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Cornelius News

Gates open up big discussion

Will more gated neighborhoods get a green light in Cornelius? This is Connor Quay

Jan. 25. By Dave Vieser. Despite the town’s stated policy favoring connectivity, gated communities may be coming back. At their Jan. 22 meeting, the town’s Land Development Code Advisory Board (LDCAB) voted unanimously to have the town “study and report back” on the feasibility of permitting gates on private roads entering residential communities.

The biggest push for the change came from residents living in Mariner’s Cove on West Catawba Avenue near Sam Furr Road. Long-time resident Patty Kelly said the 76-townhome community is besieged with motorists doing U-turns or turning around on their private streets after discovering they made the wrong turn out of the Sam Furr Road/West Catawba intersection.

Multiple requests

Planning Director Wayne Herron says the town has heard from several other communities that want gates, including Avery Park. In the Avery Park situation, the problem is created by Hough High students parking on the private community’s streets.

“The town’s Land Development Code has prohibited gated streets and subdivisions since at least 1996,” Herron said. “However, our preliminary research indicates that while it may be impossible to gate a publicly maintained street, the town may consider establishing gated allowances for privately maintained streets.”

Barbarians at the gates?

“We’ve promoted connectivity and being an open, welcome and inviting town,” Herron added. “However, neighborhoods are concerned about safety, outside persons parking on neighborhood streets and travelers using neighborhoods for U-turns.”

There are a number of gated communities, such as Preston on the Lake, which were built prior to the 1996 regulation and have therefore been grandfathered into the law. The Connor Quay neighborhood has multimillion-dollar homes and gates.

The consensus on the board was to, at the very least, take a careful look at the situation.

If the LDCAB members favor changing the law, it would require action by the town Planning Board and Commissioners.

Handling of gated communities among neighboring communities varies. Huntersville has only two gated communities, both in “farmhouse clusters.” To the north, in Davidson, gated communities are not allowed at all.