Scott Gordon

Watauga Planning and Zoning Committee Votes Against Rezoning for Apartments

Neighbors worry apartment building could tower over houses

Tuesday night was a small victory for homeowners in Watauga fighting a developer's plan to build apartments on vacant property near city hall.

With more than 400 people filling city hall, the planning and zoning commission voted not to recommend a proposal to rezone the land. Still, that decision now goes to city council. 

The developer, SunScope, wants to build apartments, townhomes and retail shops on three plots of land near the intersection of Hightower Drive and Whitley Road.

But homeowners have posted signs in the area in big letters that say "NO REZONING TO APARTMENTS."

"This thing has grown a lot faster than we thought," said Neal Cooper, who recently moved to the nearby neighborhood.

City manager Andrea Gardner jumped at the chance to develop the land.

The apartment buildings could be four stories, which homeowners worried would tower over the nearby houses.

They worried the development could change the flavor of the neighborhood.

"You begin to worry about that many people put into a small location," said Andrew Neal, who moved to the city in 2003 with his wife and is now raising young children. "This project, saying we want to put several story apartments in a predominately single story neighborhood just seems really out of place."

Watauga's Planning and Zoning Commission voted against the zoning change Tuesday night in a four to two vote. Around 400 people packed the meeting and even spilled out into the lobby to make their voices heard.

The final decision is now up to the city council, which will vote in two weeks.

The developer did not return a phone call and email seeking comment.

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