SUMMERFIELD, N.C. (WGHP) — A town divided on a development. 

Thursday night, the Summerfield planning board and town council are hearing from residents and voting on zoning changes paving the way for the villages at Summerfield Farms. The town is voting on amending its zoning ordinance to prevent the state from de-annexing a thousand acres.

The planning board will give its presentation, then host its public hearing, and then vote. Right after, the town council will host its public hearing and vote. A representative for the developer, David Couch says even if they get full approval Thursday night, there is still a long way to go before they can start building.

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Even though the town has different opinions, one thing they can agree on, it’s important to keep Summerfield a rural town. But people in favor of the proposal say that can still happen with this development. “Our town is inevitably going to expand,” said Kevin Kenjarski, who lives in Summerfield. “It is a community plan that will allow us to keep that rustic character while maintaining the clean safe water supply that will be needed as we grow.”

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People against the proposal think allowing the development by changing the zoning ordinance will create more problems down the road. “This text amendment, doesn’t just apply to one development it is going to be on the books in Summerfield for a long time so it needs to be tight,” said Justin Wraight, who lives in Summerfield.

The amendment would allow trails, sidewalks, trees along the road, multiple sizes of housing and consideration for apartments. If approved, it allows the developer to submit his proposal to the town. The attorney, Tom Terrell, for the Villages at Summerfield Farms said in a statement: “That future application would be considered by a new town council in the most hostile environment I’ve witnessed in 38 years as a land use attorney, and with citizens promising to file lawsuits to tie it up in court.”

Mayor Tim Sessoms says their focus is on one task at a time, right now, it’s saving Summerfield. “This threat of de-annexation is real,” Mayor Sessoms said. “Our plea is to keep it in Summerfield and we will work with them, we want Summerfield to be the very best it can possibly be and we think this is our best path to be able to ensure that for us, citizens and our town into the future.”