Nearly 100 Hendersonville residents oppose Haywood Road apartments


A proposed development of 263 apartments on Haywood Road (N.C. Highway 191) in Hendersonville is being met with fierce opposition.

More than 20 residents spoke during a neighborhood compatibility meeting held Thursday about the proposal and over 70 written comments were submitted before the meeting. All were opposed to the development.

Hawthorne Residential Partners is the developer of the project. Phil Payonk, chief investment officer with the company, and Warren Sugg, with Civil Design Concepts, spoke to the public at the meeting.

They have requested a 20.95-acre parcel at 1741 Haywood Road be rezoned from R-15 Medium Density Residential to Planned Residential Development Conditional Zoning District.

The following concerns were voiced by several residents:

  • negative impact on wildlife
  • negative impact on the environment including elimination of trees and increased flooding
  • increase in traffic on Haywood Road
  • more cut through traffic on residential roads
  • noise
  • negative impact on residents being able to safely walk in the area
  • overwhelming schools with new students
  • incompatibility with the neighborhoods
  • one entrance and exit into and out of the development
  • safety
  • disruptive to the beauty of the area

Richard Vickers, who lives nearby, said 280 homes on his side of the road would be affected by the development.

“This is something of consequence,” he said. “This isn’t one street, one problem. … The people that will be living in these apartments are not stakeholders as residents. They come. They go.”

John Benford, whose house sits next to the property where the development is being proposed, said he was “blindsided” when he heard about the project because the current owner has only ever mentioned putting a couple townhomes on the land.

“I just feel like the target is on us and our quality of life,” he said. “It makes me sad and it keeps me up at night.”

If the development is approved, hundreds of cars will pass by his backyard where his daughter plays, he added.

Hendersonville Planning Division Manager Matthew Manley told the crowd that when development proposals reach the neighborhood compatibility meeting stage, plans are only conceptual and haven’t been reviewed by city planning staff for zoning compliance or comprehensive plan consistency.

A more detailed site plan is required for planning staff to review, then it goes before the Tree Board and Planning Board. They give their recommendations to City Council, which has final approval following a public hearing.

The rezoning application and concept plan show the combined size of the eight apartment buildings would be 426,000 square feet. A pool, clubhouse and courtyard will also be within the development. The plan includes sidewalks and 450 parking spaces.

There will be two 30-unit, three story buildings; five 35-unit, split-level buildings and one 28-unit split-level building. The split-level buildings will be three and four stories to minimize land disturbance, Sugg said. 

There will be one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments. Rent will range from $1,100 to around $1,800, depending on the number of bedrooms.

Response to concerns

“We’re hearing you loud and clear on some of these (concerns),” Payonk said, near the beginning of the meeting. “Some of the things that we’ve proposed, some of you will never agree on, but our goal is to provide some additional clarity, address some of these concerns and then, hopefully, at some point in this process we meet a happy medium that’s acceptable to move forward with.”

All of the trees on the site won’t be cut down, Sugg said. As many trees as possible will be kept and more will be planted. 

Public water and sewer is readily available at the site, according to Sugg. Three stormwater control ponds and an underground stormwater infiltration system are planned for the development.

A traffic impact study has already been done and has been given to the city as well as the N.C. Department of Transportation. A left turn lane will likely be needed, which would be at the cost of Hawthorne Residential Partners, Payonk said. 

He added that plans include condensing everything to the center of the site to limit noise.

Payonk estimated 10% to 15% of residents living in the development would be families with children. He didn’t go into detail on what the impact on student enrollment at local schools might be. 

After more than an hour of comments from the public, the meeting was recessed to reconvene at another time.

Manley acknowledged the city didn’t give neighboring residents adequate notice of Thursday’s meeting, as letters about the public hearing were postmarked June 10, less than the 10 days’ notice required by state statutes, and said they will give better notice for the continuation of the project. 

Lurah Lowery is the city government watchdog reporter for the Hendersonville Times-News, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at and follow her on Twitter @lurahlowery.


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