Lake Norman & Mooresville

Residents fight retail project

Residents along Davidson-Concord Road are banding together to keep out a retail-residential project they say will worsen traffic and ruin their largely rural surroundings.

Huntersville-based Glenwood Development Co. wants to build a 162,000-square-foot development at N.C. 73 near Davidson-Concord Road and the proposed Prosperity Church Road extension. The project would include a grocery store, retail shops and 118 townhomes, with possibly more development.

Glenwood is a commercial real estate development, management and investment company that owns about 2.5 million square feet of retail property in six states. It also has offices in Raleigh, Greensboro and Atlanta.

“The reason people live out there is the rural feel,” Pages Pond resident Rufus Sherrill Jr. said at a citizens meeting at Huntersville Town Hall last week. “The area is surrounded by equestrian centers.”

Sherrill and 19 other residents from subdivisions off Davidson-Concord Road discussed the concerns they want to relay to Huntersville commissioners when the board considers voting on Glenwood's request to rezone about 60 acres for the project. That vote could happen at the Oct. 6 town board meeting.

At a public hearing on the rezoning request this month, Huntersville planner David Peete said the request includes numerous waivers that suspend or bypass some zoning rules. Most rezoning requests have only a few waivers, Peete said. He also said the request didn't include restrictions on such businesses as bars and nightclubs. Dozens of residents attended the hearing to protest the plans.

Glenwood Development officials couldn't be reached last week.

Resident Dede Edmiston, who helped organize last week's citizens meeting, said residents want commissioners to know they're still concerned about the project. “We want our voices to be heard,” she said.

Those residents include Jane McWilliams of Davidson. “I don't think anybody here is opposed to development,” she said at last week's meeting. “It's what this development is” that residents oppose. It's an overwhelming and potentially dangerous intrusion, residents said.

McWilliams' daughter lives in the Ramah Oaks subdivision off Black Farms Road, which also is near the proposed development. Two motorists have died in that area in recent years, McWilliams said. “How many deaths is it going to take?” she asked. “Three?”

Parent Angie Phillips of Pages Pond worries about school buses pulling onto increasingly crowded roads.

She's also concerned that with today's poor economy, store space in the planned development will sit idle. “That's a big concern: vacant stores,” she told the group.

Ron Julian, the lone Huntersville commissioner at the citizens meeting, told the group he favors development in general. “The money has to come from somewhere,” he said, or taxes will rise.

Yet he doesn't want development that worsens the town, he said, adding that his first home 30 years ago was a log house on Bailey Road and that “I plan on being here a long time.”

“I won't tell you where I stand tonight, but I do have concerns,” Julian told the group. He said he was there to hear their concerns and relay them to other commissioners on the five-member board.