The Cornelius Planning Board voted 5-2 Monday to recommend that the Board of Commissioners approve Classica Homes Inc.’s request to rezone 9 acres on West Catawba Avenue for the development of an age-restricted subdivision.
Classica Homes is seeking to build 40 townhomes on the property, which sits across from Dunmore Drive. Plans call for nearly 1 acre of open space surrounded by 11 triplexes or quadruplexes, each with a separate driveway. The developer has proposed two-car garages and private courtyards for each unit.
The heavily wooded site currently features four single-family residences. It is directly west of Kenton Place apartments, and is flanked by the Tuscany Court and Bordeaux subdivisions.
Prices would start in the $400,000 to $500,000 range, Classica Homes said at a February community meeting. The developer said it planned to begin construction on the project, dubbed West Catawba Retreat, next year.
Rick Jasinski, land manager for Classica Homes, said West Catawba Retreat would be the company’s first age-restricted community. He said Classica Homes opted to build it in Cornelius because “it’s a very good location and the demographics are there to support it.”
The company has nine residential communities in the Charlotte area, with two more under development, Jasinski said.
The town’s planning staff recommended against approving the rezoning to conditional district, saying that the residential component of the project is inconsistent with the town’s land-use plan that calls for commercial development along West Catawba Avenue.
Reached by phone, Planning Board Chair Brian Simmons said he voted against recommending the rezoning for that reason.
He said he had no doubt that the project, if approved by commissioners, would be a “high-quality asset” to the area.
But, he added, the town’s tax base is heavily skewed toward residential development. Simmons said he’d like to see something akin to medical offices at the site that would provide benefits to the community.
“I’m looking for businesses to create jobs and increase our tax base,” he said.
Both Simmons and Keith Pickett, who also voted against the rezoning request, cited concerns about the increased traffic the project might bring.
Classica Homes said West Catawba Retreat is expected to generate 138 daily trips, with eight trips during the morning rush hour and 10 trips during peak afternoon drive times. The developer plans to provide entrance and exit lanes at West Catawba Avenue.
Simmons acknowledged that commercial development would also bring increased traffic, but said such a proposal might require the addition of a traffic light or other types of congestion remediation.
Pickett could not be reached for comment.
The 9 acres on which Classica Homes wants to build is currently zoned general and neighborhood residential.
The Board of Commissioners is slated to vote on the rezoning at its April 18 meeting.