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Cornelius News

Town board splits 3-2 on approach to development on W. Catawba

Sept. 21. By Dave Vieser. Amendments to the town’s Land Use Plan barely passed at Monday’s Town Board Meeting with a 3-2 split among Cornelius commissioners.

The specific item under consideration, which passed by a 3-2 margin, would permit consideration of buildings with a height of between 26 feet and 42 feet on a portion of the West Catawba Avenue corridor between Jetton Road and Edinburgh Square, but commissioners Jim Duke and Denis Bilodeau strongly opposed the change.

The difference of opinion relates, in part, to the Town Board’s approval of an apartment complex on Junker Drive earlier this year. Bilodeau, in particular, was not happy with last-minute changes in that project given to the board and he voted against it. He said the public should have been given a chance to review and comment.

Last night’s vote


“This change sends the wrong message to potential developers,” said Bilodeau. “The revised plan allows three- and four-story apartment buildings on West Catawba Avenue in an area with no short-term—within five years—road improvements.”

Duke was even more terse. “This is a matter of some commissioners being tone deaf when it comes to listening to constituents,” he said after the meeting.

Bilodeau suggested a simple note to be included in the policy that would send a message to developers that West Catawba is principally a commercial corridor.


He asked: “How is it that we believe this to be true, but we won’t put this minor adjustment into the language of a policy?”


The Land Use Plan is the town’s policy used to guide developers and citizens as to what can be requested in a Conditional Rezoning Request.

The Planning Board had unanimously recommended the changes, and the other three commissioners, Michael Miltich, Thurman Ross and Tricia Sisson, concurred.


Another approach

“I would prefer that we address this during the conditional zoning process,” said Sisson before the vote.