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Cornelius News

Alexander Farm plan now includes widening Westmoreland from Eagle Ridge to W. Catawba

There will be a roundabout at Westmoreland and Eagle Ridge

Aug. 25. By Dave Vieser. Widening Westmoreland Road to four lanes from West Catawba Avenue to Eagle Ridge Drive was part of the road improvements agreed to last night by the developers of the $110 million Alexander Farm project planned by WIN Development of Bellaire Beach, Florida.

The plan, which was approved unanimously by the Planning Board, goes to the Cornelius Town Board in September for a final public hearing.

“This will smooth out a lot of problems even for just a short portion,” Mayor Woody Washam said, explaining that the roundabout at Eagle Ridge will send some traffic south to the Northcross Extension and Sam Furr Road.

Exit 27 is still a possibility

Washam is still optimistic about a new Exit 27 that would ultimately lead to the widening of Westmoreland from Eagle Ridge all the way to Hwy. 21. Atrium hopes to build a hospital on the Augustalee property nearby.

Changes in the plan

Since the initial proposal was reviewed and discussed in 2019, there have been many changes.

In addition to improvements to the entrance and exit of the Westmoreland Athletic Complex, as well the addition of numerous turning lanes in the are—other transportation improvements stipulated last night—WIN development has reduced the number of detached single-family homes from 84 to 76, and eliminated age limits for buyers.

Plans for a fire station, initially pushed by the town, were removed at the request of the town in April. Earlier, a convenience store and gas station were also removed according to Susan Irvin, representing the developer.

Alexander Farm is the last remaining farm in the western section of town.

Included besides the 76 single-family homes which  are expected to carry a $600,000 price tag, is a 130 unit resort style retirement community, and approximately 120,000 square feet of commercial development to be constructed from 2021-2023.  The development also includes a 3.2 acre park.

Meeting details

At the Aug. 24 meeting, Matt Peach from Stantec, the company which performed the projects’ Transportation Impact Analysis (TIA), described it as a complex project with many moving parts. He said the traffic counts used in their analysis were based on pre-COVID measurements.

Several board members raised some concerns, but not enough to reject the plan. Member Hardy McConnell had concerns about the projected number of cars to be generated by the single family homes with no age restrictions. “With a $600,000 price point I would think these homes would generate quite a few cars per residence,”  he said.

And Susan Johnson expressed a desire for more pedestrian access to the project.

In response, Irvin said the developer would also like more walkability but were somewhat limited by what the NCDOT would permit.

What’s next

The Town Board’s hearing is scheduled for 7 pm Monday Sept. 21 at Town Hall. The plan is also expected to be reviewed by the Town’s Transportation Advisory Board at their Sept. 1 meeting.