More than 50 people showed up at the Matthews Board of Commissioners meeting Monday night to discuss a topic that wasn't on the agenda.
Residents of Stillwell Place and David Trace subdivisions in Mint Hill and residents of Woodbridge subdivision on Stallings Road in Union County, asked commissioners to vote against a rezoning request that would allow 274 apartments and several office buildings to be constructed near the intersection of Stallings and Idlewild roads. The property is in Matthews, but Mint Hill is across the street, and property in the Union County town of Stallings backs up to it.
The public hearing on the rezoning request was held in September, but those at the meeting say they didn't know about the proposed rezoning until just a few days ago. They claim that developing the land with apartments and office space will place additional traffic on already overcrowded roads, make a dangerous intersection even worse, bring in crime, possibly lower property values, and destroy the quiet, small-town atmosphere that makes living in the area so desirable.
"If you bring apartment complexes to this area, it will ruin it forever. It's like a virus, it goes and goes and goes and then they will bring in buses and rapid transit, and it never ends," said Davis Trace resident Patricia Yost.
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Neighbor Chester Lewis said, "The people who live in this area live there for a reason - because it's the best area in Charlotte. This plan just doesn't fit. If it passes, I need someone to tell me where I can go to get the quality of life I have right now."
Though the speakers didn't live within Matthews town limits, Matthews Mayor Jim Taylor says their input was welcome.
"We appreciate them coming in. This land is right on the border and I understand their interest. Their comments will certainly be taken into consideration. As I understand it, the developer is already changing the plans based on comments he has received," said Taylor.
Developer Steve Sanders says he has already made revisions to the plan based on the public hearing, commissioner suggestions and comments from the planning board. Those changes include a major reduction in density and agreeing to pay for a traffic signal. He hopes to have the revised plan on file with the town in early December.
Last month the Matthews Planning Board voted 5-2 to recommend to commissioners that the rezoning be approved with several stipulations including reducing the number of apartment units and working with N.C. DOT to get a signal approved for the intersection at Stallings and Idlewild Roads.
Commissioners are scheduled to vote on the rezoning request at their Dec. 12 meeting.
Residents can still share their input with commissioners by email, info at www.matthewsnc.com; 704-847-4411; or mail Matthews Town Hall, 232 Matthews Station St., Matthews, NC 28105.