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Cornelius News

Discussing development…before the horse is out of the barn


Dec. 19. Public hearings on new developments were front and center at the Town Board meeting last night, reflecting growing awareness of how fast growth is changing the look and feel of Cornelius, as well as how we get around.

Additional public hearings on projects is a new thing in Cornelius town government. The issue arose when the new QT gas station and C-store going in at the old Acropolis site caught neighbors unaware. Now there are public hearings at the beginning of the development process, as well as at the end.

Last night’s town board meeting included three of those new hearings:

Five new homes on Queen

A five-home subdivision at Queen Street and McCall came before the town board. The 1.63-acre project is nearly landlocked unless Queen is extended. A cul de sac is an option, which, of course, doesn’t help with connectivity.

One of the issues here is the size of the lots vs. the size of potential buffers. Joy Dean, a neighbor, is three houses from the proposed extension of Queen into McCall. She expressed concern about the two houses on smaller lots, and whether the houses would be crowded into the property.  “This development has the possibility of enhancing our neighborhood…if he is sensitive to the history and character of our neighborhood, as far as I am concerned we can work together on this development.”

John Ogburn, the developer, did not attend the meeting. Neighbors expressed concern about conflicting information around buffers—and whether buffers are a good idea in the first place.

Jim Burns, whose property is adjacent to the proposed development, said some trees have been there for 70 years and should be saved.

Paul Badger, who lives on McCall, said he is in favor of single-family homes, but has concerns about size of lots, the size of the right of way for a new street and the adequacy of existing sewerage.

Rosemary Turner, who lives on Queen Street, said she hopes the developer considers the neighbors’ feelings. “We’re a neighborhood not a development,” she said

Joe Dean, who lives on Church Street, said the process might be flawed, in that he’s aware of only one neighbor having received a postcard notification from the town. He said information regarding buffers was unclear.

DB Holdings

This project, at 18705 and 18831 Statesville Road includes the old Lake Norman Tire & Auto building. What it does is officially connect the two properties which meet at a creek to the rear of the properties. Auto sales are already permitted on the northern piece but have not been built. The existing stand along auto-repair on the Southern piece is non-conforming to the current code and therefore any changes, including expansion, cannot be permitted. Connecting the two properties would combine the permitted auto sales with the auto-repair property thus making it conforming (if agreed by the BOC). The combination would allow for expansion of the currently non-conforming auto-repair business to the South of the Archer propane property (which may be the new Hertz rental car location).  The project comes before the Planning Board Jan. 8.

Grace Covenant Church

The hearing has to do with an expansion  on Grace Covenant’s 19.75 acre tract directly adjacent to the church. The project would cover 25,200 square feet and include offices and classroom space as well as a gym. The existing offices would move from across Hwy. 21 to the new building. This project also comes before the Planning Board Jan. 8.

What the new Mayor Pro Tem says

“Last night were great examples of the new Board of Commissioners Public Input meeting that has been added at the beginning of the permitting process. The Commissioners, who will make the final determination following a second public input, are informed of a proposed development by staff, and are given the chance to hear from the developer and the citizens. This allows Commissioners time to consider the pros and cons, and to get answers to any questions and concerns, about a development in a timely fashion before the final vote is taken. It also allows the citizens a stronger voice by being able to interact with the Commissioners sooner rather than later in the process,” said Dr. Mike Miltich, the new Mayor Pro Tem.

He was sworn in last night with his wife Ann holding The Bible and children at his side.

And in PARC news

Scott Higgins was reappointed chairman of the Parks Arts Recreation & Culture Board. The town commission also approved fee increases for tournaments at Westmoreland Athletic Complex. The fees will not affect individuals.

Budget conversations begin

Have you started planning 2019 yet? The town is already looking at it. Mayor Woody Washam will host the 2018-19 Budget Retreat March 7-8 at the Graylyn Conference Center in Winston-Salem. Attendees include the board manager and staff; citizens may attend as well. The first public hearing on the budget is May 21.