Clayton Approves 600-Unit Steeplechase Subdivision

After several similar attempts in the past few decades, a 600-unit subdivision has been approved on a large undeveloped piece of land off of Covered Bridge Road.

Monday night, the Clayton Town Council approved a rezoning request and site plan for Steeplechase, a neighborhood designed by Shenandoah Homes Inc. which will include up to 600 houses on 266.72 acres of land located north of Sam’s Branch Creek bordering City Road to the west, Covered Bridge Road to the north and North O’Neil Street to the east. The development would have entrances from each of those three roads.

The site plan shows a cluster of about 161 townhouses along Covered Bridge Road, which accounts for nearly a quarter of the units, with the remaining 424 or more units to be developed as single-family houses. A previous Steeplechase application about 5 years ago, included plans to building roughly 2,000 and included a large parcel to the north of this proposed project.

A main amenity area would include a clubhouse and pool, as well as a possible playground. Nearly a third of the development is shown as open space, recreation area or resource conservation area, including several pocket parks and a 16-acre pond that will include a boat dock and fishing pier. The dam on the pond, dubbed Earp Lake, would be reconstructed with a road on top of it. A walking trail would encircle the pond, and a series of multi-use trails would connect the houses in the neighborhood. The trails would eventually tie into the Sam’s Branch Greenway.

Other associated nonresidential features of Steeplechase will include features like a coffee shop, small food service restaurant or a small postal service shop.  The amenities would be intended for only residents of the development and not to draw people from surrounding neighborhoods.

The NC Department of Transportation reviewed a traffic impact analysis (TIA) report for the development and recommended numerous improvements to surrounding roads. They include several new and lengthened turn lanes; a new stoplight at the intersection of Covered Bridge and Shotwell Roads; and a stoplight at the intersection of Covered Bridge Road and North O’Neil Street. Due to existing traffic, the NC DOT would restrict work hours for road construction.

In addition to site plan approval, the applicant requested the land be rezoned to Planned Development-Residential from Residential-Estate, Residential-10 (R-10), and Neighborhood Business (B-2). The land is owned by the Raymond Elmore Earp, Jr. Family Trust; Nancy Crews Earp Trustee; and Mary Worley.

The Planning Board reviewed the rezoning request and site plan on May 29 and recommended approval of the request.