CHARLOTTE — The City Council on Monday denied a rezoning petition for a large mixed-use project in the Cherry neighborhood and deferred a decision on a smaller single-family residential development in Plaza Midwood.
But the council approved several projects at its zoning meeting, including planned condos in Dilworth and multifamily and mixed-use ventures in NoDa. Council members also held a second public hearing on a proposed redevelopment of the historic VanLandingham Estate.
The council denied Midtown Area Partners II’s petition to build a mixed-use project in the Cherry neighborhood, with District 1 Democrat Patsy Kinsey, who represents the area, saying it failed to comply with the city’s Midtown Morehead Cherry Area plan. Others on the 11-member council voting against the proposal were Democrats Al Austin of District 2, LaWana Mayfield of District 3, Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes, and Councilwoman At Large Claire Fallon.
Until this year, state law required that three-quarters of the council approve a rezoning petition when there is sufficient opposition to the proposal.
But that changed last month when Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law a measure eliminating area residents’ ability to file protest petitions and force a supermajority of affirmative votes for rezoning approval. The law applies to petitions filed Aug. 1 or later.
Midtown Area Partners filed its original rezoning request in the summer of 2014.
Midtown Area Partners, an affiliate of developer Roy Goode, had sought to construct a 106-foot-tall, 275,000-square-foot building for possible office, retail, residential and hotel use; a 220,000-square-foot parking structure; up to eight townhomes; and up to 7,000 square feet of street-level commercial space on nearly 2 acres at the northeast corner of Baxter Street and South Kings Drive. The partially vacant site is currently used for parking.
Kinsey said she would not support the developer’s rezoning petition because the proposal for the site deviated from the area plan in regard to setbacks, height, streetscapes, and residential density. Additionally, a parking structure would have encroached onto a portion of the area recommended for residential use.
The council deferred a decision on Robert Drakeford’s petition to rezone slightly more than an acre in Plaza Midwood for the development of 12 single-family homes near St. Julien Street and McClintock Road. Again, Kinsey voiced concerns about the amount of homes intended for the small plot.
Calling the plan out of scale with the neighborhood, she said two-story homes would not be consistent with the other residences in the area and that the “density doesn’t fit in.” Mayor Dan Clodfelter added that he thought such a development would raise property values to inordinately high levels.
However, the council could not agree on a plan consistency statement, which is required by state law. Such statements describe why the council’s decision did or didn’t adhere to a comprehensive plan and explain why the decision was reasonable. The council is slated to decide on the rezoning request at its Sept. 28 meeting.
Selwyn Property Group, meanwhile, won approval to build eight attached condominiums on 0.4 acres at the southwest corner of Kenilworth Avenue and Pierce Street. At-large Councilwoman Vi Lyles cast the sole vote against the project, saying that such multifamily projects were eroding inner-city residential neighborhoods.
The land is currently occupied by two single-family houses. According to site plans, the developer would add a three-story building facing Kenilworth Avenue, with surface parking to the rear of the property. Selwyn Property Group requested a rezoning to urban residential with conditional provisions from multifamily residential allowing up to 22 dwelling units per acre.
In other developments, the council unanimously approved Wellmon Family’s rezoning request to develop 9 acres with “transit supportive uses” on the west side of North Davidson Street in an area bounded by North Brevard Street, Charles and Matheson avenues, and Jordan Place. The property is near the Lynx Blue Line Extension project, which will extend from Ninth Street in the center city through the North Davidson and University areas to UNC Charlotte. The line is slated to begin operating in 2017.
A warehouse is currently on the otherwise vacant 9 acres.
Wellmon requested a rezoning to mixed-use transit-oriented development with conditional provisions from general industrial. Transit-oriented mixed-use zoning supports a blend of high-density residential, office, civic entertainment and institutional uses, as well as a limited amount of retail in a pedestrian-friendly area.
Council members were also cohesive in their unanimous approval of the YMCA of Greater Charlotte’s plans to expand its uptown facility at 400 E. Morehead St. with more parking and indoor recreation space. The Dowd YMCA wants to build a structured parking deck along South Boulevard and boost square footage with an addition to the front of its existing building facing East Morehead Street.
According to site plans, building height would be limited to 90 feet. The YMCA requested a rezoning of the 4.4-acre property to mixed-use development district with optional provisions from neighborhood business district.
The council also gave a nod to Southern Apartment Group’s petition to build a transit-oriented residential and mixed-used development in NoDa at 27th Street between North Davidson Street and Yadkin Avenue. The company wants to build up to 250 apartments and structured parking and renovate a 1920’s-era warehouse on 3.6 acres. The maximum height of the buildings will be 60 feet.
The property had been zoned mixed-use development district with optional provisions, allowing Southern Apartment to build 210 apartments and 40,000 square feet of retail. The company sought to reduce the retail space to about 25,000 square feet in exchange for the additional apartments.
Also in NoDa, the council unanimously approved Deborah Beatty and Gary Boger Jr.’s plan to redevelop an apartment complex on the south side of East 36th Street between Wesley Avenue and Holt Street. The 1.3-acre property currently has five apartment buildings with a total of 27 units. The developers want to construct two buildings with a total of 51 units at the site. The buildings would not exceed three stories, or 40 feet in height. The petition sought a rezoning to urban residential with conditional provisions from multifamily residential allowing up to 22 units per acre.
And the council gave a nod to Charles Shelton Jr.’s plans to subdivide more than 14 vacant acres in north Charlotte into 71 single-family lots. The tract is on the east side of Reames Road between Bella Vista Court and Lawnmeadow Drive.
Shelton sought a rezoning to single-family residential with conditional provisions from urban residential with conditional provisions.
Council members opted to defer a separate residential project planned for south of the city after finding they did not have the most updated site plans readily available. Charlotte Parker and Marion McGaha, owners of nearly 2 acres on the south side of Fairview Road between Park and Closeburn roads, want to rezone the land to conditional urban residential for the accommodation of 18 attached townhomes. The council will review the proposed rezoning at its meeting Sept. 28. The property is currently zoned single-family residential.
The City Council also held a new public hearing on Unique Southern Estates’ petition to rezone the historic VanLandingham Estate. In July the city staff recommended the company’s request go before a new public hearing because of changes in the developer’s plans, under which Unique Southern Estates sought to rezone 4.5 acres to build up to 18 townhomes and a private, members-only swimming pool and club.
The 101-year-old Harwood House, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, would continue to be used as a hotel and special events center. In addition to the VanLandingham Estate Inn & Conference Center at The Plaza and Belvedere Avenue, Unique Southern Estates owns The Morehead Inn in Dilworth.
Recent changes to the site plan include relocating the neighborhood pool away from existing homes along Belvedere Avenue to a location on The Plaza, increasing the distance to the closest single-family home to 200 feet from 100 feet. Revisions also would allow on-street parking only on the north side of Belvedere Avenue to ensure two-way traffic at all times and limit the height of the townhomes to 35 feet.
Phillip Gussman, president of the Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association, said the developer had worked with the community to resolve outstanding issues and that the project would be “a huge step for the families of Plaza Midwood.”
Billy Maddalon, the owner of the property, told council members the project has been in the works for five years. “We have run the gauntlet nobody wants to run,” in gaining community support, he said. The estate is too expensive to run in its current state, he said.
“It is an unsustainable business as is,” Maddalon said. “It will go away if we don’t change it in a correct way.”
But that wasn’t enough for opponents, with neighbor Cecil Krimminger saying townhomes were inconsistent with surrounding residences and that potential traffic and parking problems remain. He said the site would become “too busy for its own good.”
The current zoning is single-family residential and general business conditional use with a historic district overlay. The requested zoning is optional mixed-use development district with a historic district overlay.
In addition, City Council members heard from speakers in favor of Crescent Communities’ petition to rezone 72 acres south of Interstate 485 for a mixed-use development that would bring even more housing and retail to a stretch of Providence Road in southeast Charlotte.
Crescent’s site plans call for up to 600 residences, some 30,000 square feet of office and retail space, and a hotel with up to 180 rooms. The housing component calls for single-family and multifamily units.
The site is slightly north of a 90-acre project at Providence and Ardrey Kell roads currently under construction by Childress Klein and Crosland Southeast. That development, Waverly, will include two office buildings, about 375 upscale apartments that will go by Solis Waverly, 150 single-family homes and a total of 250,000 square feet of retail space. A 40,000-square-foot Whole Foods is scheduled to open at the site in mid-2016. Meanwhile, Lincoln Harris plans to build up to 1,000 homes, restaurants and other commercial uses on the former Charlotte Golf Links property on Providence Road, directly across from the Waverly project.
Crescent is seeking a rezoning to mixed-use development district with optional provisions from single-family residential with up to three dwelling units per acre. The city planning staff does not recommend approval of the petition, citing environmental, design and pedestrian-friendly issues.
Jeff Brown, a member of Moore and Van Allen’s real estate group working on behalf of Crescent Communities, said the developer had reduced the project’s density and had committed to tree-save areas. He said the company looked forward to resolving outstanding issues.