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SouthPark residents upset over proposed hotel

Greensboro-based CN Hotels needs rezoning to build 5-story project

Greensboro-based CN Hotels might win a rezoning request to build a hotel in SouthPark. But it won’t be winning over some residents.

CN’s proposed hotel has ticked off residents, who say it will be too tall, encourage too much commercial development in their neighborhood and be too dense of a development for a residential area.

The company is waiting to see whether the Charlotte City Council will grant it the rezoning from R-3 residential to a mixed-use development district. That vote is expected to take place June 18.

If it were up to some residents, though, the rezoning for the 0.65 acres at 6026 Park South Drive site would be denied.

SouthPark residents opposed to a hotel proposed by Greensboro-based CN Hotels attend a rezoning meeting May 14, 2012. Photo by Scott Baughman

At a rezoning meeting Monday, about 20 disapproving SouthPark residents held yellow-and-red signs opposing the hotel.

“The information provided on site plans (for the hotel) has been misleading,” resident Matt Turner said. “We submitted written questions at a community meeting with the developers in April and we have yet to get answers, leading us to think that April meeting was just for show.”

CN is proposing to build a five-story, 55,100-square-foot, roughly 125-room hotel.

At Monday night’s meeting, Chris Adams, regional director of operations for CN, complained about the current zoning.

“This land being zoned residential has made it difficult for the landowner to develop,” Adams said. “It is very unlikely that someone will come along and buy this land to build a house.”

The site is between two assisted-living facilities: The Ivey to the south and Brighton Gardens to the north. Two single-family homes border the site to the west.

The site is considered to be part of the Old Closeburn and Glenkirk neighborhoods.

Turner cited the South District Plan, which the city adopted in 1993, as he expressed concerns about the project.

“That plan says that pressure to bring in more commercial development in the area should be resisted,” he said, showing a PowerPoint that supposedly quotes from the plan.

“Site plans should include any measures necessary to protect the Closeburn/Glenkirk neighborhood,” according to the slide.

CN spokesman H.K. Patel came to the defense of his company, telling council members that CN is sensitive to neighbors’ concerns. The company has agreed to put a retention pond underground and build a wall around the area where the hotel’s garbage would be kept, he said. The wall is also supposed to block headlights from vehicles in the hotel’s parking lot.

Some council members don’t like the idea that building the retention bond underground might require blasting.

“It is my hope that if there is any blasting necessary for the underground retention pond that there is very little rock, because the last thing any resident wants is a broken foundation,” Councilman Patrick Cannon said.

He was not the only councilman alarmed by the idea of blasting. Councilman Michael Barnes said he worried about blasting harming nearby homes. Councilman Andy Dulin, who said he appreciated that CN wanted to make an investment in the area, added, “I just don’t feel good about this.”

Getting a rezoning is just one of CN’s challenges. Patel said the company doesn’t even have a hotel deal yet, although he added that CN has been in talks with the likes of Hilton, IHG and Marriott.

After the hearing, Patel and Adams seemed unfazed by the opposition and concerns.

“This is just one of those bumps in the road that you sometimes hit with these projects,” Patel said. “We will press on.”

His prediction: CN will win the rezoning.

Baughman can be reached at scott.baughman@mecktimes.com.

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