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Cornelius News

Mayes Meadow: Point-counterpoint

Mayes Meadow, a new development with 160 single-family homes on farmland on Mayes Road, was approved by the Town Board in a 4-1 vote May 17. The concept of “rural preservation” was redefined to accommodate the project, causing disagreement among citizens and members of the Town Board, including Commissioner Michael Miltich and Jim Duke, the lone dissenter.  We asked both to explain their vote in point-counterpoint fashion.

Rendering of Mayes Meadow / Bayard Development

The Town ‘pulled the rug out’

By Jim Duke


On Mayes Road: It is an old two-lane country road that traffic and construction will likely damage severely. Our traffic analysis left our wear and tear as well as the impact of Huntersville approved projects on its side of Mayes.  Our Jetton Road Extension, which is crumbling, is an example of old roads not built for this volume. NCDOT will exact a price from the town to rebuild or repair Mayes Road that we allowed to be over used.

On the people: There are too few rural residents to complain enough to matter to commissioners. We need to listen to them! Generational families do deserve to profit from their generational wealth, but at what price to our community? Why should we allow big profits at the expense of those families who bought property and relied upon “rural preservation” only to have the town pull the rug out from under their dreams.

On Schools: What’s a couple of hundred more students?  This project is not Senior Housing and it will bring a significant amount of Cornelius students to an already over-crowded school system.  It could force out Huntersville students who currently enjoy our first rate schools. We didn’t even ask about that.

On Dave Gilroy: While I rarely agree with Dave Gilroy on issues, but on this one—rural preservation—I do.  If only half of his claims about community support are true, elected officials need to take notice.  We simply can’t ignore the rights of our citizens in order to appease developers and their threats to sue or pressure to enact controlling legislation!

In general:  I noted that we are relying upon growth to raise revenue.  But growth brings additional demands upon public services and rarely nets positive. Cornelius is “tapped out” and will need to generate an appropriate tax rate that looks to our long-term needs. It is not a matter of if we need to adjust taxes, it is when. If we do a little now, we can avoid a big increase later.  Sooner is better than later.

—Jim Duke, commissioner

Cornelius Town Board

A ‘well-designed’ project

By Michael Miltich


After setting and adopting the annual town budget, zoning is the most important and difficult task that your commissioners perform. The goal is to obtain the “highest and best use” of our limited land. How a project fits the existing use and the community’s future vision is critical. There are always conflicting interests and seldom is everyone happy.

Mayes Meadow is a well designed project, and was selected by the Mayes family who remain connected to the land. It wasn’t the highest offer they received for the land, but in the family’s opinion, it was the best. I agree. It is a Conservation Subdivision with more than 50 percent open space, a large open vista on Mayes Road highlighting the historic home and massive tree, housing with density lower than some adjacent developments that is hidden from view, a preserved forest, and connectivity to the greenway trails. It will set the bar for future development in the area.

Here are some facts:

1. The main issue in Cornelius remains traffic, not development.

2. Cornelius’ growth rate is the least in the entire county.

3.  Based on previous legal decisions, towns cannot deny projects because of insufficient infrastructure, such as roads, or schools.

4. Mayes Road is not stressed.

5. There is an approved Huntersville development with a traffic signal which may speed up the DOTs planned closure of the dangerous Mayes Road railroad crossing at Hwy. 115.

Change is the only constant. If not Mayes Meadow, at some point something will be done with this property. It is unrealistic to expect this property to remain farmland forever. What future project could occur if Mayes Meadow was not approved? Denial of a great project risks the approval of something inferior in the future.

There are those who want to unrealistically vote “No” to any change. However, change is managed by saying “Yes” to those projects that compliment and add to what makes Cornelius special. Mayes Meadow does that by adding needed housing while preserving the rural feel of the area. In my opinion, it deserved a “Yes” vote.

—Michael Miltich, commisioner

Cornelius Town Board