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Town Board lifts hold on residential zoning

Photo by Jason Benavides

May 2. Dave Vieser. The Cornelius Town Board unanimously approved recommended Land Use Plan changes submitted by the Growth Management Task Force (GMTF). At the same time, the board lifted a hold on residential zoning which had been in effect for 16 months.

“The focus here is to allow good business projects and not focus on any more residential,” said Commissioner Colin Furcht. “This has been a challenge for not just Cornelius but every Town in our area. The bottom line is that the right projects should be considered and this plan gives us that opportunity.”

The Cornelius Town Board formed the growth management task force in December 2021 after growth and infrastructure became the deciding factor in the 2021 municipal elections. Four out of five commissioners were voted out during the November elections.

The Land Use Plan is a document designed to guide future development in Cornelius. It presents a vision for the future, with long-range goals and objectives, and includes guidance on how to make decisions on land development proposals and sets the stage for how the Town will grow.

Even though the commissioners all voted in favor of the changes, there was some opposition voiced through the many months of hearings and public comment. For example, Larry Shaheen, who represents REBIC, the Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition (REBIC), an organization of trade associations and private firms, said “we have to oppose” these proposals.

He said the suggested changes to height and density will restrict opportunities for families and businesses to locate in Cornelius.

However, Gary Taylor, president of the Villages at Harborside HOA commended the proposal. “I think that this plan is a good plan. If you don’t have a plan in place like this, you are going to be in trouble.”

Unanimous vote

When it came time to vote, the measure was approved 5-0.

In other action, the commissioners approved an increase in storm water rates. The proposal must still be adopted by the County Board of Commissioners so it can go into effect on July 1. These increases will allow the town’s stormwater expenses to be fully covered by the stormwater fee, which covers such costs as the maintenance of stormwater pipes and ditches.