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Cornelius News

Zoom, zoom, zoom: Online meeting falls apart

Nov. 19. By Dave Vieser. A virtual community meeting on Palillo Holdings’ plan to build 252 multifamily apartments on the property that encompasses White House Gardens transitioned from a late and unorganized start to a verbal-free-for-all between Palillo and nearby residents.

It began at 5 pm but by 5:25, the meeting descended into a shouting match between the developer and residents.

Town officials had considered having the meeting in person which is the usual procedure, but they decided to try the virtual process due to COVID-19 restrictions.


The Zoom meeting with Palillo, a Cornelius resident, went haywire. Attempts were made to lower the volume, but the lack of personal interaction seemed to doom any real success.

Tony Grisanti, president of the Lake Norman Cove at Jetton HOA, took issue with Palillo’s plan: “No consideration of our residents whatsoever.” Lake Norman Cove resident Bob Kirsch said the Palillo proposal was “outrageous.”

“How in the world are we going to handle the additional traffic,” he said.

Tensions rose when residents Palillo how many cars each apartment would generate. “One and half cars,” he stated, which was followed by a wave of disbelief from residents. “That’s what our studies show,” Palillo said. “One and one half per apartment.”

The site

The site is undeveloped except for White House Gardens and a boat business on Junker Drive, behind the White House Gardens.

According to Planning Director Aaron Tucker, the Town will continue to allow developers to conduct virtual community meetings. Code allows the town to require an additional meeting if the community meeting is insufficient.

Next step in the review process is the first Public Hearing before the Town Board. It is currently scheduled for 6 pm Monday Dec. 7 at Town Hall. This is the same day as a highly controversial hearing is scheduled on a cell tower application in the same area, raising the likelihood that a large crowd at Town Hall could be anticipated that evening. No decision will be made on either proposal on Dec. 7.