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Cornelius News

Gilroy’s comments at Town Board meeting cut short

Dave Gilroy comments at a Town Board meeting in 2020

April 6. By Dave Vieser. Former Commissioner Dave Gilroy appeared before the Town Board Monday evening to speak in opposition to a proposed increase in density among some of the rural portions of the town.

“Once you raise the density, you can never reverse it,” he said.

As a private citizen, he was allowed three minutes to speak. Gilroy, who is expected to run for the Town Board this fall, had submitted videos and spread sheets and asked that they be displayed on the screen when he spoke.

But there were technical problems getting the videos displayed, to the extent that Mayor Woody Washam gave him an extra minute to speak.

Gilroy was just getting up to speed when he reached the four-minute mark.

Time’s up

“You are out of time Dave,” said the mayor.

As it currently stands, private citizens get three minutes while developers and applicants can speak as long as they wish.

Gilroy left, unhappily pointing out that there weren’t any other speakers anyway.

He was an early opponent of the toll lanes on I-77 as well as a hawkish approach to town budgets, including capital expenditures and salaries.

When he was honored last year for his service a little over two years ago, he said:

“I submit we are more likely to find the right balances if we have passionate discussion on both sides. The balance comes from passionate debate, not ‘go along to get along.’ Find that balance on the big issues so we can fortify…what makes this town so distinctive.”

Gilroy honored for service

Some towns in the county are exploring the possibility of allocating more time for citizens to speak.

Duke comments

Commissioner Jim Duke said Gilroy made “a rather passionate appeal by former Commissioner Gilroy earlier but unfortunately as a regular citizen he didn’t have the time.”



4 Responses to “Gilroy’s comments at Town Board meeting cut short”

  1. That was ridiculous! Let the man speak his peace!

    Posted by Melinda Meade | April 6, 2021, 1:37 pm
    • Thanks Melinda!

      Posted by Dave Gilroy | April 6, 2021, 7:51 pm
    • I agree that 3 minutes is not only a joke, but an outright slap in the face to those that truly care and want to voice concerns in an attempt to make a difference. The public has little notice to prepare for these meetings. Even worse off if you are not familiar with a Dillon Rule state. It is clearly to your detriment if you don’t hail from NC, so you are even further left behind, struggling to educate yourself within a week, or less and given 3 minutes to speak. I get this is a larger conversation for Raleigh…the whole issue feels insurmountable . Instead Cornelius , what help may you provide to help educate your residents so we can properly voice concerns – at the right time, in the right format, and in an apparently very consolidated and unrealistic time frame?

      Posted by Kim | April 6, 2021, 8:53 pm
  2. Our Town Board made the largest strategic mistake of the year this week when they voted 4-1 to change land use plans for the last remaining accessible rural area of our town, the 173 acres of beautiful land around Mayes Road in eastern Cornelius, to allow for 6X higher density new residential development.

    We should recognize Commissioner Jim Duke for standing up for open space preservation, natural habitats, diverse housing choices, moderate and controlled development, and our long term quality of life. This was an incredibly obvious and really important choice; yet our Mayor and 4 Commissioners chose the opposite of what at least 90% of Cornelius citizens want for our Town.

    The reasons for preserving our current land use zoning along Mayes are numerous, including:

    1.Enhance balance and diversity in the types of neighborhoods and homes Cornelius has (e.g. traditional ranch homes on large lots, beautiful private estate homes)
    2.Support business & economic development – creating breathing room enabling specialty, recreational businesses that need affordable land and open space (e.g. horse stables)
    3.Demonstrate commitment to long-term land preservation, open spaces, natural habitats, scenic views
    4.Mitigate BIG 3 chronic problems driven by our current unbalanced 85% residential land use in Cornelius:

    1. Traffic congestion
    2. School overcrowding
    3. Unavoidable, recurring tax increases for rapidly escalating costs of public services.

    So why in the world did our leaders coddle residential developers and clear the way for 180 new homes in the first proposed development (Mayes Meadow), with several additional new subdivisions to follow? Our own Planning Board voted 6-1 against this project just a month ago, so our Mayor and 4 Commissioners rushed to change the map and clear the way. It’s really hard to understand, but here are the reasons they expressed during discussions:

    1.“We cut Rural Preservation in 2014 – time to do it again!”. I was on the Board in 2014 – we reduced Rural Preservation (RP) selectively on Bailey and Barnhardt within walking distance of the new schools while explicitly committing to keeping the remaining RP on Mayes for the very long term
    2.“Donut hole – Huntersville and Davidson are developing neighborhoods in this general area so we need to also!”. Another silly argument – when neighboring towns over-develop adjacent areas, that’s a perfect reason for NOT following suit
    3.“We’re not eastern North Carolina – we’re a suburb of Charlotte!”. In other words, Cornelius citizens should just shut up and drive 5-6 hours to see open space.
    4.“We still have Potts!”. The Potts family land is indeed now the very last rural-like open space and natural habitat left in Cornelius, but it is not accessible or observable in the way the beautiful land on Mayes is. And just give this Board another 5 years and they’ll undoubtedly rezone this land as well.

    I attended the Board meeting Monday night and spoke against this decision to eliminate RP on Mayes, but was cut off after 3 minutes. Please join me next time in coming out to speak against the next new residential neighborhood proposed for Mayes. We cannot have a Town Board that favors high density residential developers over citizens and seeks to pack thousands of new residents into new apartment complexes and subdivisions on our remaining land. Unbridled residential growth and stacking up new residents like cordwood in Cornelius is a path to lower quality of life for all of us.

    Posted by Dave Gilroy | April 6, 2021, 7:51 pm

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