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Cornelius News

Town Board takes citizens’ approach to public comments

Photo by Jason Benavides

Jan. 19. By Dave Vieser. At their first meeting of 2022 last night, the new Cornelius Town Board adopted a number of changes to the manner in which they will conduct public meetings in the future. The changes grew out of concerns voiced by a number of residents over the past several years.

—Previously, public comment/public hearing rules did not limit  how long a zoning applicant may present to the Town Board—some lasting more than an hour. The new rules limit applicant presentations to 10 minutes.

—Comment time per citizen was increased from 3 minutes to 4 minutes.

—The new rules allow that a citizen may yield their comments to another speaker present at the meeting so that one speaker may address the Town Board for up to 8 minutes.

—A designated spokesperson for a group of three or more citizens may be allocated 10 minutes to speak. At least three members of the group must be present and names and addresses of those members present must be submitted to the Town Clerk before the meeting begins.

Noise ordinance updated

Commissioners also unanimously ratified changes to the town’s noise ordinances, bringing the town in line with limits used statewide, according to Deputy Town Manager Wayne Herron.

“By matching everyone else, it sets a standard that has been deemed acceptable by the courts and puts us in uniformity with the remainder of the State,” Herron explained.

The changes lower the accepted noise level from 90 to 85 decibels during normal business hours 10 am to 9 pm Sunday through Thursday and 10am to 11pm Friday and Saturday as well as 75 to 60 decibels in the overnight hours.

The noise issue has been primarily related to live music performed outdoors at BoatYard Lake Norman on Hwy. 21 at Westmoreland. A number of complaints have been leveled by neighbors over the past several years about loud music. Chris Boukedes has taken over management and operation of BoatYard and will be performing approximately $18,000 worth of work to adjust the bass to limit neighborhood impacts.

Hickory Street delay

News that improvements at the Hickory Street/115 intersection will be delayed by one year did not sit well with the Cornelius commissioners Tuesday evening. They plan to launch a letter writing campaign to state officials in an effort to reverse the delay.

“We were not contacted by NCDOT but rather heard about this through members of the Charlotte Regional Planning Transportation (CRPTO) Organization ” said Herron. “This project includes a badly needed traffic signal and was originally slated for completion in 2023.”

Herron said that the word he received was that NCDOT simply doesn’t see any way it can be done that year, so it’s pushed back to 2024.

Mayor Woody Washam agreed that letters should be sent as soon as possible. “Furthermore, we’ll drive out to Raleigh if need be to try and address this.”

New Park commissioners

The board also ratified the appointment or reappointment of four residents to the Town’s Parks and Recreation Commission:

—Travis Dancy to Seat 9 for another two-year term, expiring January 2025. Seat 9 is a standing seat for Visit Lake Norman.

—Chris Kolkhorst to Seat 5 for a second full term, also expiring January 2025. Kolkhorst was also appointed chair, to run concurrently with his reappointment term.

—Jill Rotunda to fill Seat 3 for a full term expiring in January 2025.

—Robert Reed to fill Seat 6 for a partial term, through January 2024.

Scott Higgins recognized for service


The board also recognized the work of former Park chair Scott Higgins as his service on the parks and recreation advisory board comes to an end.

He has served on the Parks & Recreation Commission since 2015, including serving as its Chair since 2017.