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Cornelius News

New project on W. Catawba would feature commercial, residential separated by gates

Artist rendering of Cambridge Square

Oct. 10. By Dave Vieser. If the Cambridge Square mixed use project proposed for West Catawba Avenue goes forward, developer David Smith may have to abide by a lengthy list of conditions, including the use of a gate at the entrance to the residential section. The town’s planning board recommended approving the project to the Town Board with 10 specific conditions.

The elected Town Board will ultimately pass judgment on the project.

The 7.63 acre property at 18745 West Catawba Ave. would get two commercial buildings at the front and 20 single family homes to the rear. The developer is proposing to renovate the existing church building on the site, which was also once used as the North Mecklenburg Senior Center, for general commercial use.

“It is rare that we recommend a gated situation with no neighborhood connectivity, but after extensive evaluation, this is exactly the scenario that we feel works best for this proposal,” said Planning Director Wayne Herron. “The gate will be installed between the commercial parking and the beginning of the single-family development to discourage commercial parking overflow into the single-family area.”

Some of the other conditions required by the town:

  • The developer must coordinate with the state DOT on required improvements to West Catawba Avenue, which is expected to be widened. Though the design of the widened roadway has not been finalized, a super street with a median, is possible.
  • The gated private street will not be maintained by the Town but must be built to Town standards.
  • All civic uses will be prohibited, but all other standard commercial, retail, service, office, restaurant and micro-brewery uses will be permitted within the non-residential buildings.
  • The existing church building must be renovated and receive a certificate of occupancy prior to the recording of any plats for the residential portion of the plan.
  • The building must be renovated with the exterior matching the plan ultimately approved by the town’s Architectural Review Board which includes a minimum height requirement of 26 feet.

A community meeting on the project was held on September 6 and virtually all concerns from local residents focused on the additional traffic on West Catawba which may be generated by the project. A date for the Town Board’s public hearing on this project has not yet been set.

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