Do these controversial plans for townhouses in south Charlotte have the votes to win approval?

Rendering of planned townhouses on Sharon Lane.
Rendering of planned townhouses on Sharon Lane.

Charlotte City Council is set to vote Monday night on a pair of plans for infill townhouses that have drawn strong opposition from their potential neighbors on Sharon Lane and in South End.

Both would add more density and bring new living options to their respective areas. Both are opposed by adjacent property owners who say the plans risk too much change in the area, though for different reasons. And both have drawn skeptical reactions from City Council at earlier hearings.

On Sharon Lane just south of Providence Road, the fight against 24 townhouses planned by Simonini Homes and Saratoga Asset Management has dragged on for a year. The developers reduced the size of their plan from 38 homes in a bid to win support, but they haven’t found much among neighbors, who organized a petition drawing more than 1,200 signatures urging City Council to reject the plan. They say the plan is too dense and risks drawing more dense development to the single-family area.

The homes, averaging 3,400 square feet and costing around $1 million, would target empty-nesters and older, more affluent buyers, the developers say. The site is 6.3 acres, and city planning staff are recommending that council vote to approve the development.

In South End, it’s a manufacturing plant that’s opposed to a plan that would allow 18 new townhouses on West Tremont Avenue. Gas Fired Products, which manufactures specialty industrial heating products, has been located on the adjacent site since 1949. Its owners fear that new townhouse residents could complain about noise and other byproducts of living next to a working factory – the townhouses could be five feet from the property line – and eventually force Gas Fired Products out.

The area is already changing rapidly, with hundreds of new apartments planned on nearby sites and dozens more townhouses down the road.

The factory employs about 100 workers, its owners told City Council at an earlier hearing. The developers, again Simonini Homes, this time partnered with Barringer Capital, are seeking to build townhouses averaging 2,000 square feet on the 3/4-acre property.

Travis Bayle is a tower crane operator, working 264 feet in the air on the Crescent Stonewall Station development uptown. Observer reporter Ely Portillo visited his office in the sky this week to see what it's like to be one of the workers lifting

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo