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Charlotte City Council Sept. 23

Action Items is a Mecklenburg Times feature about government issues, actions and meetings from around the region

CHARLOTTE – The City Council on Monday took care of two business items that have stirred controversy over the past several months, among other issues.

Council members were obligated to select four members to the newly formed but  yet-to-be empowered Charlotte Douglas International Airport advisory commission, and did so at Monday’s meeting. The council was facing an Oct. 1 deadline on making those appointments.

The Carolina Panthers also got a boost Monday night – following the team’s Sunday afternoon rout of the New York Giants – when council members voted to approve spending $28 million in public funds to help pay for renovations at Bank of America Stadium. The city has faced lawsuits and complaints filed in response to helping the football franchise fund its renovations.

But as controversial as the stadium renovation funding may be, nothing has gotten more attention in Charlotte over the spring and summer than the Airport Advisory Commission. Even with the appointment of the four newest members, it’s far from certain the advisory commission will ever run the airport.

Council unanimously voted Monday to appoint to the commission Pamela Bennett, vice president of finance technology at Bank of America; Anthony Fox, an attorney with Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein; Robert Stolz, former chairman of the N.C. Chamber of Commerce; and Pam Syfert, former Charlotte city manager.

The battle for control of Charlotte Douglas goes back to two bills that passed the N.C. General Assembly last session. Senate Bill 80, which created an airport authority, was passed on July 18. The city filed a temporary restraining order, which was granted, and lawmakers repealed SB 80 but replaced it with SB 380, creating the 13-member Airport Advisory Commission, according to City Attorney Bob Hageman.

Hageman said the city went to court Aug. 1 to fight the advisory commission. Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin granted an injunction, which has prevented the commission from taking control of the airport. The tug of war between the city and the commission has reached the Federal Aviation Administration, where it remains, Hageman said.

As of now, the airport remains under city control but the judge’s injunction didn’t prevent the actual creation of the commission. The city was responsible for providing seven appointments to the commission. The council was responsible for the four approved Monday and Interim Mayor Patsy Kinsey is responsible for three more, which she must provide by Oct. 1.

Panthers renovations

City Council agreed on April 22 to fund renovations at Bank of America Stadium as part of a 10-year partnership with the Panthers, according to city documents. As part of that agreement, the city will provide $75 million to the franchise in three installments. The city will pay $28 million this fiscal year, which was approved Monday; $23.5 million in fiscal 2016; and $23.5 million in fiscal 2018. The city’s $75 million commitment is part of a $112.5 million improvement project.

The current financing will meet the City’s Phase One commitment and provide the funding in time for the improvements to be completed prior to the start of the 2014 National Football League season, according to city documents.

The council vote was unanimous on the funding of this installment of stadium renovations.

Second Harvest partnership

The Council voted unanimously to approve a partnership with the Second Harvest Food Bank to expand their facilities in west Charlotte and to provide more parking for delivery trucks and clients, contingent upon Second Harvest raising the money for the expansion. The city will deed 1.55 acres, appraised at $388,300, to Mecklenburg County, which will then lease the land to Second Harvest to allow for their building expansion. In addition, the city will lease 0.75 acres to Second Harvest for $16,940 per year, for an initial term of 20 years, with four negotiable five-year renewal options. The partnership is also contingent on a rezoning of the land for the expansion.

First Ward Redevelopment Project

The Council also voted unanimously to approve an amendment to an agreement with Levine Properties for the First Ward Redevelopment Project. In July 2009, the Council approved agreements with Levine Properties Inc. and Mecklenburg County that will lead toward redeveloping property in the First Ward.

The original scope of the project, which is expected to generate $700 million of new construction over a 10-year period, included:

  • A mixed-use redevelopment of eight city blocks in First Ward
  • A new 3.2-acre park owned by the County
  • Improvements to Eighth and Brevard Streets
  • 1,335 public parking spaces, including 1,030 spaces for the general public and 305 spaces serving UNCC’s uptown campus
  • Provisions for 10 percent, up to a maximum of 50 units, of the rental residential units to be reserved for 20 years as workforce housing
  • Construction and dedication of a new 10th Street right-of-way.


The Council voted Monday to amend the parking agreement to allow for the reallocation of public parking spaces to a revised parking deck construction plan, and to update the construction’s time frame. The Council also voted to amend the infrastructure agreement to allow for the reallocation of scope and funds between Charlotte Area Transit System and Levine Properties, an exchange of property rights between the city and Levine Properties, an adjustment to the maximum reimbursement amount upon determination of the acquisition cost of an involved parcel, and updated timeframes for construction.


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