FROM STAFF REPORTS
Mooresville town commissioners on Tuesday delayed a decision on a developer’s request to rezone 96.8 acres off Transco Road for a project that includes hundreds of multi-family residential units.
Four commissioners appeared poised to vote against the rezoning request, citing the N.C. Department of Transportation’s failure to provide adequate roads that can handle recent and future growth and delays in the planned East-West Connector.
“NCDOT is failing us and failing you all as developers – and the six of us are left holding the bag,” Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Qualls said during the board’s discussion of the project.
LIV Development’s proposal includes 579 multi-family units, a lakefront restaurant, 100-foot lake buffer and several kayak/canoe launch areas.
The Birmingham, Ala.-based developer is planning to invest $8 million to construct a 3,000-foot road extension and another $3.25 million to build a 1.45-mile public greenway along the lake, and donate 14 acres to the town for a public park. The value of the land donation was estimated at $2 million by the developer.
The board was impressed by the quality of the development, but commissioners could not see past the potential impact on roads.
Commissioner Eddie Dingler said construction of the multimillion dollar road inside the development would do nothing to help ease traffic on nearby Highway 115. A traffic study recommended only the construction of a turn lane as a mitigation for increased traffic caused by the development.
“Where’s the win for Mooresville?” Dingler asked.
Qualls said she could not look voters and taxpayers in the eye and justify a vote supporting this project at this time.
“I can’t get on board – not yet,” she said. “What we hear every day is, ‘We’re full. Mooresville is full.‘ ”
Commissioners Gary West and Tommy DeWeese also said they could not support the rezoning request until traffic and infrastructure concerns are addressed.
Commissioner Bobby Compton, who planned to vote for the conditional rezoning, said if the board denied the rezoning it would hinder efforts to develop the nearby tech park.
Representatives of Lowe’s and Corvid Technologies, which have campuses nearby, have expressed support for the development, saying the planned housing and amenities would help recruit and retain their workforce, according to the developer.
Commissioner Thurman Houston also expressed support for the project, saying the park, greenway and public lake access were all needed and would benefit all town residents.
Town staff and the planning board recommended approval of the developer’s conditional rezoning request.
But the majority of speakers during the public hearing asked the town commissioners to turn down the request, citing environmental concerns, traffic congestion, and a lack of affordable housing in the proposed development.
After Houston’s motion to approve the request was seconded by Compton, Mayor Miles Atkins asked Houston to withdraw his request in order to give town staff time to continue working on issues related to the construction of the East-West Connector. The major issue is that Norfolk Southern has not signed an agreement to allow the East-West Connector to cross its tracks for the project.
After Houston reluctantly agreed to withdraw his motion, commissioners agreed to delay a decision until April 3.