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Cornelius News

Antiquity road show: More delays for a project that may have gotten too big

Antiquity Heights could put in about 50 homes without changing zoning

By Dave Vieser. In May 2016, with a strong local economy and Cornelius Antiquity neighborhood growing day by day, developer Joe Roy of Charlotte based Meeting Street Company filed a rezoning application with the town which if approved, would have permitted him to build Antiquity Woods, a mixed-use community on 16 acres of vacant land.

The proposed development, which would be in Cornelius but virtually on top of the Davidson border, was for 103 single-family homes (a mixture of attached and detached), a four-bedroom inn, and a 2,500 sq ft restaurant. Some 18 months later, the project is at a standstill. Roy has clearly not given up​, although other developers are guessing he will.

Roy actually paid a double application fee of $2,500 to keep the application active until April 30, 2018, according to Cornelius Planning Director Wayne Herron. “Other than that, we have no indication of any additional direction in which to move the project forward.”

Roy wouldn’t talk to a Cornelius Today reporter, but other developers are suggesting that a less ambitious project without retail and with fewer homes might move forward.​

The project is next to the covered bridge in Antiquity and​ McEver baseball field in Davidson.​ Currently zoned Neighborhood Residential​, the current Roy plan would require a conditional zoning status ​for the desired density.

In reality, Meeting Street could erect approximately 50 homes without getting a change in the zoning. However, their plans call for a density of about twice the amount they could build “by right.”

Despite enormous demand for new housing, developers are being ​confronted by new and better organized ​citizen ​movements calling for slower and more sensitive growth, especially in light of lagging infrastructure improvements. In this case, the year​-​and​-a-​half of waiting has enabled residents from both towns to fortify their opposition to the project based on traffic/safety issues.

Antiquity resident Kelly Gardner​ ​started a group called CARD (Citizens Advocating Responsible Development) in response to the Antiquity Woods rezoning efforts​. “Our members really care about traffic/safety issues on South St​reet ​and in Antiquity,” she said.​

The specific traffic issue of most concern is that the only entrance and exit to Antiquity Woods would be precisely where traffic on South Street from Davidson approaches the narrow covered bridge which connects the two towns.

In December of last year, the required traffic impact analysis (TIA) for the project was completed by A. Morton Thomas and Associates of Raleigh. The 50-page document includes information on the traffic flow which the development would generate. Neighbors were already concerned with some of the information that was omitted in the study, including the failure to account for the expansion of Davidson Elementary School from K-5 to K-8 grades by the end of 2018.

Will the time which has elapsed result in the need for a new TIA? “That depends​,​“ said Herron. “Did the plan change? Did any circumstances related to items evaluated change? If things did change, does it change the outcome or the recommended mitigation? We do not know what plan the applicant will choose​,​ so we will just have to wait and see.”

For now, everything is on hold and at least one of the newest members of the Cornelius Town Board seems concerned. “The proposed development has over twice the number of homes it is currently zoned for, and the TIA fails to account for the increased traffic at Davidson Elementary​,​“ said Commissioner Kurt Naas. “Any development looking to cram twice the number of homes on a parcel via conditional zoning is a tough sell.”