WINTERVILLE — A proposed 50-lot multi-housing development will not be coming to Winterville anytime soon.

The Winterville Town Council voted 3-2 earlier this month to deny a rezoning request which would have resulted in the development of one- and two-story, three-bedroom duplexes on Reedy Branch Road, just south of Davenport Farm Road.

Janet Hare and Joan Neitz own the 19.74-acre property, which is now zoned agricultural-residential. They requested a rezoning to R-6 — medium density residential — with conditions.

The developer, Rocky Russell, agreed to build minimum 9,020 square feet lots featuring one- and two-story duplexes with brick and stone fronts and vinyl sides. Seventy percent of the duplexes would feature a garage.

The proposed development would have an HOA, which would maintain lawns and the developments entrances.

The property is bordered by Open Door Church and vacant land.

The rezoning request follows both the town’s former land-use plan and the latest one adopted Oct. 14, according to Winterville’s planning director Bryan Jones.

The former plan zoned the area “transition” for commercial and residential uses. The newest plan zones the area “urban neighborhood,” which allows R-6 housing.

The Winterville Planning Board recommend the council deny the request.

Linwood Stroud of Stroud Engineering attended a public hearing to make a plea for the development.

“This is good for Winterville and something Winterville needs,” Stroud said.

Russell will “ensure quality development,” Stroud said, pointing out the design plans include larger-than-normal lot sizes. Most duplex lot widths are 70 feet. Russell’s lots would be a minimum of 82 feet wide.

The lots’ square footage also is larger than normal, Stroud said. Square footage is typically 8,000 square feet, but Russell is proposing 9,020 square feet lots, which are typically found in R-8 — high density residential — zones, Stroud said.

Russell has lived in Pitt County since 1979. He has been a builder for 25 years and developer for 19 years. He built Carroll Crossing in 2001 and the Hampton Creek subdivision on Davenport Farm Road. He also built and developed many of the duplex housing subdivisions on Allen Road in Greenville, near Lakeforest Elementary School.

Smaller housing options with minimal yard maintenance are “underserved” in Winterville, Russell said. His homes will start at $165,000.

The average cost for a home on the market in Winterville’s 28590 zip code is $191,000, Russell said. There only are three homes on the market now priced lower than $200,000 in the Winterville zip code, which are actually in the Greenville city limits, Russell said.

Homes in the Brookstone subdivision are $208,000.

“Those with a $75,000 incomes can’t afford these homes,” Russell said, adding his target customer for the duplexes are single individuals or older couples, who are now empty nesters.

To address traffic concerns in the area, Russell argued the Southwest Bypass should eliminate a lot of the traffic on Davenport Farm Road during the 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. hours.

“I would appreciate your support,” Russell said to the council.

Kadie Hagan Moore spoke in favor of the subdivision, sharing she has an “avid interest” in the development for those in the medical field.

Winterville is located near the medical center in Greenville, and the need for quality housing is abundant. Vidant will hire 600 nurses in the next 12 months, according to Moore.

“That is just nurses. It does not include PTs, OTs and physicians,” she said.

Nurses want to live in a subdivision with an HOA where they do not have to maintain their yard, do not have to climb stairs to get into their home and they want to live in a good school district, Moore said.

“If they cannot find a place to live where they are supported, they will not come,” she said. “This has been a huge struggle the past 16 years to bring (this type of housing development) to Greenville.”

Moore read a message from Hare, who could not attend the public hearing.

“Duplexes are in high demand. This will be great for Winterville, and the future of Reedy Branch Road and Davenport Farm Road to expand utilities,” Hare said in her note.

But not everyone supported the rezoning change.

“This is not a good thing for the area … we prefer larger homes,” said Kevin Little.

Councilman Tony Moore made a motion to deny the rezoning request. Councilman Johnny Moye seconded the motion, followed by discussion.

“I don’t support (denying) this. Creating our land-use plan, it was identified we don’t have a variety of housing. Our police and firemen can afford this housing,” Councilwoman Veronica Roberson said.

“We are a growing area with a young and older mix,” Councilman Ricky Hines said. “ Senior (citizens) like duplexes. This is a nice community. We are going to need it. Think about … 600 employees who should be able to afford in Winterville, which will help our tax base. It is economically efficient.”

The motion to deny the rezoning request passed 3-2 with Roberson and Hines opposed.

Contact jstorm@reflector.com or 252-329-9587.