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Plans progress on US 158 development

GATESVILLE – Plans are moving forward to develop 160 acres along US 158 in front of Gates County High School.

As is visible to those passing by, the former heavily wooded area has been cleared. Behind the scenes, the Gates County Planning Board has approved forwarding to the county commissioners a request to hold a rezoning public hearing on the property.

The commissioners agreed with that request, opting to allow public input at their next evening meeting, now set for Nov. 17.

Gates County Planning and Development Services Director Randy Cahoon said the rezoning request will encompass 45 acres of front frontage as Commercial property; the 82 acres behind the road front as R-1 Residential; and 30 acres at the eastern rear of the property as RMF-72 (Residential Multi-Family: up to 72 units).

Cahoon told the commissioners that the multi-family development was a “concept plan.”

“The Health Department has the final say in those planned 72 units,” Cahoon said. “It’s a sewer capacity issue. If they (developers) have to use a community sewer system, it reduces those units to 20.”

As for the commercial property, a much-needed commodity in Gates County, Cahoon said there were three, four-acre parcels, one that was 4.25 acres in size and 10 others measuring 1.5 acres each.

“To date, the only commercial property slated to be placed on the commercial portion of the property is DaVita Kidney Dialysis Center,” Cahoon noted, adding that firm was in current negotiations for Parcel I (4 acres on the western corner of the proposed development).

“Locating a dialysis center in Gates County will be of great benefit to our citizens,” said Commission Board Chairman J.S. Pierce, adding that locals were forced to travel outside the county to receive this type of medical service.

All of the commercial properties would be served by two entrances off US 158. Those entrances would be 800 feet apart.

The entrances will also access the residential property. There, separated by a 50-foot landscape buffer behind the commercial property, are 61, R-1 zoned residential lots.

Located on the back right corner is the area proposed for multi-family units (townhouses). Four acres of that area is reserved for soccer fields.

The entire area is currently zoned Agricultural.

“The Planning Board has issued a statement to the effect that the request to rezone matches (Gates County’s) Land Use Plan and is consistent with all current county policies regarding development of this mixture of uses,” Cahoon concluded.