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Mecklenburg OKs apartment project

CHARLOTTE – The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a rezoning for an apartment and office development near Ballantyne.

The commissioners voted unanimously to follow the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission Zoning Committee’s recommendation that it be approved, despite the planning staff’s recommendation that the request not be approved.

“So you basically at this point have a split decision,” said Commissioner Bill James. “You have staff saying no, and you have the appointed committee saying yes, and the jump ball is ours to call.”

But before James could get a discussion going on the matter, Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour cut him off and made a motion to approve the request.

Southern Apartment Group- Ballantyne LLC requested the rezoning from conditional multifamily residential to neighborhood services on 3.78 acres on the west side of Lancaster Highway between Southcrest Lane and Winghurst Drive, just south of Ballantyne Commons Parkway.

The company’s plans include two office buildings totaling 10,000 square feet and a three-story apartment building with up to 24 units. The office buildings will face Lancaster Highway, and the apartment building will sit behind the office buildings on the back end of the site.

The Zoning Committee recommended the request be approved because Southern Apartment Group’s plans include a variety of uses and are similar to existing residential and commercial developments in the surrounding area.

The planning staff had recommended the request not be approved because it was inconsistent with general development policies, which recommend a maximum density of six dwelling units per acre on properties zoned neighborhood services. Southern Apartment Group’s plans have a density of 10 units per acre.

The only change that Southern Apartment Group made since a public hearing was held by the county commissioners in December was a reduction in the number of parking spaces, to one space for each 350 square feet of office space from one per 300 square feet. Keith MacVean, an attorney with Moore & Van Allen who represented Southern Apartment Group in the rezoning process, told the Zoning Committee in January that the reduction was made to move parking areas further away from the apartment building and to create more green space, according to the Zoning Committee’s report.

In other action, the Board of County Commissioners approved reappointing Michael Higgs to the Davidson Planning Board to represent the extraterritorial jurisdiction, which falls in the county but is regulated by Davidson. His term will run to Dec. 31, 2017.

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