Developer Granted Variances For 10 Smithfield Homes

Members of the Smithfield Town Council were assured parking won’t be a problem at a new 10-unit housing development planned for a lot near Downtown Smithfield. They also granted variances to several of their Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) regulations during a May 4th public hearing.

Spring Branch Commons will be located on a 1.21 acre vacant lot on E. Johnston Street between S. Sixth and S. Seventh Streets. The project will include 10 detached single family homes. 0.34 acres will be dedicated for open space. The lots will range from 3,444 to 4,343 square ft. each. The minimum housing size will be 1,290 square ft with each home having an average of 3,770 square ft.

The homes will include a full-width front porch, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a small storage closet in the rear. A decorative fence will be installed along the street in front of each home.

The project was submitted by Paul Embler with TerraEden Landscape and Design, LLC. Mr. Embler is the former Town of Smithfield Planning Director.

Embler said each home would be set back 5.5 feet from each side property line for a total of 11 feet between the dwellings. Each home will have two parking spaces and there will be six additional spaces for guests, or a combined 26 spaces for the 10 homes. Questioned about parking, Mr. Embler said it would not be an issue.

Mayor Andy Moore questioned who would maintain the decorative fences in front of each home and wanted assurance there would not be different types of fences and materials. Embler said the Homeowners Association (HOA) would maintain the fences and maintenance of the shared open space.

Embler was granted several deviations from town ordinance requirements for lot size, lot width, side setback, minimum corner lot setback, driveway width and sight triangle requirements.

UDO code requires a minimum lot size of 8,000 sq. ft. This project will include lot sizes as small as 3,444 sq. ft. Minimum lot width is 70 foot but some homes will only have 41 foot wide lots. Minimum side setbacks are 10 foot but 5.5 foot was allowed. Minimum corner lots must have 15 foot setback but again a variance was approved for just 12 foot. Driveway widths must be 20 feet. Driveways were approved at 16 feet. Finally, the safety sight triangle distance at intersections is 25 x 25 foot. Spring Branch Commons was allowed to have a 23 x 23 foot safety triangle distance.

The council voted 7-to-0 to approve the project.

According to Johnston County tax records, the property is owned by TSF Johnston Street LLC. Construction of Spring Branch Commons is expected to begin in approximately 45 days.


  1. If I applied for variances I wouldn’t have gotten them, because I’m not part of the JOCO good old boys network. JOCO hypocrites.

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