After a sometimes-heated public debate, the Weddington town council voted 3-1 Tuesday night to approve a mixed-use conditional zoning application that will allow a two-story office building on Providence Road, between Weddington United Methodist Church and Hunter Farms.
The five-acre site at 13700 Providence Road, where an abandoned ranch-style house stands, will become home to a 15,000-square-foot office building that will house the corporate headquarters for Polivka International.
That site is now the only land parcel in Weddington with mixed-use zoning. The only other land in Weddington that is zoned for business is the parcel across the street that contains Weddington Corners Shopping Center and neighboring businesses.
Polivka International specializes in railroad infrastructure and industrial site development and is currently based in Warren, Ohio.
Polivka representative John Temple said the second story would house 9-12 corporate employees, and the first story would be rented office space. He said a number of physicians have contacted the company about leasing space for their offices.
Council members who voted for the zoning change were Daniel Barry, Pamela Hadley, and Barbara Harrison, who made the motion. Councilman Werner Thomisser opposed the zoning. Mayor Walker Davidson did not vote because he votes only when there is a tie, said Weddington Town Clerk Amy McCollum.
A three-quarters majority was required to approve the zoning because of a protest petition that was submitted by former Weddington Mayor Nancy Anderson. She opposed the zoning because of the potential negative impact on her family business, Hunter Farms.
Anderson was one of the 60-plus people who crowded into the town hall to hear the discussion and offer opinions. She asked Polivka to redraw their plans to increase the buffer between the proposed building and her property, and asked the council to postpone their decision until that time.
It was after 9 p.m. when Anderson spoke, and the council debated postponing the public hearing and their vote for a week, two weeks or a month. Temple said he would not be available at the times they proposed, and that delays and changes were costing the company.
At about 10 p.m., after some members of the public had left, the public hearing portion of the meeting began, with about a dozen speakers. The largest group of opponents came from the Steeplechase neighborhood behind the proposed site, though other neighborhoods were also represented.
Polivka International had supporters in the audience too. One of them was Elizabeth Propst, who said her family had owned land in Weddington for 150 years.
“I see so much selfishness in this room it’s pitiful,” she said. “You’re becoming like socialist people, communist people, telling (landowners) what to do.”