West Lenoir neighborhood riled by plan for senior housing

Mar. 25, 2013 @ 07:02 PM

Residents of a west Lenoir neighborhood left City Hall unhappy Monday after the Lenoir Planning Board voted in favor of allowing the construction of an apartment complex for seniors at the intersection of Brookdale Place and Abington Road.

Ronnie Hendrix, speaking on behalf of people who live in the area, had argued that a three-story, 50-unit building is out of character for the neighborhood.

"This would look good in Statesville, Raleigh, Charlotte or anywhere else," he said, but it doesn't fit Lenoir's "small-town charm."

"The neighborhood feels like it will lower our tax value," he said.

Doug Stimmel of Stimmel Associates, the consultant working with Roy Helm of Wesley Community Development on the plans for the apartments, pointed out that the property's current zoning for business would allow such things as an auto repair shop, a brewery, a firing range or a gas station without requiring any approval by the city. To build apartments there requires a conditional use permit.

"A senior-housing project is fairly low-key," he said.

Board member Mac Martin agreed. "I just can't see it being something bad for the neighborhood."

The issue will go to the Lenoir Town Council for a public hearing April 16.

Also at the April 16 meeting the council will hold hearings on two other issues approved by the planning board Monday. The board recommended approval for a conditional use permit for Jim Yamin to build apartments on Linkside Court, on the south side of Wilkesboro Boulevard. The board also recommended approval for a request by James Michael Correll of Hudson to change the zoning for 230 McCrary Place from industrial to residential. Correll said the property, which is off U.S. 321-A south of Southwest Boulevard, had been in his family for about 75 years and had never been used for industry.