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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.