Large apartment complex appears likely for Canton outskirts

A rendering provided by developers shows what the proposed apartment buildings might look like. A rendering provided by developers shows what the proposed apartment buildings might look like. Town of Canton photo

The Town of Canton’s governing board will soon consider approval of a substantial residential project after the town’s planning board unanimously voted to accept staff recommendations in favor of the proposal on April 10.

If approved, the project would include 12 apartment buildings with 24 units each, and three carriage house buildings with four units each for a total of 300 units on 13 separate lots that will be joined to form one 37-acre parcel. That would likely make it the largest residential development in Haywood County history.

“It certainly is the biggest in the town of Canton’s history,” said Byron Hickox, the town’s planning director.

At 8.2 units per acre, the project falls well below the maximum base density of units per acre specified in the town’s zoning ordinance. Project plans show a clubhouse, more than 2 acres of open space and parking spots for 525 cars. Buildings will rise to a maximum height of three stories and plans meet all building location and setback requirements.

Tucked away just off Champion Drive on Livestock Market Road, the proposed development offers easy access to Interstate 40 to the north as well as the Ingles grocery store to the south. Plans call for the improvement of Livestock Market Road to town standards, including a paved width of 22 feet with curbs, gutters and sidewalks on both sides. Livestock Market Road will also be extended to North Canton Road.

The project’s developers are acting through a Hickory-based LLC called Canton Investors, which includes several principals from another development company, HVY Holdings, which has completed several similar projects in the Hickory area. The project does, however, include one well-known local name — Michael Parrott, a Pisgah High School graduate who played fullback for the Miami Hurricanes in 2020 and 2021.

Related Items

“I think it will be a high-quality product similar to Plott Creek [apartments, in Waynesville],” Hickox said.

Currently, the parcels are not located within town limits; however, developers have applied for annexation, which would benefit both the project and the town.

The current assessed value of the parcels is right around $1.5 million, which is likely to go up once purchase prices are considered, the countywide property revaluation takes effect in 2025 and construction is completed, likely late in 2026.

Whatever the final number ends up being, it’s property tax revenue the town doesn’t currently have, and with severe municipal budget challenges in the wake of the closing of Pactiv Evergreen’s 115-year-old paper mill in Canton, the town needs every nickel it can get.

The town would also gain hundreds of new water and sewer customers.

In turn, residents would receive other town services like fire and police coverage as well as garbage pickup.

In a larger sense, the project could end up having a positive impact on the county’s affordable housing crisis. A 2021 Dogwood Health Trust report noted a deficiency of almost 1,600 rental units in Haywood County, which parallels the approximately 1,700 short-term vacation rental properties available.

Although the project is expected to charge market rate rents and doesn’t specifically include any units priced on a sliding scale for income — like the Mountain Creek apartments at the former Bi-Lo site in Waynesville does — it’s thought that any increase in market-rate rental units helps open up workforce housing and affordable units for new renters.

Carl Cortright, a planning board member, said only one person spoke out at the meeting against the project, but plenty of nearby residents showed up to ask questions — quality questions the planning board would have asked anyway, according to Cortright.

“I think it’s a quality project. That’s what impressed me about the presentation,” he said. “To me, it’s the best possible use of the land if we do have to build something on it. We don’t have a multi-family complex like this in Canton.”

Canton Mayor Zeb Smathers said he’s supportive of the project and looks forward to hearing it presented before the town’s governing board on April 25.

“I’m appreciative of both the planning department and the planning board’s work on this project,” Smathers said April 12. “Both have done their due diligence, followed our guidelines, and I’m confident this can be a successful economic and housing win for the town.”

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.