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Cornelius News

Planning Board recommends ‘no’ vote on Mayes Road development

Mayes Road project site plan

Feb. 9. By Dave Vieser. By a 6-1 vote, the Cornelius Planning Board is recommending that the Town Board deny a rezoning request to remove “rural preservation” zoning on a large tract of land off Mayes Road in southeast Cornelius.

Planning Board Member Susan Johnson said the proposed Mayes Meadow development, “although beautifully designed, does not adhere to the current land use plan for that area. Although growth is inevitable, we have an obligation as a board to preserve the integrity, spirit and intent for which the current land use plan was designed.”

Duke, Gilroy weigh in

The thumbs down vote got a thumbs up from one current and one former town official.

“The Planning Board got this one right,” said Town Commissioner Jim Duke. Former Town Commissioner Dave Gilroy said it was “a terrific decision in the best long term interest of Cornelius, and our quality of life.” Gilroy has announced plans to run again in November.

Recommendation, not a requirement

However, the recommendation is only advisory in nature and the Town Board is not required to follow it. A public hearing on the request is scheduled for Monday Feb. 15. How the Town Board votes on this project will signal their thoughts on rural preservation, master plans made some years ago and growth.


Simonini/Bayard Builders wants the OK to build 180 single-family homes on 96.5 acres of vacant farm and wooded land on Mayes Road in a rural preservation area.

Simonini is one of the top names in custom builders in Charlotte, with predecessor companies having built a variety of homes in neighborhoods like The Peninsula and Connor Quay. However, at Mondays meeting, several speakers voiced concern about the change in rural character which the project would generate.

Neighbor concerns

“I’m not sure what would be gained by damaging the scenic features in the area,” said Paul Herbert, former PARC director for the Town of Cornelius. “It seems like this would be watering down the rural preservation commitments that have long been in place. It would set a harmful precedent.”

In addition, concerns were raised about the traffic study for the project, specifically why the Mayes Road/Hwy. 115 intersection had not been included in the town analysis.

“That intersection is precarious and would certainly need a traffic signal,” said speaker David Sayers.

A Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) was only received late last week and did not include an analysis of the 115/Mayes Road intersection.

Planning Director Aaron Tucker said, “due to the low trip distribution at that intersection, and other physical factors particular to that intersection, further study was not warranted.”

One vote in favor

After public comments were concluded, the Planning Board considered a resolution recommending approval to the Town Board, but it died for lack of any support. The board then voted 6-1 to recommend denial.

Chairman Keith Eicher was the only board member to vote against the measure, without comment.

A public hearing will take place during the Town Board’s Feb. 15 meeting, which begins at 6 pm in Town Hall. A decision is tentatively scheduled for Monday March 1.

The Mayes Road plan calls for over 50 percent of the property to be open space, an unusually high percentage, and the Greenway which goes through the property will be a central part of the development. It will be a mix of one- and two- story homes, in the $400,000 to $600,000 price range, all with master bedrooms on the main floor.