Barriers to construction have been lifted for a housing developer with a plan to build hundreds of new apartments and townhomes in the heart of Hillsborough.

According to Mayor Tom Stevens, members of the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners have been ruminating on this type of development for years.

“One of the things that we decided 10 years ago was, rather than have developments that kept spreading out on the outskirts and into the farmland, was to bring it to the center of town,” he relayed. “Here’s a big piece of property that was right in the center of town, right next to the interstate, and so if we’re going to have development, we said this is probably the best place for it.”

The property mentioned by Stevens is a 125-acre plot of land that will be developed by Caruso Homes based on aesthetics guidelines drafted by town officials.

“We don’t want to see these big housing tracts,” he explained. “What we want is a mix of residential types […] you’ll see apartments, you’ll see townhomes, you’ll see single-family homes, and really looking to lay it out in a town-like fashion.”

Those dwellings will be part of a planned community known as Collins Ridge, but Stevens noted that concerns have arisen over how this development could impact the town.

“Traffic is probably the biggest issue, and then there’s certainly a concern just about the size and the number of homes and do we have water,” he offered. “Those are legitimate concerns, but we have plenty of water for this development and even some additional developments.”

Stevens also allayed fears related to creeping development footprints by claiming that the town will remain provincial in spite of accelerated commercial growth.

“The other [concern] is, ‘Are we growing too fast and getting too big,'” he asked. “In the long haul, Hillsborough is really slated to be a pretty small town compared to what’s going to be happening to our neighbors.”

Small-town charm notwithstanding, Hillsborough is now subject to road construction projects near Collins Ridge that will require the participation of the developers.

“What they’re going to be doing is going to be coordinated over the next five years with [North Carolina Department of Transportation], which includes […] the widening of Churton Street, extending Orange Grove Road to Highway 70,” he listed. “That will help create additional accesses into this development that’s in the center of town.”

With commissioners having approved a special use permit for the property earlier this month, Caruso Homes is expected to commence with construction later in the year.

“They […] will probably be getting underway late ’17, early ’18, so it could be some time before you actually see construction on the ground, but they are ready to go,” he announced.

Nearly 700 domiciles are planned for the first phase of construction, with a total of over 1,000 residential units expected as additional phases are completed.

Composite from Google Maps.