Charlotte City Council turned down a hotly contested plan Monday to build townhouses and a swimming pool on the property of an historic inn located in Plaza Midwood, a proposal that divided the neighborhood.
The decision split City Council as well. Council member Patsy Kinsey, who is a friend of VanLandingham Estate owner Billy Maddalon and his family, said her decision to turn down the plan was emotional.
“His grandmother taught me Sunday school,” said Kinsey, a Democrat who represents the area. The two are political allies as well: Maddalon filled in for Kinsey as a representative while she was filling in as interim mayor. “I've really gone back and forth on this,” she said. “My conscience is not comfortable with a pool in that location. I am reluctantly going to vote no.”
Maddalon has said the business, located at 2010 The Plaza, is unprofitable and he needs the 19 townhouses and swim club for the hotel and event space to remain viable. The Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association supported the rezoning plan, but some neighbors and a nearby church have protested, raising concerns that the new houses and swim club would draw hundreds more cars and worsen congestion.
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Several other council members said potential traffic from the pool was their major concern, as well. “If we had modified it to the point of just putting in townhouses, it would have made me happy,” said Claire Fallon, a Democrat. “I cannot vote for the pool.”
Council members Kinsey, Fallon, Michael Barnes, Al Austin, Vi Lyles, David Howard, Kenny Smith, and LaWana Mayfield voted against the proposal. Ed Driggs, John Autry, Greg Phipps, and Mayor Dan Clodfelter voted for the plan.
Providence Road plans passed
Also Monday, City Council approved a major new residential and retail development on Providence Road, just south of Interstate 485. The area is seeing an explosion of building on vacant land, with hundreds of new apartments and houses planned at the adjacent Waverly development and across the street at the defunct Charlotte Golf Links course, along with stores, hotels and office buildings.
The Crescent Communities development would be a “foodie”-driven community, the company has said. Called “Crescent Providence Farm,” much of it would focus around food, with food-centered events and a direct tie-in to the Whole Foods being built at Waverly.
Crescent scaled back its plans after City Council members raised questions about traffic at a hearing last month. The company originally asked to rezone 72 acres to allow 30,000 square feet of retail and office space, a 150-room hotel and up to 425 apartments and 175 single-family attached and detached residences.
The new version of the plan cuts the amount of land Crescent is looking to build on by almost half, to 38 acres. The company dropped its request to build on the part of the site farthest from Providence Road, which would have accommodated single-family houses. The plan instead calls for up to 425 multifamily residents and 118 single-family attached and detached residents, a 180-room hotel and up to 30,000 square feet of retail and office space.
Some council members still said they were concerned about traffic.
“When you add Waverly and Golf Links...I am concerned about the impact to the infrastructure,” said Barnes, a Democrat.
“My objection is to the density. How much can we push in there?” said Fallon.
Barnes and Fallon voted against the proposal, while the rest of council voted in favor.