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Zoning denied for apartments

HIGH POINT — The City Council on Monday unanimously denied a controversial rezoning request involving a proposed apartment complex in a neighborhood off Eastchester Drive.

The 8-0 vote means developer Efincia Cos. of High Point won’t be able to go forward with its plans for a 42-unit, three-story multifamily building that would cater to seniors on a 2.9-acre parcel between Bridges and Futrelle drives.

The decision was applauded by neighbors, who strongly opposed the applicant’s request to rezone the site from a single-family to a multifamily use.

They reiterated their views that the proposal was not compatible with the neighborhood because it would bring too much development, traffic and other concerns.

After the case in June drew a unanimous negative vote from the Planning and Zoning Commission and a recommendation of denial from city staff, the developer offered to reduce the density from 46 units and provide additional landscaping and buffers between surrounding properties.

City planners still recommended denial of the case, and neighbors said they were not aware of the changes until they were presented Monday.

Efincia President Eric Dickinson said his proposal was aimed at meeting a critical need for housing and that he felt it was compatible with city policies.

The council approved a separate zoning case involving a proposed apartment complex on a 19-acre site on the west side of N.C. 68 (Eastchester Drive), north of Penny Road and south of Premier Drive.

Evolve Cos. of Greensboro plans to develop 264 units on the site.

Also Monday, the council unanimously authorized up to $177,664 in incentives for iHeartMedia Triad, which is considering moving its offices and 20 employees from Greensboro to the Bedrock building at 275 N. Elm St. next to Truist Point stadium. The company, which owns five local radio stations, is considering leasing 3,250 square feet on the second floor of the building in a $1.6 million capital investment. | 336-888-3531

Woman dies in weekend wreck
  • Updated

HIGH POINT — A Lexington woman was killed Saturday afternoon when her car was hit by a pickup after its driver lost control of it, police said.

Sunshine Nichole Williams, 21, of Lexington was driving a 2006 Scion north on Interstate 85 Business, also known as U.S. 29, near Baker Road just before 2:15 p.m. when her car was hit by a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado, the High Point Police Department said.

The Silverado had been going north on U.S. 29 when the driver, Joshua Nicholas Anderson, 26, of Archdale, ran off the left side of the road, overcorrected and then lost control, and the Silverado went across the highway’s grass median, overturned and struck the Scion, police said.

Anderson’s vehicle careened to the paved shoulder and came to rest upside-down on the guardrail.

Williams’ car came to rest in the outside lane.

Williams died at the scene of the wreck, according to police. A man in her vehicle, whose name was not released, was had injuries that was serious but not considered life-threatening, police said.

He was taken to a local hospital.

Emergency crews had to pry open the Silverado to remove Anderson, who also had serious injuries that were not considered life-threatening, police said. He was flown to a local hospital.

Though police say charges are expected in the wreck, none had been filed as of Monday morning.

I-85 Business was closed to traffic for six hours Saturday between the Interstate 74 and Baker Road interchanges because of the crash.

This was the sixth traffic fatality for the city of High Point in 2022. | 336-888-3528 | @HPEpaul

City sees drop in housing blight cases

HIGH POINT — City officials say the number of minimum housing cases on the books has dropped since cleanup of neighborhood blight became a top priority in 2016.

Code Enforcement Manager Lori Loosemore told a City Council committee this week that the volume of cases reaching the council level for action is slowing.

“With the numbers going down, I anticipate that I will be in front of you less often,” she told the Community Development Committee. “We’re still being proactive with everything. But I’d like to think we’ve made enough progress that we can kind of back off a little bit from having to be here every meeting.”

The council in 2016 set a goal of 100% proactive enforcement of local codes, rather than having a complaint-driven system, and funded additional inspector positions.

This led to an uptick in the number of orders to repair or demolish houses found to have significant code violations, such as faulty plumbing or electrical systems. Since 2016, the city has demolished 150 blighted houses, and an additional 120 have been demolished by their owners.

“We just kind of got rid of the low-hanging fruit,” Loosemore said. “When I first came in 2016, you didn’t have to go far to find them.”

The city currently has 233 active minimum housing cases, 46 which are in various stages of repair by the owner.

“Some are coming along very slowly, some a little bit better,” Loosemore said. “We try to keep calling and telling them, ‘You need to get it done.’ ”

More city-initiated demolitions are pending, with eight cases that have gone out for bid and another 12 that potentially could be brought before council, she said.

“You just had a whole lot of houses that stood for a long time — some of them so long that trees were growing up in the middle of them,” Councilman Chris Williams said. “I’d like to see if there’s a way to show how much was done in this short amount of time, because that’s a lot.”

Top engine makers signal no interest in Boom

Three of the top makers of aircraft engines have told an aviation news website that they are not interested in developing engines for civil supersonic aircraft.

The news site FlightGlobal contacted representatives of GE Aviation, Honeywell and Safran Aircraft Engines after Rolls-Royce announced earlier this month it was no longer working to develop an engine for Boom Supersonic, a Colorado-based startup that intends to build a new generation of supersonic passenger aircraft.

A fourth engine maker, Pratt & Whitney, did not comment except to say that supersonic engines were not part of the company’s overall business strategy, FlightGlobal reported.

Boom Supersonic has said it will build a plant at Piedmont Triad International Airport to manufacture the aircraft, which Boom calls Overture.

Boom Supersonic says that Overture remains on track and that the company will announce a new engine partner soon.

Janet Bednarek, an aviation historian and professor at the University of Dayton, told the Raleigh News & Observer last week that losing an engine maker could be “a major hiccup” to Boom’s plans.

And aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia of AeroDynamic Advisory told FlightGlobal that few engine manufacturers would have the capability to take on the Overture project.


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