Latest development concern in Davidson? Drugs, guns and human traffickers

The proposed hotel site.
The proposed hotel site.

Ahead of a public hearing Tuesday night on a hotel planned in Davidson, opponents of the development are raising concerns from encroachment on single-family houses nearby to whether it would draw human traffickers.

The citizen group Save Davidson is planning to protest the development at Davidson Gateway Drive and Griffith Street, near Exit 30 on Interstate 77. The four-story, 115-room hotel would be next to a Woodie’s Auto Service shop and back up to houses on Westside Terrace.

Save Davidson plans to protest starting an hour before the 6 p.m. Davidson Town Board meeting. At the meeting, they’ll speak against the hotel at the public hearing and present a petition. The group is also fighting Davidson’s plans to sell 19 acres of publicly owned land on Beaty Street for a mixed-use development, as well as several other new developments and growth plans.

The hotel’s developer, Martin Kerr, hasn’t said what brand it would be, though public documents indicate it would be a Hyatt-branded hotel. Renderings show a partially brick structure with wide sidewalks and a plaza in front. Kerr couldn’t immediately be reached for more information.

One reason the hotel’s opponents say it’s wrong for the area is that the plan would not have enough of a buffer between the building and nearby houses.

“That neighborhood has become boxed in throughout the years from development on all sides,” said Kaneisha Gaston, a Charlotte resident whose family lives in the neighborhood, and who is helping coordinate the opposition. The neighborhood is largely African-American, she said, and residents are also worried about displacement.

Another concern the group is citing is the hotel’s proximity to two schools: Davidson Day School is across the street and down a block, while the Community School of Davidson is adjacent to the property and the Community School’s high school is about a half a mile away.

“The greatest concern is safety for the school children,” Save Davidson said in a news release, adding that a hotel could draw drugs, people with guns and human traffickers.

Gaston summarized the concern: “You don’t know who’s staying at the hotel.”

The developers addressed those concerns at a public meeting in October, according to a record of the meeting.

“Neither the Hyatt Hotels nor the applicant will permit illegal activity on the property,” they said.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo