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Cornelius News

Can we talk? Advisory board wants more hearings

​Aug. 4. ​By Dave Vieser​. When some local governments are under fire for not providing ​enough opportunities for citizen​ input​ on ​new development projects, Cornelius officials are considering an additional public hearing near the start of the conditional zoning approval process.​ If it all sounds technical, it’s not. Right now big projects can move forward without as much neighborhood input​ as one might expect. Residents in Smithville said they were caught off-guard by the new QT project going in on the old Acropolis site.

The ​topic ​was discussed in detail at the July meeting of the town’s Land Development Code Advisory Board​. The LDCAB ​​wants to add an additional public hearing for ​”​Conditional Zoning​”​ projects that would immediately follow the required community meeting​, according to Wayne Herron​, the town’s planning director.​

Under current procedure, the one required public hearing comes at the very end of the review process.​ Community meetings, meanwhile, are more casual affairs.​

​Town ​Commissioner Mike Miltich, who serves on LDCAB, ​said he is in favor of any change that allows more citizen input before a final decision.

​”​The way it stands now, citizens speak moments before we vote and that may not provide enough time for us to process the comments or suggestions made​,​”​ he said.​

LDCAB had actually considered several ideas , including having a public hearing once an application has been filed, or having the town conduct quarterly public hearings on new applications. In the end, however, adding the public hearing after the community meeting was the favored option.

Zoning applications will still require hearings before the town Planning Board and Town Commissioners, so there would actually be several opportunities for citizens to be heard.

The suggested change must still be approved by both the Planning ​Board ​and Town Board before going into effect.