I’m very grateful for all that has been done. The public may not realize that we start working on this (budget) in February, but we did, and all those hours spent in workshops were very helpful,” he said.

The mayor’s term doesn’t end until August, but there was a tinge of reflection in his voice as the spending plan that Mayor-Elect Rebecca Wyhof Salmon will inherit was adopted.

“Growth usually comes in arrears,” he said. “And we will see the benefits of these dollars later.”