Charlotte City Council turns down request for new VanLandingham Estate plan

The VanLandingham Estate won’t be getting permission to build townhouses on its property, after Charlotte City Council voted down a request Monday to waive a rule that requires the owner to wait two years before submitting new plans.

Billy Maddalon, who owns the VanLandingham Estate at The Plaza and Belvedere Avenue, has been seeking to redevelop parts of the property for years, saying that the historic estate needs new revenue sources. He initially sought to build a private swim club and townhouses on part of the property, while keeping the hotel and event space operating on the other part.

The City Council voted down that rezoning petition in October. Under city rules, if a rezoning is denied, a developer must wait two years before resubmitting the request. But that rule can be waived if there is a “substantial change” in the plans or circumstances around the development.

Maddalon asked the City Council to waive the two-year rule to allow him to submit a new rezoning request that would allow him to build 18 townhouses on the site – but not a private swim club that was part of the earlier plan..

“It was a substantial change,” Maddalon told the Observer. He said he was disappointed with the council’s decision but will keep the property running and look for ways to solve “structural issues” facing the VanLandingham Estate.

“Throwing up our hands and pouting and going away isn’t going to solve anything,” Maddalon said.

City staff recommended turning down Maddalon’s request. Two neighbors spoke at Monday’s City Council meeting and said they were opposed to Maddalon’s request as well, saying they were concerned about traffic and development encroaching on their single-family residential neighborhood.

“I think it’s important to consider the fabric of the neighborhood, which is single-family, residential homes,” said Jesse Wasson.

The City Council voted the request down unanimously. Several members said they were concerned about getting sued by adjoining property owners or setting a precedent if they approved Maddalon’s request.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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