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Cornelius News

Town Board calls time-out on some new projects

Photo by Jason Benavides

Dec. 21. By Dave Yochum. The Town Board voted 5-0 Monday night for a resolution calling for a time-out on multi-family projects and development of land set aside for rural preservation. Additionally, the resolution, which states that traffic congestion in Cornelius is “overwhelming and critical,” calls for a prompt review and revision of the town’s Land Use Plan with particular consideration given to traffic, schools and public safety.

It means a considered cooling-off period for proposed new projects with a high density residential component similar to those approved during the past 18 months.

The resolution says the new board intends to disapprove any conditional zoning applications from this date that include more than ten units for multifamily apartment residential development, mixed-use development and single-family residential development in various areas including rural preservation.

To read the resolution, click here.

Updating overall plan

The resolution also directs town staff to begin a nine- to 12-month study to update the Land Use Plan.

Focusing on the long-term plan, given the limited real estate left, is key.


“This time out is more about making sure we do it right for the next three- to five years while our 13-plus road projects are completed,” said newly elected Commissioner Colin Furcht.

“Looking at the impact holistically is very important to our long-term success. We have to think bigger before we run out of options,” Furcht said.

Developers develop

During the public comment period Larry Shaheen, representing the Real Estate Building Industry Coalition, repeatedly stated he was ready to assist the newly constituted town board toward implementing the resolution.

“Under no circumstance do we wish to be able to have any conversation with you that is not productive,” Shaheen said. “The most important Constitutional right that exists, [is] the right of an individual to do that which they will with their property.”


‘Intense development’

Commissioner Dave Gilroy, who won back his old seat on the Town Board in  November, said there are difficult issues around “intense, large-scale development.”

“We don’t want to get in the way of development that is helpful and contributes…to the distinctiveness of the town,” he said.

Commissioner Denis Bilodeau said the time-out addresses issues raised by citizens over the past 18 months as well as during campaign season. He said the resolution allow flexibility for projects that contribute to downtown redevelopment.

“The priority is improving infrastructure and traffic,” said Bilodeau, the only incumbent commissioner to be re-elected.

A ‘process’ going forward

Gilroy said at the heart of the resolution is a process, which includes updating the land use plan.

Acknowledging Shaheen’s comments and the real estate development interests, Gilroy said: “We don’t want to get in the way of progress, growth or economic development.”

Jobs, housing


Mayor Woody Washam, said the upcoming land use plan review process should be driven by citizen input.

“We have to get it right for the sake of jobs coming to this area and the right kind of housing,” he said.

Balancing the rights of property owners with the desires of a town engaged by traffic and development is what the town board does.

“We want to keep the town nice, fundamentally,” Gilroy said.