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Cornelius News

W. Catawba project: How best to meet, discuss?

Nov. 9. By Dave Vieser. A virtual community meeting designed to provide information for residents on a proposed mixed-use project in Cornelius is being reconsidered by town officials after concerns about the format were brought up by Town Commissioner Jim Duke.

The project under review is an application from Palillo Holdings LLC to build 252 multi-family units and approximately 5,000 square feet of retail/commercial on the west side of West Catawba Avenue between Harbor View Drive and Junker Drive.

“Zoom is a poor substitute for in person meetings,” said Commissioner Jim Duke. “We need to wean ourselves from this nightmare of communicating.”


The Zoom meeting is currently scheduled for 5 pm Wednesday Nov. 18.

What are community meetings?

Community meetings are part of the review and information process required by the town for rezoning projects. Usually the meetings are held at Town Hall or a similar large venue, and they traditionally attract many residents who speak directly with developers and review maps and tentative site plans for the proposal.

However, due to the ongoing restrictions generated by the Pandemic, this meeting was initially arranged as a virtual meeting. Scheduling of the community meeting was made known through post cards sent out by the town’s Planning Department the week of Nov. 2.

Project details

As for the project itself, it would occupy about 12.2 acres of mostly vacant land adjacent to the Wherena Marina. Concerns were raised back in July when builder Jake Palillo presented his plans to the towns Pre Development Review Committee.

“This may not work right now, but it sure could generate a healthy discussion among our planning board members and commissioners,” Mayor Woody Washam said.

Palillo’s theory is that people are not looking for large homes anymore but rather smaller units with less worries about upkeep and maintenance.

In addition to the 252 units, Palillo plans to set aside about 5,000 square feet for commercial use, including a restaurant.


The residential units would be contained in three separate multi-story structures set back from West Catawba and built so that they surround and open up into an interior courtyard in the middle of the complex. Two retail/commercial buildings would be closer to and face onto West Catawba.

Reached by Cornelius Today over the weekend, Planning Director Aaron Tucker said he was going to discuss the meeting format with staff. One question under consideration is whether the town has the authority to insist such a meeting be held in person rather than via a virtual format.


11 Responses to “W. Catawba project: How best to meet, discuss?”

  1. Zoom works fine. Everyone hears well and communication is clear. It’s s also safer for all.

    Posted by Tony Moreau | November 9, 2020, 1:10 pm
  2. That should add nicely to the traffic congestion on W. Catawba.
    Do we have to develope every vacant space in the town?

    Posted by James Simpson | November 9, 2020, 1:17 pm
  3. This and other projects sound good, and I would like to see them come to fruition. However, before any of these projects take place, the roads need to be expanded and improved.

    Posted by GJ | November 9, 2020, 3:39 pm
    • i agree even if Cornelius residents have to pay for state road infrastructure . its the states Responsibility, but if they fail , do we just pile in development hoping that they will catch up ? its highly unlikely given their track record, and the fact that they are pushing out every project locally right now

      Posted by Brett | November 10, 2020, 10:36 am
      • God Forbid? Let’s all agree that we need a 5 or 10 cent gas tax increase. And not some insane fix like we now have on i77.
        I’m tired of planning my day around traffic. Roads should serve me.

        Posted by frank a sayre | November 11, 2020, 8:19 am
  4. Set the standards and expect the developer to comply. Trust & verify.
    If we keep moving the goal line, we can’t expect investment to meet/exceed standards if they always move.
    Traffic; roads are designed/built with peek in mind. Psychology tells us that when roads are first built we all are mesmerized by the ease of travel when less than peek capacity is at play; then, as the road reaches peek usage over time everyone believes the traffic is “ worse “ which, is an illusion as we expect the roadway to be as “ clean/ efficient” as day one.
    Plan/design for peek and then plan, design for relief in the travel corridor.
    No Town/City can build out with roads running at less than 50%.
    In my humble experience.

    Posted by Chris Clifton | November 10, 2020, 11:21 am
  5. Cornelius does not need more hhigh density housing. This will benefit the greedy developers and lleave the community with a ttraffic nightmare and lowered property values

    Posted by Concerned Cornelian | November 14, 2020, 10:08 am
  6. Before any further development, especially one with 252 units, we need to expand Catawba to handle the deluge of more cars. With that not being contemplated before 2025, we need a moratorium on all new construction.
    Traffic here is already unbearable.

    Posted by robert kirsch | November 15, 2020, 8:08 pm
    • Agree 100% … with 252 units that’s probably like 500 more autos going out in the am and returning pm or an additional 1,000 autos per day … not to mention the commercial traffic. Plus there is already a stop light just a block away that constantly gets backed up!

      Posted by W Marc Jordan | November 16, 2020, 3:34 pm

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