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Cornelius News

Town Board will consider fate of Smith mansion Tuesday

Mansion on Smith Circle would be torn down

Jan. 16. By Dave Vieser. A public hearing on rezoning for the Reserve at Smith Circle project highlights the Tuesday Jan. 17 Cornelius Town Board Meeting.


Applicant Steve Terpak is seeking to rezone 3.9 acres on Smith Circle to develop a 12-lot, single-family residential subdivision. The location is near Cornelius Elementary School. All lots will front on a new internal public street and two driveway access points will be located at the west and south Smith Circle frontages.

The property is currently occupied by a stately mansion that was once the home of the Smith family. The density of the project is under four units per acre, which is the recommended limit for that location pursuant to the town Land Development Code. Projected prices for the new homes have risen from the mid-$400,000 range to above $600,000.

Residents not happy

Over a dozen nearby residents, many from the Twin Oaks subdivision and very unhappy attended the Planning Boards December meeting at which the project received a unanimous recommendation from the board members. “The increase in traffic is of serious concern to me,” said Jean Murphy at the meeting. “The new Town Board has talked about controlling new development. I don’t consider this controlling new development.”

Some residents have also expressed concern that little or no attention has been focused on the historical value of the existing home.

There’s no official word from the town’s Historic Preservation Committee on the proposal.

Town staff recommends approval

In an unusual twist this development did not come to the Planning Board in December with a town staff recommendation, as most projects do. The Town Board formed a Growth Management Task Force over a year ago and their recommendations had not yet been formally approved. As a result, town staff planners did not feel it would have been appropriate to provide a recommendation at that time.

However, the documents which accompanied the rezoning request for the January 17 Town Board meeting indicate that town staff now recommends approval as long as certain conditions are met.

The meeting will begin at 6 pm in Town Hall on Catawba Avenue. It will also be live streamed on the town web site: www.Cornelius.org. Link to ‘watch meetings online.’  It is being held one day later than usual due to the MLK Holiday Observance.


3 Responses to “Town Board will consider fate of Smith mansion Tuesday”

  1. So sad that the town doesn’t value or care to honor/remember those who gave so much to the town in its history. First the memorial gardens for my Father and other town leaders. And now my family home. My heart just breaks again.

    Posted by Rosie S. Chapman | January 16, 2023, 7:23 pm
  2. I looked into this, being all for historic preservation and assuming the “mansion” was a Victorian beauty. However, I discovered the “mansion” was built in 1954, and while for that time period it was an impressive 4,400 square feet, it has not been maintained or updated in the years since. It would need to be completely gutted to be habitable. I also understand that because it was built before Smith Circle’s street was installed, the house sits backwards to the street. If the new semi-circle and 12 houses aren’t built here, the house will sit vacant and get even worse, and somebody will snag the property to build apartments or townhouses. I’m guessing that’s why the town staff are approving it—they realized the current plan is the best option they can hope for! Quarter-acre lots are a pretty generous size these days.

    Posted by Nancy Brand Patel | January 17, 2023, 8:25 am
  3. Time to see if the board will honor their promise to the citizens of Cornelius.

    Posted by Justin B | January 17, 2023, 11:02 am

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