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Cornelius developer drops plans for Pender Pointe

CORNELIUS — Pender Pointe makes five.

Cornelius-based McLeod Corp. has called off plans for the Pender Pointe subdivision, according to the Cornelius planning department, in what appears to be the makings of a trend in a town that says it is struggling with being overdeveloped.

Pender Pointe is the fifth residential project proposed for Cornelius that has been either voted down by the town’s Board of Commissioners or canceled by developers in the face of public outcry, ordinance compliance or environmental standards. Meanwhile, a sixth, higher-density development is going forward, despite a unanimous “no’ vote by the town’s planning board.

In an email to the planning department, developer Steve McLeod said looming environment issues caused him to cancel his plans for the nine-lot, 5.39-acre Pender Pointe development on John Connor Road near Lake Norman.

“This is to request that our application be withdrawn due to the conflict on impervious-surface requirements in your ordinance,” McLeod said. Calls and emails from The Mecklenburg Times to the developer and landowner David Austin have gone unanswered.

The cancellation, filed with the town Dec. 3, came just a few days after the town’s Traffic Advisory Board declined to give the thumbs-up or thumbs-down to Pender Pointe, saying they did not have enough information to make a decision.

McLeod was seeking the town’s permission to build a road and abandon the part of John Connor Road that runs through and dead-ends inside the area that Pender Pointe would have occupied.

Other housing-development proposals that have disappeared recently in Cornelius include those for two apartment projects.

In one, the Board of Commissioners voted in November to deny a rezoning request by Cornelius developer Gary Cangelosi for 108 new apartments at Kenton Place, a mixed-use development.

In the other, Charlotte developer B.V. Belk withdrew a rezoning request in late October for the proposed Madison at Lake Norman project, a 284-unit apartment complex, after 90 angry Cornelius residents created an uproar at a community meeting.

In addition to the apartment complexes, plans for two single-family development in Cornelius have been withdrawn by developers recently.

Saying Cornelius’s water-quality standards were too stringent for the project to make financial sense, Cornelius-based Bluestream Partners in November canceled plans for Connor, an eight-lot development on a 2.4-acre sliver on Jetton Peninsula.

Also in November, Charlotte developer Hopper Communities suspended a project for Jetton Cove at Charles Towne Landing, a relatively dense, 50-home development on 5.6 acres.

Bluestream and Hopper could not be reached for comment.

Cornelius planning director Karen Floyd declined to speculate on whether McLeod’s backing away from the Pender Pointe plans or the other recently canceled residential projects represented a trend.

Two other single-family developments are awaiting approval from the town of Cornelius: Bluestream’s Bailey Forest and Columbus, Ohio-based Epcon Communities’ Courtyards at Jetton.

The Courtyards at Jetton proposal, which would be a relatively dense, 28-home, 8.4-acre project aimed at the growing empty-nester market, has already run into opposition from the community and at least one Cornelius elected official.

Even before the Epcon proposal was unveiled at a community meeting Nov. 29, nearby residents had created “Stop” and “Wrong Way for Cornelius” fliers calling for the rejection of Courtyards at Jetton.

At a Transportation Advisory Committee meeting that same night, Commissioner David Gilroy complained that the Epcon proposal “smells like another high-density development that’s way out of whack” with the town’s long-term development strategies.

Last week, the town’s planning board voted against the Bailey Forest project, but developer Jake Palillo, managing principal for Bluestream, said he will modify plans for the project and seek approval for it from the Board of Commissioners.

Tony Brown can be reached at [email protected], (704) 247-2912 or on Twitter at @tonymecktimes.

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