Good business or bad?

City's proposal for second-largest commercial complex sparks debate
Nov. 30, 2012 @ 05:55 PM

Arguments for and against a proposed new business park north of High Point are sounding familiar themes.
The City Council has given initial approval to the annexation of 431 acres north of the city that would comprise High Point North Industrial Center. Developers want to attract office parks and other commercial tenants to what is now mostly undeveloped land. Proponents tout the prospect of jobs and tax base that an industrial park of this scale would bring.
Opponents, including property owners near the site, contend that it would wreck their rural quality of life by bringing heavy traffic volume to ill-equipped two-lane roads and adverse environmental impacts.
In addition to the economic benefits, those in favor of the proposed park argue that it’s consistent with all of the city’s adopted long-range plans that guide growth in the area. The plans call for commercial and industrial development for the area and not residential growth, given the proximity of the site to Piedmont Triad International Airport.
“This is probably the last large open area that we can look to to create jobs and expand our tax base,” said attorney Tom Terrell, who represents the developers of the project. “One-hundred percent of all traffic problems that may be created by the development must be mitigated by the developer.”
The first phase of the park – between Adkins and Sandy Ridge roads – is projected to generate an additional 6,500 traffic trips a day on the surrounding roads, something that raised alarm bells for S. Bunker Hill Road resident Mac Bradley, who lives near the planned second phase of the project.
“If phase two is twice as big, won’t it have twice as much traffic? Bunker Hill Road is not a good road for handling 6,000 or 12,000 trips per day,” he said.
Bull Road resident Jimmy Morgan said tractor-trailers often pass through his neighborhood and they are already a safety hazard.
“The current road network is not friendly to industrial truck traffic,” he said. “Narrow roads with numerous blind spots caused by hills and curves coupled with school buses and slow-moving farm equipment seem to increase the likelihood of a disastrous outcome.”
City approval of the project is not complete.
Council made annexation of the site effective in six months, provided that the city reaches an agreement with the developer. City officials said they are close to doing this, but one major issue the new council – which will take office Monday – must take into account is the city’s cost of providing infrastructure for the project. The proposed agreement obligates the city to make $13 million in various road, water and sewer improvements.
pkimbrough@hpe.com 888-3531