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Here’s why some neighbors oppose plans to redevelop a NoDa church, build new homes

A rendering shows the proposed NoDa project that would include 16 single-family homes, four affordable housing townhomes and a former church building turned into co-working and event space.
A rendering shows the proposed NoDa project that would include 16 single-family homes, four affordable housing townhomes and a former church building turned into co-working and event space. Revolve Residential

A plan to build 16 homes and four affordable housing townhomes in NoDa met opposition on Monday night when some neighbors criticized the project.

Plans for the project also call for a 16,000-square-foot church on the site to be redeveloped into a co-working and event space, according to the developer.

Neighborhood resident Linda Vista told Charlotte City Council that the proposal would add to traffic congestion problems. The property is surrounded by single family homes and an elementary school, she said. There also are no main thoroughfares, she said.

Vista spoke for more than 170 surrounding homeowners who oppose the proposal, she said, criticizing the potential reuse of the church.

“There’s no reason to bring commercial zoning into this neighborhood,” Vista said. “None.”

The roughly 2.5-acre property is in NoDa on Whiting Avenue and is surrounded by Charles Avenue, Spencer Street and Clemson Avenue near Highland Mill Montessori Elementary School.

The commercial reuse of the church would not benefit surrounding property owners and would compound traffic issues, said Sean Mayo, a 20-year resident of the area who lives across the street from the proposed property.

Bars and breweries would be excluded from potential uses for the building, formerly Whiting Avenue Baptist Church, which was built in 1962, according to the developer, Revolve Residential. The building now houses Charlotte Christian College and Theological Seminary.

Developers decided to ban using the space for a brewery or taproom after talking to neighbors, Tim McCollum, principal of Revolve Residential, told the Observer.

“We’re promoting adaptive reuse and historic preservation of a building,” said Bridget Grant, a Moore & Van Allen land use and zoning consultant on the project.

Members of the public held signs during the hearing that said “No Revolve.”

City staff opposed the plan, saying too many units are proposed for the site and the proposed height of the single-family homes is too tall.

The contemporary, single-family homes would be about 2,300 square feet with three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms and two-car garages, according to a news release. The homes would share yards.

The height for the single-family homes is dictated by the size of the former church, McCollum said. That building would dwarf smaller homes, he said.

City staff also opposed the reuse proposal for the church, saying it should instead be used for an institutional purpose — such as a school or day care.

City Council could decide as early as next month whether to approve the plan. Even though staff objects to the proposal, it is rare for council to reject a plan.

If approved, construction would start early next year.


Clarification

A previous version of this story misstated the preferred zoning use by city staff, which supports institutional use.
Cassie Cope: 704-358-5926, @cassielcope.
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