02/15/07 — Builder wants to construct apartments near school

View Archive

Builder wants to construct apartments near school

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 15, 2007 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive officials are considering allowing Goldsboro contractor John T. Bell build low-to-moderate income apartments near Carver Elementary School.

Developer John T. Bell is seeking a special use permit to construct the apartment complex on a parcel of land adjacent to the school.

The Mount Olive Planning Board voted Tuesday night to tour the Ashbrook Apartments in Goldsboro, which Bell said is similar to the ones planned for Mount Olive. Planning Board member Gena Knode said she wanted to see the apartments before she would be ready to vote. If the board approved, the matter would go before the town Board of Commissioners for a public hearing before a final decision.

Bell showed planning board members photographs of the apartments his company constructed in Goldsboro. The apartments, Ashbrook on Randall Lane and Laurel on New Hope Road, are "first rate apartments," he said.

His proposal is to construct 24 units, with eight one-bedroom apartments, 12 with two bedrooms and four with three bedrooms.

Bell said there is a need for such apartments in Mount Olive and that he would expect a cross-section of working families to occupy them.

Eligible incomes would range from $13,200 for one person to $32,760 for a family of six. Rents range on three tiers, from $250, $330 and $350 for a one-bedroom apartment, based on income, to $300, $400 and $420 for a two-bedroom apartment and $$350, $465 and $485 for a three-bedroom apartment.

Bell told the Planning Board the apartments in Goldsboro were built under the same type financing he proposed to build the new apartments in Mount Olive.

"They're very nicely done," he said. "There are no apartments in Goldsboro any nicer -- if as nice -- as they are. Ashbrook is brand new. We've moved in seven or eight families. Laurel Pointe is in impeccable condition."

He said the apartment complexes were built under the auspices of the North Carolina Housing Financing Agency in Raleigh. The agency is very strict, he said, and receives reports from the local property managers every month about what is going on at the apartments. Residents must pass credit and criminal background checks.

The agency turns down 20 applicants for every resident it approves, he said.

The apartments are subject to annual inspections and are managed by private enterprise, he said, not the government.

"It is very tightly controlled, unlike public housing," he said. "Goldsboro has 1,200 units of public housing.... This has nothing to do with public housing."

If the town OKs the project and he is able to obtain financing, Bell said, he would begin work in about a year. He added that he would want the apartments annexed by the town.