The City Council of Elizabeth City voted Monday to approve a zoning request of just over 7 acres of land along Ehringhaus Street across from Southgate that would allow for construction of a possible apartment complex.
The request was made on behalf of the property owners by Sumit Gupta, co-founder and CEO of SAGA Realty and Construction in Kill Devil Hills, to change the zoning for seven plots along the northside of Ehringhaus Street located in the area between McArthur and Elcinoca drives.
The seven parcels had been zoned since 1972 as a combination of residential, industrial and general business, with a scattering of single family dwellings and vacant lots.
The lots are owned by Earnest Allen, Jr. of Beaufort; the Beasley Trust of Kitty Hawk; Joseph Chory, III of Elizabeth City; Tukalo, LLC of Elizabeth City and Green Clean Elizabeth City, LLC of Norfolk.
The request would have the lots designated as “Apartment District” which “is primarily intended to accommodate a variety of high density single-family detached dwellings, modular homes, two-family dwellings and multi-family dwellings”, according to a memo to council members from City Manager Montre’ Freeman and interim Community Development Director Reginald Goodson.
Maximum density in the Apartment District is limited to “7 dwelling unites per gross acre for single-family detached dwellings, 9 dwelling units per gross acre for two-family residences, and 20 to 22 multi-family dwelling units per gross acre.”
Customary accessory, recreational, educational and institutional land uses that are compatible with the high-density residential nature of an Apartment District are also allowed, according to the memo.
The city’s Planning Commission voted February 7 to unanimously recommend approval of the rezoning request, and city staff also gave their recommendation of approval to the City Council, finding it was consistent with the city’s land use plan and the zoning pattern of the area.
John Van Dalsum, co-owner of a nearby flooring business on Hughes Boulevard, was the only member of the public to speak during the hearing. He expressed concerns about consistent stormwater drainage issues in the area towards Knobbs Creek which runs behind his property near the intersection of Hughes and Halstead boulevards.
Goodson said during his testimony to city council that there have been no formal submissions for an apartment complex, and the zoning change is just the first step towards a possible proposal from a developer.
Questions to Goodson from councilmembers included possible traffic issues from an apartment complex due to limited road frontage along Ehirnghaus that could lead to residents using Sam Davis Drive which connects with Hughes Boulevard on the northside of the acreage.
Goodson noted that the N.C. Department of Transportation has an engineer that participates in the technical review process of any application for a project, and they would be able to address those concerns if such a request comes in to the city.
The zoning change was approved on a unanimous vote by councilmembers Barbara Baxter, Ketherine Felton, Joe Peel, Kem Spence, Johnnie Walton and Rose Whitehurst. Councilmember Johnson Biggs was not present.