Lake Norman & Mooresville

Town pushing growth along Cornelius Road

Mooresville is seeking to encourage commercial and industrial growth along a residential road north of town, adding an extra layer of regulation to new properties there to discourage residential development.

Town commissioners earlier this month approved a text amendment to the town zoning ordinance creating a special zoning district along Cornelius Road that requires any new development to take place only on properties encompassing at least 1 acre, or about 43,600 square feet.

The idea is to set standards for “the types of development we’d like to see” in the corridor in the future, said Craig Culberson, a senior planner for the town.

The new zoning district, known as an overlay, applies to any new property within 1,000 feet of each side of the nearly 4-mile road, as well as an additional stretch the town is building that will connect it with Mazeppa Road to the east. The district does not cover any properties less than 1 acre that existed before the town created it.

A regulatory tool local governments use to control development, such districts superimpose additional zoning regulations onto existing ones. They exist elsewhere throughout town, put in place for various reasons from maintaining landscaping to protecting watersheds.

In the corridor, it is meant to help direct future development.

A tranquil stretch dotted with tracts of agricultural land and residential properties on both sides of Interstate 77, the road is largely zoned for residential use.

But the town wants to see the development of office buildings and light-industrial facilities take place there, according to its comprehensive land-use plan, which is meant to guide development over the next several years.

Although the town has yet to receive any proposals for such development, it has received inquiries about the corridor, Mooresville senior engineer Allison Kraft said. Referring to the corridor, she said, “We’re looking at future development.”

The road is outside town limits, meaning it does not collect tax revenue from properties there. (Even if it was not, though, the town rezones properties only at the request of their owners, Kraft noted, given that such changes affect property values.)

Creating the new zoning district was unanimously recommended by the town planning board in April, going before Iredell County commissioners for review before the town adopted it at a regular meeting on June 1. The county is involved because it has jurisdiction over property along the state road; the corridor was a focal point of a joint meeting between county and town leaders last fall.

The new zoning comes as the town is discussing ways to get the N.C. Department of Transportation to build an interchange off Interstate 77 onto Cornelius Road.

In addition, the building of a stretch of road that will connect Cornelius and Mazeppa roads is underway. With preliminary construction work complete, paving was expected to begin as soon as late last week and is scheduled to finish by late August, said Jon Young, an engineer for the town and the project manager.

The long-discussed road would stretch about three-fourths of a mile. It is expected to reduce traffic congestion throughout town by redirecting traffic going to and from business parks along Mazeppa Road. It is within the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, a regulatory tool local governments use to control zoning.

Jake Flannick is a freelance writer. Have a story for Jake? Email him at