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Cornelius News

Alexander Farm developer providing land for fire station


By Dave Vieser. WIN Development LLC, the developer planning a large, mixed-use project on the iconic Alexander Farm site, has agreed to donate land for a new Cornelius Fire Station. Getting land for a new fire station, which would be located just east of the intersection of West Catawba and Westmoreland, was a priority for Mayor Woody Washam and the Town Board.

An updated site plan identifies the one-acre site which is valued at upwards of $218,000 based on the $12 million asking price for the 55-acre farm.

Buildout for the transformational Alexander Farms project is valued in excess of $100 million.

Donating the land represents a second significant modification by the developer. Their original site plan also called for a convenience store but it was removed after concerns were raised by residents during public hearings last year.

The Cornelius/Lemley Volunteer Fire Dept. has two fire stations: Station No. 1 on Main Street just south of downtown and No. 2 on Charles Towne Lane just off Jetton Road.

The department responds to both fire and medical calls in Cornelius, and has continued to experience a dramatic increase in calls. They also respond to what are called mutual aid requests from neighboring Davidson and Huntersville, both of which are experiencing rapid growth as well. Adding a third station would reduce response times for calls in the town and lower the number of times mutual aid help would be needed from Davidson and Huntersville.

Meanwhile, don’t look for any work to begin on the site this year.

“I think it’s safe to say any construction would at the earliest be next year for this project,” said Town Planning Director Aaron Tucker. Part of the delay can be attributed to the lengthy approval process as directed by the town and the NCDOT. Another reason was a delay in receiving an updated site plan for the required Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) from the developer.

“Although WIN paid for the study back in November, the town was unable to give our traffic engineering vendor, Stantec Engineering, notice to proceed until we had an updated site plan,” said planner Tucker. “We are currently running the revised site plan by NCDOT and if things stay the course, the traffic study should be started in a few weeks.”

It will take six or seven months to complete.

The TIA will then need to be submitted to NCDOT for final approval. Initially the Town expected final NCDOT approval on or before Aug. 1 of this year, but with the delay that final approval date will no doubt slide.

At the conclusion of the traffic study, the town will be able to utilize any mitigation recommendations in the TIA to make final recommendations to the Town Board with regard to any zoning considerations.

The original proposal for the site by WIN Development called for developing the 55-acre farm into a mixed-use development consisting of neighborhood commercial, independent living, single-family residences, and open space. It was only a few years ago that the Alexander family patriarch farmed the land.

The proposed zoning is Conditional Zoning (CA).