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Complex proposed on Endhaven

By Elisabeth Arriero
earriero@charlotteobserver.com

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    The community meeting to discuss the proposed apartments on Endhaven Lane will be from 6 to 7:15 p.m. on Nov. 7 at the British American School of Charlotte, 7000 Endhaven Lane in Charlotte.



Residents will have a chance to weigh in on a proposed 220-unit apartment complex off Endhaven Lane during a community meeting Nov. 7 at the British American School.

Several people from surrounding neighborhoods plan to attend the 6 p.m. meeting to voice their concerns about the project. They’re worried the project will overburden existing traffic conditions and will not blend with the community.

“I’m generally not that opposed to new development but I think it’s important that our concerns are heard,” said Alex Vuchnich, treasurer for the Orchid Hill neighborhood association. “We have valid concerns that need to be addressed.”

Charlotte-based Trotter Builders wants to rezone 11 acres of land near Ballantyne to allow 220 apartment units.

The property, which is near the intersection of Endhaven Lane and Misty Ridge Lane, is currently zoned for 33 single-family homes, which means a zoning change would result in a net increase of 187 units.

Paul Trotter, president of Trotter Builders, said the company wants to build 1- and 2-bedroom apartments, ranging from 900 to1,250 square feet.

Rent would likely range from $900 to $1,400 a month, he said. And units could come with such features as granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

The $30 million project would divide units into two buildings, each of which would be no more than five stories high, he said.

Trotter has said apartments make more sense than single-family homes because of the parcel’s size. He also added that apartments are likely to become more popular with the relocation of MetLife to Ballantyne.

MetLife is expected to bring 1,380 employees to the area.

But residents in nearby communities, including White Oak, Berwick and Orchid Hill, said the density of the project is too much for the two-lane Endhaven Lane.

“There’s already bottlenecking on Endhaven at Elm because people use it as a cut-through so they can bypass Johnston Road,” said Mike Trimnal, president of the Berwick homeowners association. “This is going to create a bigger headache than what we already have.”

Trotter said, given the high volume on the road already, the new apartments won’t likely have that noticeable of an impact.

“There's a whole lot of traffic out there already,” said Trotter. “What this adds to that is not significant when you factor what is already out there.”

Vunchnich also said the proposed five-story height will not blend well the surrounding community, which is mostly 1- and 2-story homes.

“It would be the largest building the area,” he said. “And there wouldn’t really be much of a transition there. It’s going to be a bit of an eye sore.”

Daniel Suster, president with the Orchid Hill neighborhood association, said he is also concerned about the extra burden the development would place on Endhaven Elementary School, which “is already running at max capacity having to use trailer rooms to accommodate students.”

But Trotter said the impact on the schools will likely be less than if the builder had constructed five-bedroom single family homes because there won’t be a lot of children living in 1- and 2- bedroom apartments.

Suster said he’s also concerned about public safety because there would be hundreds of more residents living in close proximity to the school.

In addition, Vuchnich noted that there already are hundreds of residential units approved but not completed in the immediate vicinity.

“I’m just wondering if this development is a little late to the party,” he said. “We might not need all of those additional units.”

Trotter said his company has wanted to apply for the zoning change for a while. But they were waiting for Bissell Development to move forward with its plans to build the North Community House Bridge.

Trotter Builders plans to donate 2 acres to help complete the bridge, which would cross I-485 between Johnston and Rea roads and would include bicycle lanes, two motorist lanes and sidewalks in both directions.

The bridge would connect the north side of North Community House Road with the existing North Community House Road in Ballantyne.

Bissell Development has offered to pay for the bridge through a tax increment financing plan. The city of Charlotte would then refund Bissell using tax value increases that may come to the area as a result of the bridge.

The bridge is still in the design and pricing phase, NC DOT officials have said.

“I think everyone agrees (the bridge) is a good thing that’s happening but there’s some uncertainty about what the traffic impact is going to be,” said Vuchnich. “Couple that with the existing communities and this project and it may be what’s going to push it over in terms of impact on the roadways.”

Still, Trimnal said there may be benefits associated with the proposed apartment complex.

“It’s not all negative as long as it’s done in the right fashion,” he said.

For instance, the community may be able to negotiate with Trotter Builders to get them to widen the street and put in a median, said Trimnal.

“If they’re going to move in, then be a good steward to the community and invest in the community by changing the road so it doesn’t look like a cut-through street and instead looks more like a community street,” said Trimnal.

A public hearing for the zoning petition is set for Dec. 16. Charlotte City Council would likely hear the zoning request during a January meeting, said Trotter.

Trotter hopes to break ground on the apartments by late 2014, with renters moving in during the latter part of 2015.

Arriero: 704-358-5945; Twitter: @earriero
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