Article by: Michael Barrett
City Council members on Monday voted unanimously in favor of the proposal for a 325-unit multi-family complex that will be constructed just south of Wilkinson Boulevard, and between Park and Sixth streets. It will be built on 37 acres of undeveloped property that overlooks a major eastern gateway into Belmont, where kudzu now runs rampant near a perennial stream and adjacent floodplain.
The rezoning and annexation will clear the way for Morris Kaplan’s residential development firm to acquire the land from the Garrison family. Kaplan is a well-known developer who has been involved in numerous projects through the Southeast over the last 30 years.
Kaplan Residential held community meetings earlier this year with surrounding property owners and residents to explain its intentions and solicit feedback on the development. Belmont Planning and Zoning Director Shelley DeHart believes that was one of the things that helped to curry favor and acceptance among most of the interested parties. Planning staff and the Belmont Planning and Zoning Board also endorsed the project.
“Their team was very well put together, from their engineer to their developer,” she said. “They’ve done this before. They came in and asked what they needed to pay attention to.”