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Cornelius News

Fate of mansion may come down to Town Board vote in January

Mansion on Smith Circle would be torn down

Dec. 15. By Dave Vieser. The long-awaited public hearing on rezoning for the Reserve at Smith Circle Project will be held Tuesday Jan. 17, beginning at 7 pm in Town Hall. Commissioners will be reviewing a development which received a unanimous approval recommendation from the Planning Board following their Dec. 12 meeting.


The project applicant Steve Terpak is requesting to rezone approximately 3.9 acres on Smith Circle to develop a 12 lot, single-family residential subdivision. The location is near Cornelius Elementary School. All lots will front on a new internal public street and two driveway access points will be located at the west and south Smith Circle frontages.

The property is currently occupied by a stately mansion that was once the home of the Smith family. The density of the project is under four units per acre, which is the recommended limit for that location pursuant to the town Land Development Code. Projected prices for the new homes have risen from the mid-$400,000 range to above $600,000.

Residents not happy

Over a dozen nearby residents, many from the Twin Oaks subdivision, left Town Hall very briskly once the approval vote was taken, but not before making their feelings known. “The increase in traffic is of serious concern to me,” said Jean Murphy. “The new Town Board had recently talked about controlling new development. I don’t consider this controlling new development.”

Some residents have also expressed concern that little or no attention has been focused on the historical value of the existing stately home at the development site.

There’s no official word from the town’s Historic Preservation Committee on the proposal.

No official town recommendation

In an unusual twist this development did not come to the Planning Board with a town recommendation. The Town Board formed a Growth Management Task Force one year ago and they have not yet formally released their findings. As a result, town planners did not feel it would have been appropriate to provide a recommendation at this time.

Planning Board members apparently did not feel this should delay their decision.

Whats’ next?

The public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday Jan. 17, the day after the MLK Holiday. The Town Board could render a decision that evening or continue the matter to a later date. The meeting will begin at 6 pm.