HUNTERSVILLE – Huntersville residents turned out in force at the town board’s Jan. 7 meeting, with most on hand to oppose two proposed residential projects.

Lining the walls in the standing-room-only meeting chamber, and waiting in the lobby for their opportunity to speak, the majority of participants railed against rezonings sought for a revised subdivision plan between McCord Road and N.C. 73 and a residential neighborhood between existing developments in the southwestern part of town.

The result was a nearly five-hour meeting – 23-year Town Clerk Janet Pierson said it was the longest town board session she could remember – featuring two hour-plus hearings highlighted by a chorus of concerns about the impact projects would have on crowded schools, congested roads, community characteristics and quality of life.

The public hearings were a step in the process toward future board rulings on the requests, with no decisions made at the meeting. But commissioners received plenty of input.

Lennar’s latest proposal

After encountering resistance last summer in pursuit of a less-restrictive zoning designation and a 142-home project, Lennar Carolinas amended plans for Northbrook subdivision, asking for 81.6 acres of Corporate Business-zoned property at 11600 Sam Furr Road (N.C. 73) to be rezoned to transitional residential for a 122-home neighborhood. As part of it’s revised request, Lennar wants the property’s highway frontage to remain corporate business.

And while some neighboring property owners supported the new proposal as an acceptable compromise, most who spoke during the public hearing urged commissioners to deny the request.

While repeating concerns about school and traffic issues, several speakers also referenced Planning Director Jack Simoneau’s statement about already approved but yet-to-be-built projects in town that include up to 6,700 residential units.

They said preserving property designated for corporate or commercial use was more important than approving another residential project. They encouraged commissioners to stick with the existing zoning and long-range business-related expectations for the property – factors mentioned in the planning staff’s recommendation to deny the rezoning.

Ed Cecil was the last to speak. He reiterated many of the issues others had mentioned, and summarized the opposition’s view. “This change would have a negative impact,” Cecil said. “Follow the long-term plan.”

No love for Oak Grove

Bowman Development Group’s proposal to rezone 37.9 acres from Rural to Neighborhood Residential for a 129-lot Oak Grove Hill development met unified resistance. The property is near the Beatties Ford Road/Mount Holly-Huntersville Road intersection, bordered by commercial uses along Beatties Ford and long-established, large-lot rural-zoned neighborhoods.

Developer Nate Bowman told commissioners his design met the guidelines of the town’s small-area and future-use plans for the property, but dozens of nearby residents said the project wasn’t a good fit for the area.

At the conclusion of the 80-minute public hearing, Marilyn Wallace summarized their statements: “It’s not compatible with the existing neighborhood,” she said.

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