Should south Charlotte have a building moratorium until infrastructure catches up enough to handle traffic?
At a meeting of the Ballantyne Breakfast Club on Saturday, about half a dozen people raised their hands in support of the concept. (Don’t worry, development fans, that’s not going to happen.) The civic forum convened by Ray Eschert (the “unelected mayor of Ballantyne,” as City Council member Ed Driggs said) brought together residents to discuss their concerns with the developers behind some of south Charlotte’s biggest projects.
While nobody is seriously trying to stop or even slow development along the city’s southern edge, it was clear that some people are uncomfortable with the idea of more traffic and more people in a corridor that’s often already congested. Just south of Interstate 485, Lincoln Harris is building a 194-acre mixed-use project in place of the former Charlotte Golf Links course, while across the street, Childress Klein and Crosland Southeast are building a 90-acre mixed-use development called Waverly.
Both will bring hundreds of new residences, stores and office buildings. People at the meeting raised concerns about crowded schools, bike lanes and public transit, but roads were clearly the biggest issue on many minds. Roads such as Providence and Ardrey Kell were mentioned as potentially susceptible to more congestion, and people wondered when they’ll be widened or alternate routes created.
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Even though most people at the meeting seemed to favor the new developments – after all, Waverly will have a Whole Foods – some said they were unprepared for the volume of new development. Attendees reminisced about the days when you could still see cows and farmland all over south Charlotte.
“This isn’t what we signed up for,” one resident said, expressing his views on the new development.
That sentiment seems to sum up the conflicted feelings people have about development, whether it’s apartments near uptown pushing out local businesses or giant developments in south Charlotte taking the place of what was once the countryside. They’re not necessarily against it on principle, because they understand change happens, but still, it’s not what they signed up for when they moved to their neighborhood.