As large parcels of vacant land in the suburbs of Charlotte continue to be developed, people looking to move out of the crowded city or downsize their homes find a lot to like in communities such as Antiquity, a 128-acre, mixed-use development on the east side of Cornelius.
“We had lived in Davidson’s River Run community,” said Jennifer Bolt, “but we were ready for a smaller home and our family of seven was ready to be more pedestrian mobile.
“Moving to Antiquity gave us the option of walking into Davidson, having friendly neighbors and enjoying the safe style of Lake Norman living.”
Construction at Antiquity began in 2001, and the sheer numbers of housing units are impressive. According to the town’s Planning Director Wayne Herron, there will be 995 residential units at full completion, which includes single family detached, single family cottages, townhomes and multifamily units.
So far, 462 homes are occupied and 15 homes are under construction. In addition, 196 multifamily units have been built and 329 are under construction.
In addition, Antiquity’s retail and town center section has a new Harris Teeter supermarket, along with 10 other occupied stores and a Novant Health annex under construction.
However, the continued increase in owners moving to Antiquity has raised major concerns about traffic, as the Cornelius Town Board found out at its Aug. 15 meeting.
“In the last six months, the roads in our neighborhood have become frighteningly unsafe as more cars and trucks are traveling with higher speed on these narrow roads that were never designed for this level of use,” said resident Giselle Massi.
She presented a petition with 155 signatures, asking the town to initiate a public education campaign to inform residents of the dangerous approach to and through the Antiquity covered bridge that connects Cornelius and Davidson as well as along Old Canal and South streets. Massi is also seeking lower speed limits, additional signage and speed bumps, if necessary, to slow the traffic down.
There are only two entrances into and out of Antiquity, and Massi believes the heavier traffic is from shoppers using the new supermarket as well as commuters seeking alternate routes from frequently congested Interstate 77 and N.C. 115. In addition, a future planned development, called Antiquity Woods, may again increase the area’s traffic volume.
In response to her concerns, the town has launched a comprehensive traffic study to record the speeds attained by motorists passing through the region and gauge what other traffic calming measures may be needed.
Antiquity residents are also disappointed that the CATS commuter rail line from Charlotte to Mooresville has not been built.
“The rail line would really help with the traffic,” said Andrew Mok, who moved his family from Minnesota to Antiquity three years ago. “As it is now, we limit our trips to Charlotte due to the horrendous interstate traffic. If we had the rail line, we could just hop on the train.”
The commuter line project is stalled as Norfolk Southern Railroad, which owns the tracks and right of way, has indicated no desire to share its freight operations with passenger rail.
Still, most residents seem happy they have moved to Antiquity and hope to stay.
“We recognize that the traffic will be a major issue in the years ahead,” Mok added, “but all in all, we’re happy here. The community gives us the best of both worlds: a city feel along with suburban safety.”
Dave Vieser is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.