Matthews residents have sent several emails to public officials recently to oppose connecting neighborhood streets to main thoroughfares, a public records check shows.The changes would open dead-end streets to thru traffic, which residents say will affect their quiet communities.When Mayor Jim Taylor was asked if the opposition highlights the need for town officials to balance resident desires for privacy with the town’s vision for connectivity, he agreed.“It’s a balancing act,” he said. “But I think we need to get over this knee jerk reaction that anything that resembles connectivity is bad.”Most of the road projects are not imminent and some remain suggestions from the transportation board.On July 8, town officials will review a rezoning petition for the former Erickson property.The property was expected to become a full-service retirement community until the economy derailed plans.Located on 83 acres of the former Fincher Farm on McKee Road, it was originally slated to open to retirees in summer 2009. Then the property foreclosed. Land Holding Inc. currently owns it. Developer American Standard Pacific wants to build a single-family neighborhood on the land, with possible road connections to the adjacent St. Andrews Village community. The project is called Haviland Park. St. Andrews Village resident Martha Harris emailed to officials that she and her husband welcome a new neighborhood to the property but did not want “the intrusion” of a connecting road.“Our community is a quiet neighborhood made up primarily of senior citizens,” she wrote. “Most residents live here because of the simplicity and the few obstacles faced while moving in and out of the neighborhood.”In another project that’s expected to go before Matthews officials later this summer, developers hope to construct a neighborhood near the border of Charlotte and Matthews off Reverdy Lane near Providence High School.The possible road connections would give residents more ways to access Highway 51, said Taylor.“The more connections a neighborhood has to the outside world, the less traffic you’re going to have,” he said.Brad Bills, who lives in Reverdy Glen, said his family enjoys the privacy and safety their close-knit neighborhood of roughly 25 homes offers.Connecting subdivisions would disrupt that lifestyle by increasing traffic and safety concerns, he said in an email to officials.Residents in Sardis Forest are so protective of their privacy that many mobilized to protest a project that was barely out of the idea stage.They emailed officials after they heard that the town was exploring creating a connection to Monroe Road off either Wagon Hill or Vaughn Road.In an email dated May 27, resident Ryan Montgomery noted the neighborhood’s existing connections to Sardis Road, Sardis Road North and Monroe Road were sufficient.“I don’t know where the push for these roads is coming from, as no one I know in the neighborhood thinks that we need additional connectivity,” wrote Montgomery. “I hope that these projects will be removed from consideration, as I’m sure there are better uses for our money.”The project was little more than a suggestion by the town transportation board and town officials are not seriously considering it at this time, said Taylor. “It’s a nonstory that really kind of grew legs and starting running all by itself,” he said. Billy Vastis, who lives on Vaughn Road, said he’s glad the project is not likely to advance for several more years, if ever. While he acknowledged the convenience of a connection to Monroe Road, he said it doesn’t make up for the impact it would have on his neighborhood.“What everyone likes about this street is that it’s quiet,” he said. “No one comes back here because they don’t have a reason to come back here.” Taylor said residents living on dead-end streets should not be surprised when developers want to extend the street.Unlike cul-de-sacs where residents have a reasonable expectation that developers won’t tear out a home to build a road, “stub streets” were constructed with future expansion in mind.“If it’s a dead-end street with a sign that says ‘Potential future road connectivity here,’ then I don’t think you have any legitimate argument,” said Taylor. Still, Taylor said residents can take comfort in knowing that any connectivity project that the town reviews will be discussed before approval.“In order for us to move forward with any one of these things, there’s going to be an awful lot of vetting,” he said.
Friday, Jul. 05, 2013
Matthews residents concerned about connecting roads
Want to go? The developer for the former Erickson Property on McKee Road has requested a zoning change to allow for a single-family residential neighborhood. The rezoning hearing will be held at 7 p.m. July 8 at Matthews Town Hall, 232 Matthews Station St.
Arriero: 704-358-5945; On Twitter: @earriero
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