Some worry 1,000-home subdivision could hurt Hillsborough's charm
Posted January 30
Updated January 31
Hillsborough, N.C. — A Maryland developer is planning a 1,000-home subdivision in Hillsborough, which some locals say could detract from the historic town's charm.
Caruso Homes has already rezoned 100 acres for the first phase of its Collins Ridge project, east of the Shops at Daniel Boone shopping center off Interstate 85 and South Churton Street. The developer has a special-use permit hearing before the local planning board next month.
Once all approvals are in place, construction is expected to start next year on the first phase, which will include 196 single-family homes, 152 townhouses and 326 apartments, said Randy Sexton, land acquisition director for Caruso Homes. The developer plans to provide 3 acres for 60 to 88 affordable housing units, with some of those apartment or townhomes set aside for veterans, he said.
Some Hillsborough residents said the boost in population from Collins Ridge – the town has a population of about 6,000, according to the latest census estimates – would be good for the local tax base and area businesses. But others worry about the added traffic and how it would affect the quiet, historic nature of Hillsborough.
"That’s more homes, more places for people to stay, which means more people coming here, which means it might not be as small of a town anymore," resident Jeremy Bowser said. "(Churton Street) gets jammed up a lot, so that could be an issue."
"When you're downtown, if you travel around and look at all the homes in Hillsborough, they're tiny. A lot of them are historic. Obviously, big apartment complexes coming in, I think could detract," said Jane Vacchiano, co-owner of 108 Churton, a gift store in downtown Hillsborough.
Still, Vacchiano sees benefits to development as well.
"If we can get more customers downtown, that would be wonderful," she said.
Caruso Homes also has the Shops at Daniel Boone under contract and is in talks with commercial developers about joining forces on revamping the shopping center with new retail options, Sexton said.
"If they’re trying to do this project, they need to think about the main road," said Jesus Sanchez, who owns Colorado Burrito Mexican Grill in the shopping center. "From 4:30 to 6 (p.m.), it’s crazy. You cannot be able to get out of this place. I don’t know what they’re going to do if they do this project."
Sanchez likewise is unsure what he'll do if he's squeezed out by the redevelopment.
"I'm a little bit worried because we are still new in the area," he said. "I think it's like taking a risk again, start over."