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Cornelius News

Town clarifies purpose of Alexander Farm meeting tonight

Alexander Farm property at Westmoreland and Catawba

June 29. By Dave Vieser. The Alexander Farm item listed on Monday’s Planning Board agenda for “consideration of approval” is actually only an information presentation. No vote or decision will be taken tonight.

“The applicant requested an information session to update the Planning Board on what they have submitted for review, which is their prerogative,” said Deputy Town Manager Wayne Herron. “However the application is not ready for formal consideration since our staff just received the current site plan and Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) about 10 days ago.”

When asked why it was listed as “consideration for approval,” Herron said: “Good question.” The highly visible Alexander Farm is one of the last large development parcels in Cornelius. It was actively farmed until 2013 by the late Eugene Alexander, a graduate of the old Cornelius High School. He died New Years Day 2014 at the age of 96.

It has been in the pre-development phase for almost a year. Initial plans for a $110 million mixed-use project were presented to the public last August.

Herron said any presentation to the Planning Board is considered a part of the approval process and starts a clock ticking on that particular plan. “The town code gives the Planning Board 60 days to send a recommendation, so by the applicant choosing to present information on June 29th, the Planning Board will be required to forward a recommendation to the Town Board by Aug. 29th.”

Moreover, while tonight’s meeting is an in-person session, there will be little room for residents to attend. “This will be an in-person regular meeting” said Planning Director Aaron Tucker. “We will operate in a similar nature to the last in-person Town Board meeting, allowing only persons interested in a particular case in the assembly room as we move through agenda items.”

The suggested alternative for residents is to watch the meeting live on the town’s web site www.cornelius.org.
Plans for the site have already been through significant changes since the original proposal.

The developer reduced the number of detached single-family homes to 77, as well as eliminating age limits for buyers. There is also a likelihood that a pharmacy and food drive-through facility included in the original plan’s retail section will be dropped. A multi-story senior residence facility remains in the plan as well as retail along the West Catawba Avenue side.

Eliminating the private home age limit opens up the buyers to more families with school-aged children—and more potential local traffic issues.

The developer has also stated that they would donate land for a fire station.

The Planning Board meeting begins at 6:30 pm Monday at Town Hall on Catawba Avenue.