Business park land spat
Anyone who is surprised that a large, undeveloped breadth of land on the edge of High Point might become the city’s second-largest business park could have neglected to look at a planning document completed with fanfare more than two years ago.
After often emotional and volatile debates, a group spearheading the Heart of the Triad study came up with a land-use guideline on roughly 17,000 acres between U.S. 311 near High Point and Kernersville and Interstate 40 in Greensboro near Piedmont Triad International Airport. The area predominantly is farms, open land and rural homes and neighborhoods, but it’s one of the last large-scale, undeveloped tracts in the center of the mostly urban Triad.
A study committee made up of elected officials, business representatives and residents of the area struggled to come to a consensus on recommendations for future land use. The Heart of the Triad study didn’t carry the weight of law or regulation, but was designed to give county and city governments a road map for development in the coming decades.
The map, produced more than two years ago as the Heart of the Triad draft land use plan, indicates that the majority of land that’s become the proposed site for a 431-acre High Point business park was recommended for business center use. The High Point North Industrial Center business park would be bracketed by S. Bunker Hill Road on the west, Interstate 40 on the north, Sandy Ridge Road on the east and Boylston Road on the south.
The only portion of the business park tract that wasn’t designated by the Heart of the Triad plan for business center use is a rectangular strip along S. Bunker Hill Road. The Heart of the Triad plan called for its use as high-density residential.
But Mayor Becky Smothers said the city’s own Northwest Area Plan called for the S. Bunker Hill strip to be developed commercial so that housing wouldn’t be constructed so close to the runways at PTIA.
Smothers said the developers of the proposed High Point North Industrial Center have been in contact with city officials for the past four years. So city leaders knew, even before the project became public this fall, that the land might become a business development.
“We knew that corridor through there was going to have heavy airport noise and shouldn’t be residential,” Smothers said. “The folks from Frazier Downs, who live right down the road a little bit from it, can testify that residential shouldn’t go in that area.”
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