A Woodie’s Auto Service and Repair center is expected to break ground next month in Ballantyne in May, amid concerns from nearby residents about increased traffic and potential noise.
But residents at the Adair at Ballantyne townhouse community don’t have much choice, given that zoning to allow such a use was approved 16 years ago; no public hearing or City Council vote is required for the developer to proceed.
“It’s no big secret that they aren’t really happy about what’s taking place,” said Brad Woodie, who owns Woodie’s Auto with his brother, Mike. “It’s the age-old ‘not in my backyard’ kind of thing.”
Woodie said he expects to break ground on the project by May 1 and to complete it in late 2014.
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Residents said their new plan is to form a friendly relationship with the developer and try to negotiate various aspects of the project.
“If I had a magic wand, I wouldn’t want that business at all, but we don’t have much control over that,” resident Katherine Griffith said. “At this point, I would much rather have an amicable relationship with Woodie’s.”
Mecklenburg County staff rezoned a 9.92-acre site that included the Woodie’s parcel in 1998 to allow 22,500 square feet of retail space on a 3.92 acre sub-parcel and 57 dwelling units on the remaining 6 acre parcel. That second parcel ultimately became the Adair community.
At the time, limited liability company owned by the Harris family owned the land.
Then an LLC owned by Woodie purchased 1.79 acres of the 3.92-acre parcel in 2012.
Woodie is developing the land, at 14408 Adair Manor Court, for a general auto repair and maintenance center that will include services such as oil changes and tire alignment.
He said the project will cover 11,500 square feet and feature 18 car bays. He expects construction costs to exceed $3 million.
Woodie owns eight other locations in the Charlotte region, including one at 6625 Carmel Road in south Charlotte and another at 915 S. McDowell St. in Dilworth.
“We’re concerned about dumpsters, signs at the front of our development, increased traffic,” said Adair resident Steven Morrison. “It’s just not conducive to the area.”
Morrison said he knew what the property was zoned for when he bought his home 14 years ago, but he assumed nothing would be built there because it’s such a small parcel.
He said he’s concerned about sharing Adair Manor Court – the only entrance into the neighborhood – with the auto center, especially, he said, given that the road is privately maintained by the neighborhood.
But Woodie said the entrance to the auto center will be almost immediately after drivers turn onto Adair Manor Court, and it should not affect traffic conditions for townhouse residents.
Griffith, who rents our her townhouse in Adair and now lives in Jacksonville, Fla., said she’s concerned about property values dropping.
“It’s a residential area of Ballantyne – it’s not where the businesses are. It’s kind of out of place,” she said. “Now I’m contemplating whether I should sell my home or keep it.”
Woodie said the development complements the original vision for Ballantyne. “It was designed as a live-work community,” he said. “It’s designed to be a mix of residential, retail and office, so that it’s almost like a mini-city.”
The exterior of the center will be a combination of brick, stucco and stone, and there will be a front canopy drop-off area where people will get out of their vehicle; a porter will park the vehicle and return it to clients when it’s ready.
Woodie said he’s also working with the city to tweak the development plans, including adding more trees and screens between his business and the neighboring residential community.
He’s also worked with residents to address their concerns, he said, including moving the center’s dumpsters from facing resident backyards to another section of the property.
He said he expects residents to be pleased with the business coming to Ballantyne once it’s complete. “Most people don’t want to spend their Saturday running around,” he said. “This is going to make it more convenient for people.”