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Cornelius News

Town Board delays decision on Classica Homes rezoning

April 19. By Dave Vieser. Following an hour-long public hearing last night, and staring at a possible 2-2 tie vote, Cornelius Mayor Chuck Travis suggested—and the commissioners quickly agreed—to delay a decision on the controversial Classica Homes rezoning request until their next meeting on May 2. Commissioner Dave Gilroy was absent, creating the potential for the tie.

“Since we don’t have all the commissioners here this evening, and it is a decision that’s extremely important for our town and all of you, I’m going to ask that we table this conversation until we have all commissioners present at the next meeting,” the mayor said.

Prior to the Mayor’s comments, Commissioners Miltich and Ross indicated they would vote for the proposal, while Commissioners Duke and Washam said they were leaning towards voting no.

The issue which split the town board as well as town planners is a rezoning request which would permit Classica Homes to build 40 attached, age-restricted single family homes on West Catawba Avenue across from Elevation Church. The rezoning request had already placed the town planning board in the unusual position of rejecting its own staff’s recommendations

“Personally, I think the plan transitions well from the surrounding neighborhoods to the commercial area across the street,” said Commissioner Dr. Mike Miltich. “You have a natural divisional line called West Catawba Avenue. I also think there is a market for this type of project and believe in owners’ rights to do what they can.”

A major corridor

Commissioner Jim Duke took a different approach. “West Catawba Avenue will be Sam Furr Road in five years and the quiet neighborhoods you are now enjoying won’t be very quiet. It’s going to be a major thoroughfare and one of the last places this town could look to develop a commercial base. It is the West Catawba commercial corridor and it’s coming. Still, I got to tell you, I haven’t decided how to vote and I’m
having a hard time.”

Prior to the commissioners’ comments, 12 speakers from a filled meeting room spoke, all in favor of the project. Sentiments expressed by Jennifer Ford, who lives on Chardonnay Court, were representative of the public comments: “My backyard backs up to this property. I think I may be the only one here with small children but we all feel the same way. We absolutely do not want any commercial use going into that space. We support Classica’s proposal and we hope you will, too.”

500 feet from the lake

Land planner Sandy Kerr also spoke on behalf of Classica Homes and the proposal. “Contrary to the staff’s comments, I think it’s entirely consistent with your land use plan. The plan does talk about commercial development, but it’s heavily, heavily predicated on its relationship to water. And at its closest point this property is some 500 feet from the edge of Lake Norman and that’s as the crow flies.”

Whether the unanimous support voiced at the meeting will sway the doubting commissioners will have to wait until May 2.