JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — In another sign of the area’s booming home construction market, a long-dormant residential project is back on the table in north Johnson City with 302 single-family homes planned.
Johnson City commissioners will consider developer Robert Thomas’s request for a concept plan amendment Thursday night for what is being called the “Yorkshire Hills” subdivision. Maps show tightly clustered houses on the 120-acre site off of Rockingham Road and close to North Roan Street. The property is a little more than a mile from Boone Lake’s Rockingham Marina and about three miles north of Indian Trail Middle School.
“From what I hear in the market, we do not have enough residential by any means,” Thomas told News Channel 11 Wednesday.
The vice president of operations at Thomas Construction, Thomas said the infrastructure company will develop the subdivision for a national homebuilder. Thomas Construction has done that on a couple of other occasions in the Johnson City market and does not construct homes itself.
Thomas said he expects the first homes to begin construction 12 to 18 months from now. He said the builder has a variety of home plans and will likely select the sizes and price points of homes for Yorkshire Hills based on market conditions.
Johnson City annexed the property 20 years ago and zoned it for residential development. A 2005 plan for the property envisioned the construction of 118 single-family homes and 178 townhomes.
The Johnson City Regional Planning Commission approved the amended plan 6-0 at its March 8 meeting. Thomas explained efforts the company had made and will make to address concerns from people who live in neighboring subdivisions.
Thomas said the original plan had road connections to the Heritage Hills subdivision, but the new one would connect only to Rockingham Meadows, which is necessary for fire access. The other access points are off of Rockingham Road.
“We’ve updated, put the standard city cross-section with sidewalks on both sides,” Thomas told planning commissioners. “I think there’s 15% requirement for open space, we’re almost 20.”
Several neighboring residents expressed concerns about traffic at the planning commission meeting. One asked about the potential impact on Boone Lake. Wayne Harris lives in the Rosewood subdivision, which is outside the city limits and doesn’t have sidewalks.
He said he didn’t object to the new subdivision but did say residents in his neighborhood are often out walking, riding bicycles and skateboards and using the streets. Harris said he worried that residents would drive through his neighborhood because it is the shortest route toward the highway.
“The way I drive, I’m going to the quickest way out of my subdivision,” Harris said. “That’s through ours. That’s the way I look at it. And pulling out on 36 from ours, you could see it. You didn’t have no time to see nothing coming across that hill. There’s no time. You gun it and go. That’s our main concern is keeping it out of our subdivision because there’s too many kids playing in ours, and it’s too small for all of that.”
Thomas said the original plan was to only have exits onto Rockingham Road until the issue of improving fire safety response was raised.
He expects Thomas’s infrastructure work on the first of two phases to be complete in 18 to 24 months and fully complete in about three years. The builder is likely to begin home construction once a segment’s infrastructure is complete enough.
“The demand is so great right now, we’ve done as few as 20 at a time if we can get them ready,” Thomas said about the homebuilder tackling construction by section as the overall project is completed.