Holding signs that read “Stop Sterilizing Charlotte,” several dozen people attended the Charlotte City Council meeting Monday to oppose plans for apartments on Central Avenue that could push out a local bar and vintage clothing store.
DPJ Residential wants to build a 97 apartment units on 1.9 acres. The development would force out Tommy’s Pub and Backstage Vintage, which operate in a small brick building on the site. Tommy’s Pub has a devoted following and has operated there under different names since the 1950s. More than 650 people have signed a petition to save the pub.
Porter Jones, head of DPJ Residential, said his plans will improve the site, filling in unused land, adding better pedestrian access and cleaning up a site that’s contaminated by former gasoline storage tanks.
“About 90 percent of the site is vacant land,” Jones said. “The soil here is contaminated.”
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But opponents said it would dilute some of the funky character that makes Plaza Midwood special.
“Our neighborhood is this. This is what’s important. Sometimes we forget that. We’re the last neighborhood in this city that cares about artists,” said Patrick Frye III, drawing applause.
Jenna Thompson, who has led opposition, said developments like DPJ Residential’s risk raising rents and pushing out many residents.
“This growth is unchecked and disproportionate,” Thompson said. “Increases in the cost of housing are dramatically outpacing the growth of income in this area.”
Not all neighbors are against the plan. Phillip Gussman, president of the Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association, said the group supports DPJ Residential’s plans, and said Jones has worked with the community.
“We are concerned with the intensive development of our community,” Gussman said, “but this project is one of the most intensive collaborations we’ve had.”
City staff is recommending council members vote for the proposal, which will be up for a decision at next month’s meeting.
Park Road plan draws opposition
A plan to build 18 for-sale townhouses and 36 apartment rental units at Park and Sharon roads also drew opposition from neighbors, who have filed a protest petition.
Several dozen people held white signs that read “Park Sharon Rezoning Vote No” at the meeting. Neighbors have said developer Jason MacArthur and Park Sharon Properties’ plans for the vacant 4.7-acre site are too dense and could generate too much traffic.
At least one council member was skeptical. “I’m really tired of seeing these humongous apartment buildings being built,” said Patsy Kinsey, a Democrat. Her remark drew applause and cheers.