STALLINGS — The Town of Stallings and DR Horton settled a lawsuit earlier this month on the Stinson Farms development.
The mix-use development, according to the Town of Stallings, is about 73 acres that would consist of gas stations, fast food restaurants and multi-family homes, single-family homes and townhomes. It would be located near the intersection of Idlewild Road and I-485, adjacent to the Shannamara neighborhood and across the Idlewild Shopping Center.
Plans for the Stinson Farms development were sent to the town in April of 2019 — prior to it rewriting its zoning ordinances which would allow council to deny construction projects that “do not align with the town’s vision,” per the Town of Stallings. In April, the council voted (4-2) to turn down the development application even after “months of negotiations” with DR Horton because it was not a “walkable activity center” as defined in the Stallings Comprehensive Land Use Plan, per the town’s website.
In the lawsuit, Stinson Farms would have a brick buffer between it and residents on Anglesey Court. There is a limit of one gas station and two fast food restaurants, but that does not include places like Panera, Chipotle, Starbucks or similar “fast-casual” establishments. There is a minimum of one full-service restaurant and it must be decided on before other commercial parcels are completed. Finally, the Town of Stallings would not pay legal fees and face the risk of “substantial economic damages,” according to the Town of Stallings.
If the courts agreed with DR Horton, then the Town of Stallings could have been liable for an estimated minimum of $2 million. That estimate was calculated by the Town’s legal counsel and the NC League of Municipalities. “Such a judgment would likely require the Town to increase property taxes on all property owners to offset the difference,” per the town’s website.
Too, if the courts sided with DR Horton, they could construct Stinson Farms without honoring any previously negotiated terms. “Overall, the Town felt the increased intensity would significantly and adversely affect surrounding neighborhoods and burden infrastructure,” according to the Town.
The lawsuit allows 594 mixed-residential units permitted rather than 1,000 multi-family units that could have been constructed under the previous ordinance. It also includes the brick wall buffer that will be five feet and have landscaping, large open spaces are required, the restaurants and gas station limitations and the gas station will be located closer to the I-485 interchange.
All costs associated with transportation improvements will be paid by DR Horton.
On Monday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m., Town Council will have a special meeting at the Stallings Government Center. The meeting will cover a rezoning to allow “a 24-unit multi-family building, any non-residential uses permitted by right in the MultiUse zoning district and either a convenience store with gasoline pumps or a restaurant with drive-thru windows,” according to the Town. The meeting will have a public hearing and council will be making a vote.
The Enquirer-Journal reached out to the developer’s attorney for comment, but they declined.