A proposed affordable housing project at 388 Woodland Terrace faces opposition from nearby residents, who will hold a public forum at 6 p.m., Jan. 12, in the county’s Community Services Building’s conference room on Morgan Street in Brevard.
The proposed housing is being backed by Workforce Homestead Inc, which recently sought unsuccessfully to buy land across from Brevard High School for a similar housing project but was voted down by the Board of Education. Like the school property, Workforce Homestead wants to build 84 units, varying from one-to-three bedrooms.
The new proposed project is located in the city of Brevard’s Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) and includes a conditional rezoning application. The property is 7.8 acres but only 5.5 are technically usable. According to Aaron Bland, with the city’s Planning Department, the unusable 2.3 acres are in the floodway, “which is a non-encroachment area – nothing can be built there, as it’s the area of high flow velocity during a flood event.”
Another portion of the parcel is in the “100-year floodplain and can be built in but has fairly strict standards that have to be met to do so, such as a no-rise certification and building 2 feet above the base flood elevation,” Bland said.
Sandy Watson, a resident in the area, is leading the opposition to the project.
The main concern among residents to the proposal is the impact of the added traffic that could occur.
“We’re concerned as a community here about the traffic,” Watson said. “We don’t have sidewalks in here, so people walk their dogs in the street...It’s a concern.”
Watson said South Country Club Road and Rosman Highway, two of the entry points into their neighborhood, each raise serious issues if the proposal goes ahead.
Watson said Country Club Road is already of a “subpar quality” and narrow, and more traffic would increase the potential for congestion and pedestrian accidents. Watson said the Rosman Highway intersection in the area is also “dangerous.”
“The cars go so fast on (U.S.) 64, so there is a turning lane to turn left from town into Forest Hills and sometimes people are turning into that turning lane to go past the intersection and go left into the gas station or go left into Dollar General,” she said. “I have to be really careful when I’m turning left there in the daytime even.”
Watson said those in the neighborhood have not been consulted about these concerns.
“No letters have gone out to surrounding homeowners, yet. There was no consult,” she said.
James L. Yamin, the Workforce Homestead president, couldn’t be reached for comment. Amy Fisher, of Fisher Realty, who represented Workforce Homestead during the Board of Education meetings and will for this endeavor, declined to comment.
Kerry Williams, another neighborhood resident, reiterated the primary concern was traffic in the area.
“I want somebody that’s behind this to just drive down our roads and tell me if you can add another 100 something cars to that road,” he said. “It’s tiny little roads. This is an old established neighborhood.”
He added that when schools let out in the afternoon that alone greatly increases the traffic on top of what could be exponentially more if the project goes forward.
Williams said that, in spending days and walking all over town handing out fliers about the Jan. 12 meeting, “not one person” is against the idea of affordable housing, but in his view the location of this project is not sufficient enough to accommodate all of the units and will place far too great of a strain on the already declining road conditions surrounding the neighborhood.
“We’re all for it, but you have got to put it where it’s sensible,” Williams said. “If 84 units turn into 168 people, we don’t have 168 people living in our neighborhood. To put that many people in that small a concentration with all of their cars. If anybody can drive in front of that place and go, ‘Oh this would be great,’ somebody’s desperate...That’s why Ingles isn’t there – why they never built a Walmart there.”
The proposal is scheduled to be discussed at the Jan. 25 city Planning Board meeting.