HUNTERSVILLE – More houses, improvements to the Gilead Road/U.S. 21 intersection and the future of Huntersville's old mill highlighted the town board’s retreat on Jan. 30-31.

The number of single-family home permits rose from 350 to 402 last year, a testament to the town’s quality of life, Planning Director Jack Simoneau said. No new multi-family permits came to Huntersville in 2013, however.

“We would expect that possibly a project or two of multi-family (homes) might come in 2014, but we’ll see,” Simoneau said. “You hear a lot about folks saying, ‘Well, homes are getting smaller and more efficient,’ but the trend we’re seeing is bigger homes.”

The addition of new homes and new development in town pairs with the anticipated growth in Huntersville’s population. The town projects a population of 51,469 for 2014, with the number of residents expecting to balloon past 55,000 by 2016, past 68,000 by 2020 and in the 89,000 range by 2030.

The town has more than 3,000 approved but un-built single-family lots, Simoneau added.

Commissioners also discussed the future of the town’s old mill and the 33 acres on which it stands. The mill is part of the town’s downtown revitalization project, which also includes a downtown park.

Town Manager Greg Ferguson is in the process of developing a request for proposal that would elicit interest in buying the mill, which Commissioner Ron Julian said would serve two purposes: It would enable the mill to be improved, and the money spent would help diversify the town’s tax base.

Finding a buyer should take a few months, but the net result will be worth it, he added.

The board addressed progress on the Gilead Road/U.S. 21 intersection, which would relieve considerable congestion in the area, at an estimated cost of $5 million to $8 million.

Residents aren’t expected to see concrete evidence of improvement until early 2015.

The intersection has been an ongoing topic of discussion among commissioners for the past several months.

Commissioner Jeff Neely highlighted the town’s need for improved roads as the population and business landscapes continue to grow.

Julian said a consulting firm has been tapped to handle design for the improvements to the intersection.