Endhaven Lane developer, residents resolve issues
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Friday, Mar. 07, 2014

Endhaven Lane developer, residents resolve issues

Developer Paul Trotter appears to have avoided a protest petition against his proposed Endhaven Lane apartments after asking the Charlotte City Council last month to defer its decision until March.

During that month’s deferment, a key property owner withdrew her name from the protest petition, making it insufficient and invalid.

The council had expected to vote on the zoning application for the 11 acres of land near Ballantyne at its Feb. 17 meeting; the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Zoning Committee already had voted 5-2 Feb. 4 to recommend approval of the apartment complex. Committee members Tom Low and Karen Labovitz opposed the recommendation.

Charlotte-based Trotter Builders wants to rezone the land 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 no more than five stories tall, Trotter, the president of Trotter Builders, has said.

But after Trotter filed the application in September, nearby residents off Endhaven Lane started preparing a protest petition to stop the development, saying the density of the project is too much for the two-lane Endhaven Lane, especially given other projects in the area.

When a zoning application has a correlating protest petition, a super majority – nine of the 11 council member votes – is required to pass the project. For typical zoning applications without a protest petition, only six votes are needed.

In mid-February, Trotter requested the project be deferred to March so “he could work out some site issues,” said city planner Solomon Fortune.

On Feb. 17, a key adjacent property owner who had signed the protest petition requested her name be removed. Shirley James owns property at 6922 Endhaven Lane.

“I decided that if it’s going to hold back progress, not to do it,” James said.

According to city ordinance, a protest petition is valid if owners of 5 percent of the total land area within 100 feet of the zoning area sign it. Without James’ signature, that protest petition fell below the 5 percent mark, Fortune said.

James isn’t the only nearby resident who has opted to support the project after initially protesting. Many residents have praised the developer for listening to concerns and providing concessions over the last few months.

Todd Wilson, a resident in the nearby Berwick community, said the neighborhood now supports the project after the developer agreed to add an entrance near Endhaven Lane and what will be North Community House Road.

“What we were really asking for is to help create more of a sense that you’re coming into a community area, with family and kids,” Wilson said. Trotter “has been very agreeable. We’re not against the growth, in fact, we want to welcome them to the community. We just wanted him and other developers to be a part of the community,” said Wilson.

Trotter has 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.

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

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

The zoning petition will go before the City Council on March 17 for a decision, Fortune said.

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

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