WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A new planned unit development called Southbrook is coming to Winterville with hopes of easing housing demands and preparing for more people to move to the area.

“The Town of Winterville is growing, there’s a lot of residential demand. You have people moving from all over. And that’s something that we welcome, we really want these people to come to Winterville,” said Winterville Economic Development Planner Stephen Penn.

The Town of Winterville Council meeting unanimously approved the rezoning for the project on Monday night. Although the project is still in the beginning stages, town officials say they are excited about what the development will bring to the area.

“We’re very excited to have Southbrook come to our area. Something different, something new for Eastern North Carolina. Instead of a subdivision, it’s a neighborhood,” said Winterville Mayor Ricky Hines.

Southbrook will feature more than 600 units over 245 acres, some being single-family detached homes and some being single-family patio homes.

“It’s actually a planned unit development, which is the first of its kind here in Winterville. Essentially, that means they cluster the homes and certain areas of the neighborhood while leaving open space for recreation,” Penn said. “It’s 245 acres. So that’s 2.5 units per acre. It’s actually a very low-density residential compared to the rest of the town of Winterville.”

Penn said this project was a long time coming.

“We had a project similar to this proposed about nine years ago, the market was just not there at the time,” Penn said. “We’ve actually been working with the designer for the past few years, couple of years to actually get this kind of put together.”

He added the project will meet the demand of the area.

“About a one percent growth per year in residential growth, so it’s very sustainable. And with this, we look at DOT to improve their streets for such projects,” Penn said. “Winterville and Pitt County is a very desirable place for residential right now. You have people moving from all over.”

As an expansive project, Southbrook will be built in phases.

“Two hundred and forty-five acres in Eastern North Carolina is certainly a large site, so it’s going to be something over the next ten or so years, you’ll see it phased out and built out,” said Penn.

The Coley Group, the developers for the project, said dirt will not be turned any time soon. The earliest date for breaking ground would be 2024.

In an e-mail statement to WNCT, the Coley Group expressed excitement for the project.

“Our entire team is elated and extremely blessed to call Winterville home for our Southbrook Community! The entire town staff, elected officials, planning board members and most importantly its citizens have done a wonderful job in welcoming and supporting us along the way. We look forward to our continued partnership as we take the next steps in our plan review process.”

Winterville officials said they hope this project stands the test of time.

“I know that there are some concerns with growing pains that any community will experience those concerns. But in reality, a project like this is something that I believe we will be proud of in the next 10, 20, 100 years and that’s really the goal of the planning department and the council,” Penn said.