South Charlotte

Residents oppose site plan for storage, medical offices

A proposed storage and office development next to Ardrey Kell High School does not fit in the otherwise residential area, a resident told the Charlotte City Council at a public hearing this week.

Taylor/Theus Development Holdings LLC is proposing a climate-controlled storage facility and medical and general offices on 5.6 acres at the northwest corner of Ardrey Kell and Community House roads.

“This is a small site, wooded and undeveloped,” Keith MacVean of Moore & Van Allen, which is working with the developer, told the council. “It’s an attractive site, it’s a great location, a lot of visibility in south Charlotte.

“It’s going to be developed. The question is what will it be developed with?”

The proposed commercial use of the site is not consistent with the South District Plan, a land-use plan adopted in 1993 that recommends residential zoning for the site.

However, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Rezoning Planning Manager Tammie Keplinger said the South District Plan was drawn up before Ardrey Kell High School was proposed. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg planning staff recommended approving the request to rezone the property for commercial use after some outstanding issues are resolved.

MacVean said the parcel was too small for “quality residential development” and was next to Ardrey Kell High School’s sports fields, which often host evening games.

While the storage business and offices will generate traffic, that increase would be much less than from other businesses that could be built on the site, such as a bank, he said.

The site design includes landscaping along the roads, such as a minimum 40-foot landscape setback along North Community House Road, and would have a campus feel, with buildings made of brick, stucco and Hardiplank. Buildings on the site would not be more than 40 feet tall.

John Halpin, who lives in the Weston Glen neighborhood near the proposed development, was one of three people who spoke against the zoning change at the public hearing. Halpin said he represented the people of his neighborhood as well as “thousands of others.”

A number of residents also attended a public meeting in June on the proposed zoning change, where they asked questions and expressed concerns about the proposed development.

The area already has “dozens of medical office buildings” and at least 30 storage businesses within an 11-mile radius, he said.

Resident also are worried about an increase in traffic, Halpin said. The city of Charlotte recently developed sidewalks and bicycle lanes in the area used by school children and cyclists, he said.

Resident Eric Cebula, a licensed architect, said traffic already is heavy on Ardrey Kell and Community House roads.

“Getting out of this lot is not going to be easy,” he said.

Councilwoman Vi Lyles asked why a parking lot on the site was visible from the road rather than placed behind buildings.

MacVean said some of the parking is between buildings, and site designers moved buildings toward the road and provided a low brick wall and landscaping between parking and the streets.

Councilman Kenny Smith asked residents at the meeting what form of development the community would prefer if the property could not be integrated into Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools; Halpin has suggested the community raise money to donate the property to Ardrey Kell High School.

“We would prefer keeping it zoned as is,” Halpin said. “If you decide for whatever reason to approve this rezoning, please know that we don’t think this is the best interest of the community. Please, let’s investigate all options thoroughly and come up with a better outcome.”

The Charlotte City Council will vote on the zoning petition at a future meeting.

Marty Minchin is a freelance writer: