Proposed Endhaven Lane apartments moves to Charlotte City Council
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Friday, Feb. 07, 2014

Proposed Endhaven Lane apartments moves to Charlotte City Council

To the dismay of nearby residents, a proposed apartment complex is one step closer to construction after an advisory board recommended the Charlotte City Council approve its zoning.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Zoning Committee voted 5-2 on Feb. 4 to recommend approval of a proposed 200-unit apartment complex off Endhaven Lane. Members Tom Low and Karen Labovitz opposed the recommendation.

“I asked some questions about the project that had to do with context sensitivity, which basically means, is it a good scale and does it complement the surrounding area?” said Low. “When you have five-story buildings right next door to one-story houses, that’s a very abrupt transition.”

Charlotte-based Trotter Builders wants to rezone 11 acres of land near Ballantyne to allow 200 apartment units.

The property, near the intersection of Endhaven and Misty Ridge lanes, is zoned for 33 single-family homes; a zoning change would result in a net increase of 167 units.

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

“We certainly were pleased,” Trotter said of the zoning committee’s decision. “We think it’s a confirmation that we’re building a quality community in a good location.”

Trotter has said apartments make more sense than single-family homes because of the parcel’s size. He also said 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. Plus, Trotter said, other office buildings are expected to be constructed in the area in coming years.

“It will give people the ability to get where they need to go without resorting to long car trips,” he said.

Residents in nearby communities, including White Oak, Berwick and Orchid Hill, said they’re determined to continue fighting the development, saying that the density of the project is too much for the two-lane Endhaven Lane, especially given other projects in the area.

“The greater concern is not just the one or two individual projects that have been approved for our area, but the combination of all the projects as a whole and the total traffic increase that will be put on our roads,” said Mike Trimnal, president of the Berwick homeowners association.

Still, Trimnal gave credit to Trotter because he “listened to our concerns and worked with us to make positive changes to his original plan”

Trotter said that since Trotter Builders filed the zoning petition in fall 2013, the company has compromised with residents on a number of development aspects. He said the company moved the building closest to Endhaven Elementary School farther away and reduced the height of that building from five to four stories.

The company agreed to install an additional 800 feet of decorative metal fencing along the side of the property by the school. It also committed to preserving a minimum 25-foot buffer between the school and apartments.

“It will be a nice buffer to the schools and frankly, toward the neighborhoods further down the road, as well,” said Trotter.

Trotter said that since applying for the zoning change, the company has reduced the number of apartments from 220 to 200.

But residents want more. Alex Vuchnich, treasurer for the Orchid Hill neighborhood association, said he would like to see the scale of the building reduced. While he’s not opposed to the use, he said, he thinks the density is too high.

“The city is desiring more housing options, but whether they do 100 units or 200, either one provides more housing options,” he said. “Right now, it’s going to be too much for the area to handle.”

Trotter said the company wants to build one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging from 900 to 1,250 square feet.

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

“We are continuing discussions with our neighbors, and we certainly want them to understand our commitment to the area,” said Trotter.

The rezoning petition will go before the City Council on Feb. 17 for a decision, said city planner Solomon Fortune.

Arriero: 704-804-2637; Twitter: @earriero

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