University City

Working to maintain neighborhoods' voice

Dan Grieneisen acted out of concern when he agreed to represent about 30 community groups as president of the NorthEast Coalition of Neighborhoods.

In the past, the coalition's members often rallied to support or oppose development projects in northeast Charlotte.

With building projects nearly at a standstill, Grieneisen stepped up to lead the group because of a different concern.

"What I want to do is just keep the group together," he said. "People's interest level tends to go through peaks and valleys. We don't want to lose the group we have."

Grieneisen, formerly the group's first vice president, will serve until January, filling the position vacated by Claire Green Fallon. She is an at-large candidate for Charlotte City Council.

The NorthEast Coalition's members are mainly in University City, Derita and Highland Creek.

Longtime residents banded together as development picked up in the 1990s. The group has dispersed and organized again.

Neighborhood leaders came together again in 2005 as a developer proposed building homes on small lots on Hubbard Road in University City.

Protests centered on concern for the quantity of lower-priced housing being built in the region.

Others worried that construction on a steep slope would damage Mallard Creek.

The developer agreed to build more expensive homes.

The scaled-back pace of development wasn't a factor in Grieneisen's decision to continue only until January.

"To do it well, you need to dedicate some time to it," he said of the president's job.

Grieneisen works full-time as an occupational safety and health professional for Clariant Corp. The group's other four board members also have jobs.

One of the group's immediate goals is to recruit a fifth board member.

The board plans to host candidate forums before the November elections.

"We want to have some clear way for people to get in touch with us," he said.