you're reading...

Cornelius News

Town Board approves Greenway Gartens, Caroline

OMB owner John Marrino, center right, makes his case in this screenshot from the Town Board meeting Sept. 7

Sept. 8. By Dave Vieser. Two mixed-use projects, which include 650 new residential units, was unanimously approved by the Town Board at their meeting last night.

Despite opposition from some in attendance—including the chair of the Park Department and a former town commissioner running for his old seat—the town board members said the two projects were just too good to turn down. They said significant concessions were made by the developers in light of concerns raised by residents along the way.

The Greenway Gartens and Caroline projects include the Olde Mecklenburg brewery, commercial space and significant road improvements funded by the developers,

Unanimous vote

The unanimous board approval followed a lengthy presentation detailing a new road, roundabouts, a 14,000 square foot brewery, restaurant/brewpub, tap room, a 10,000 square-foot indoor event facility and other commercial uses.

During the hearing, the public was permitted to speak for three minutes and comments were split between those for and against.

Click here for our story on the initial plans on the brewery back in 2017.

Park chair speaks out


Park Board Chair Scott Higgins, an Antiquity resident himself, said he supports the notion of a brewery and beer garden, but not without more review that would address concerns about traffic and safety as well as a comprehensive town center plan.

The town center is becoming an economic development hub with the construction of the $25 million Cain Center for the Arts.

“More planning is needed,” Higgins stated.

Former commissioner Dave Gilroy opposes the residential component, but not the brewery:

“I wanted OMB and pushed for them to come to our town. But what are you guys doing? To put 700-800 apartments across the street is insane. You need to look at the big picture. We need balance. Enough is enough.”

The long-time commissioner, who lost his bid for re-election in 2019, is running for his old seat again.

Businesses in favor

Some local business owners, including Alex Atkins of Cool Fish in Antiquity, spoke out in favor of the projects. “People come into our restaurant on a Friday evening and see a full crowd. That’s nice, but we need customers mid-day and during the week, too, and these projects will really help.”

Supporters, repeating the message they successfully presented to the Planning Board last week, said the two mixed-use projects would also provide a perfect companion for the Cain Center for the Arts which is under construction just west of the police station.

Antiquity residents, meanwhile, said 87 percent of the residents opposed the projects based on an in-person survey.

In the end, however, the Town Board went along with staff recommendations, which were based on the developers agreeing to a lengthy list of conditions, many of which include enhancements to traffic control in the area.

Concessions noted

For example, Commissioner Denis Bilodeau, who expressed major concerns about the project a few weeks back, voted in favor. “I applaud the concessions made by the developers,” he said.