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Cornelius News

What happens when a buffer consisting of trees is cut down during site preparation?

Aug. 22. By Dave Vieser. It’s been a tough run for David Van Epps of Davidson, who has been seeking to expand his previously approved luxury car club project in Cornelius on the west side of interstate 77. Van Epps had retained Metrolina Builders to prepare the 6.7 acre wooded vacant site at 20410 Chartown Road for buildings, but then sought to add one more building.

However, before he could secure rezoning approval from the town, a 15 foot to 20 foot swath of trees 160 feet long was erroneously cut down in the northwest corner of the site.

“The buffer disturbance occurred in May and is part of brush and trees 80′ wide by 540′ along the western property boundary,” said Senior Town Planner Aaron Tucker. “It occurred as the land was being graded for the five-building plan.”


Van Epps

Van Epps had approvals to build The Werks, luxury garage condominiums which would give auto enthusiasts a place to not only store their prized possessions, but to gather and entertain as well.

Plans include an 1,800-square-foot clubhouse.


When a buffer disturbance occurs, the Town Code requires the developer to submit a re-planting plan to the Town staff for review and approval according to Tucker.

“The developer has worked with us since first learning about this disturbance to establish the best species of vegetation possible for the area based on the low sunlight and soil conditions.”

The issue came up during the Aug. 14 Planning Board Meeting, and while the board recommended approval for the expanded project to the Town Board, they also asked Van Epps to keep his neighbors to the west apprised of what they are doing to address the situation where the buffer was disturbed.

“I feel terrible about this and we’re going to make it right” said Van Epps. “We want our neighbors to be completely satisfied.”