Neighbors of CrossPointe learned a rare lesson recently: Try hard enough, and you can beat city hall.
The development's 131 townhomes – 57 of them in Cabarrus County – had been targeted by Charlotte to annex into the city limits.
But after a well-orchestrated, two-city protest, Charlotte relented recently and pulled CrossPointe from its crosshairs.
“Bottom line: You can fight city hall and win, at least in an election year,” Bob Helsel, one of the protest's organizers, wrote to residents. “For now, CrossPointe remains an undivided, private community.”
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The development wanted to remain private, arguing that services Charlotte would provide were already in place. Their townhomes would add $105,000 to Charlotte's tax revenues, with little benefit to CrossPointe, they said.
They staged their protest on several fronts. They bombarded elected officials in Charlotte and Concord with a signed petition, letters and e-mails registering their protest. And they showed up in force at an informational meeting last month on the six qualifying areas that city planners are proposing for annexation.
“We asked some pretty hard questions,” Helsel said. “We left no doubts where we stood: We were unhappy by this attempt to involuntarily annex us.”
Their effort was bolstered when Mayor Pat McCrory responded to their letter. He, too, was against crossing county lines to grab land, he wrote. That would require permission from Cabarrus officials.
Pulling CrossPointe doesn't mean Charlotte is finished with northeast Mecklenburg. Planners are proposing to split the section in the Eastfield annexation qualifying area into Eastfield north and south, said Charlotte-Mecklenburg planner Jonathan Wells.
CrossPointe was the bridge, he said. Wells said it was removed “at the direction of City Council.” Some council members had reservations about reaching into another county, and they heard the criticism from residents, he said.
Helsel said he and other CrossPointe residents still plan to attend the Oct. 27 public hearing on the six proposed annexation sites.
“We've won the battle, but not the war, and we're not going to quit,” he said. “We want to make sure we won't end up in the next annexation cycle.”