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Cornelius News

‘Retreat’ advances in a big way

Plans call for houses priced $400K to $500K

Feb., 18. By Dave Vieser. The developers of the Retreat at West Catawba have dramatically increased the size of the project planned for the bend on West Catawba opposite Elevation Church. Demeter Properties wants to add 18 townhomes to the project, for a total of 60 vs. the 42 requested in the original proposal.

The proposal before the Cornelius commissioners is substantially different than the one residents saw at a critical January community meeting. The original proposal called for as many as 42 townhomes, as well as two commercial buildings. The new plan is all residential.

The first public hearing on the Retreat at West Catawba project is still scheduled for this evening at 7 pm, but it may be continued to March 4.

The revised plan was only posted on the town’s web site on Feb. 14 leaving both residents and town commissioners little time to digest the changes. Late Friday afternoon, after being contacted by Cornelius Today, town officials said they might ask the commissioners to continue the meeting to March 4.

HERRON

Assistant Town Manager Wayne Herron, who is considering asking the Town Board to “continue” the public hearing until March 4, said he would like to be able to “make a concerted effort” to let neighbors know about the change.

Road widens ahead

The area is part of West Catawba Phase 2, which means it will be widened to four lanes from Jetton to Hwy. 73 starting next year.

Herron said he may also suggest requiring the project to go back to the Pre-Development Committee that is scheduled to meet on March 4 as well.

Town officials say the plan is different from what was exhibited during the community meeting. The change comes from a bulb U-turn NCDOT plans on the southern part of the property. The DOT had expressed concerns regarding  driveways and sight distances.

The town Transportation Advisory Board reviewed the initial proposal in January. ““We basically reported that the Catawba widening will effectively address the traffic impact associated with this development,” said Kurt Naas, a TAB member and town commissioner.

But until the widening is completed, the project “will significantly impact traffic congestion,”  Naas said.

NAAS

The TAB has not had the opportunity to look at the new plan.

Tucker believes that the trip generation for the new all-residential proposal will be significantly lower and is deemed to be more acceptable by NCDOT for this location.

Commercial buildings eliminated

The new proposal spreads out the townhomes throughout the site, and accounts for the u turn bulb called for by the DOT. Two commercial buildings have been eliminated.

The property is largely vacant except for a handful of homes, one of which is run-down.

The site was in the news back in 2016 when Classica Homes planned 40 age-restricted homes there, but the application was ultimately withdrawn. The town at the time offered little support for a residential project, stymieing the long-time owners who wanted to sell. The plan was officially withdrawn when there were too many challenges around the plans to widen West Catawba.

At the January community meeting, representatives from Demeter indicated that each of the townhomes would be approximately 2,200 square feet, and that the selling price would range from $400,000 to $500,000. It is unclear whether those figures would be adjusted in the new all-residential plan.

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