Hopewell Baptist Church on Davidson-Concord Road hosted a presentation and Q&A session on Saturday morning regarding the planned mass rezoning being pushed by Davidson Town Hall.
As a sign of how much interest there is in the project, the event drew a room full of people - somewhat surprising for a 9am Saturday meeting. The meeting also drew all of the town's elected officials except Brian Jenest who was out of town. Finally, it looked like the entire Planning Department was there as well as other senior staff.
The meeting started off with the now familiar history of the Rural Area Plan project and all of the communication and citizen input along the way before that plan was approved by the Board last September.
In a way, this first part seemed like an attempt to justify why the town was going to do what it was going to do and if you missed something over the last 18 months, you must not have been listening. It also seemed like deja vu for those who may have watched the Catalyst Project roll-out unfold. In both instances, if the communication had truly been as clear from the beginning as the Town seemed to think, the Town likely would have avoided the late breaking pushback.
After a a nearly 60 minute presentation the Q&A portion started. 30 minutes after that, it was clear that few in the audience had changed their minds. The themes were the same as those heard at the Jan 10th public hearing.
People like the Rural Area Plan itself, but are concerned about the implementation of these mass rezonings which allow for more intense development on portions of it. People want that part of the implementation more tightly controlled.
The town keeps having these presentations and meetings. They've made videos and written FAQ documents. In fact, they've gotten quite smooth at delivering their message. The sales pitch would likely be very effective to people who weren't really paying attention.
The Town thinks it is communicating, and people just don't understand. The reality is the people do understand what these mass rezonings mean, and they do not like it.