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Cornelius News

Planning a town: Fast growth means revisiting 2015 plan

Photo: Bloomberg

Sept. 17. By Dave Vieser. When the Cornelius Town Board was holding public hearings concerning the controversial Townhomes at Washam Potts development, members of the community as well as current and former Commissioners noted that the town’s land use plan needed an update. They are all about to get their wish.

A Land Use Plan Update schedule was unveiled this week by Planning Director Aaron Tucker. There will be several opportunities for public participation during the nine month process.

Bloomberg today reported the number of available homes for sale is down 40 percent from this point last year, driven partly by homebuyers taking advantage of low interest rates to get more space during the pandemic. Homebuilders are stepping up to meet demand.

A municipal land use plan is a collection of policies and maps that serves as a community’s blueprint for growth. The last update for the Cornelius land use plan was completed in 2015, and the town’s comprehensive master plan recommends that it be updated every five years.

Monthly updates

“We will likely have an ongoing agenda item each month to give the Planning and Town Board an update of our process,” Tucker said. Larger community input meetings will abide by the Governor’s rules for gatherings; some meetings will be held virtually.

Under the schedule which the town’s Planning Board approved at their Sept. 14 meeting, the process will begin with an initial public input session, to be followed by a meeting with the Planning Board to discuss public comments. Additional public sessions and neighborhood meetings will follow, after which the Planning Board will make their final recommendations to the Town Board.

Growth areas

One of the areas which the plan is likely to address is the vacant property between West Catawba Avenue and Sefton Park Road just west of I77. “The CATS Park and Ride facility is adjacent to this land and we will be focusing on ways in which that underused facility can be utilized,” Tucker said.

Another area prime for review is the Arts District downtown. The land use issue revolves around increased density to support the Cain Center and new restaurants, retailers and breweries that may want to locate in the district.

Other areas slated for review include the Westmoreland Road Transition area near Hwy. 21, the Bailey Road Business Campus, and large undeveloped residential areas on the east side of town.

It may not be a moment too soon: A 166-home project planned for land on Mayes Road is in the early planning stages.