Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mi-Connection FY2017 numbers disappoint...subsidy needed until FY2024

Numbers were put out by the Town of Davidson in a press release last week on the municipally owned cable company's financial performance for FY2017.  That was followed up by a presentation from Town Manager Jamie Justice at the Tuesday Board meeting.

The long and the short of it boils down to these bullet points.

  • The company is still losing money and did not meet projected growth in FY2017.
  • Subsidies will still be needed for years to come with FY2024 as the new subsidy-free target date.
  • Competition is increasing with new players entering the municipally owned company's footprint making growth even more difficult.
  • Davidson has little to no leverage in determining the company's future under the current inter-local agreement with Mooresville which pegs Davidson's ownership at 30%.
  • All of the numbers are projections based on continued rapid growth in rooftops and businesses.
Here is the press release put out by the town.  Emphasis added in bold.

DAVIDSON, N.C. – On Thursday, August 23, the MI-Connection Board of Directors met to review financial results for FY 2017, which ended June 30, and compare last quarter to the same quarter a year ago. Data has been externally audited, but are preliminary and still subject to external audit.

Quarter Comparison
Revenue is even when comparing Q4 2017 to Q4 2016 and total expenses are up by 3.02% in Q4 2017 compared to Q4 2016. EBIDA (Earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization, a key metric used by cable operators to measure performance) decreased by 7.64% from Q4 FY 2016 to Q4 FY 2017. Average revenue per customer is even.

“We didn’t meet our growth projections for this year, and recognize that we have had some tough competition in the marketplace,” said MI-Connection CEO David Auger. “We are confident that the services we offer and our superior customer will make us more competitive in the future.”

FY 2017 vs. FY 2016
Financially, year-over-year, FY 2017 revenue exceeded FY 2016 by 1.79%.  EBIDA declined by 8.61% from FY 2016 to FY 2017. Average revenue per customer is up 1.88% from FY 2016 to FY 2017. The customer level stayed about the same year-over-year.

In the enterprise and small/medium business market in FY 2017, MI-Connection grew commercial customers by 10.9% and increased revenue by 10.2%.  Commercial revenue as a percentage of overall revenue increased from 12% in FY 2016 to 13.7% in FY 2017.

MI-Connection made a contribution of $2.919 million in debt payment to the Town of Mooresville for FY 2017, and projected a payment of $3.45 million in the FY 2018 budget. The amount the Towns of Mooresville and Davidson made to the debt payment for FY 2017 was $3.44 million and the projected payment for the towns in FY 2018 is $2.93 million. MI-Connection’s contribution toward the debt is projected to exceed the towns’ contributions in FY 2018.

During his comments at the meeting Tuesday night, Justice did address the stall in the drop of the annual subsidy required by the towns for 2017.  aShortChronicle pointed that out back in May.  The explanation given by Justice was that there were some new developments scheduled to come on line that were delayed.  That delayed the new revenue.  Those developments are now coming online so 2018 should see a bump.

What's left unsaid here is that Mi-Connection future growth is essentially now wholly dependent on significant growth in rooftops and or businesses within its footprint.  The operational and financial improvements over the past few years are now fully baked into the year over year performance expectations.  There are no more big chunks of cost savings that can be wrung out of the financials.

Justice mentioned that RGUs or Revenue Generating Units actually dropped very slightly year over year in 2017.  RGUs are individual services such as voice, data, and video.  A single "triple play" household would count as 3 RGUs.  If RGUs dropped and there certainly was some growth in rooftops/businesses in 2017, that logically means Mi-Connection lost some existing customers to other provider and got some new ones to nearly break-even, but the company didn't get the new ones it was expecting from the delayed developments Justice mentioned to show any growth.  As competition increases and other providers build out their networks this industry "churn" among competing providers will only increase as well.

The current predictions in Justice's presentation say subsidies are needed through FY2023 - another 5 years.  It also says, the company's debt to value trend likely makes the company saleable 2-4 years from now with another 5-6 years needed to get that ratio down to where the towns could recoup all the subsidies they had paid over the years. However, competition will only increase in coming years, and if the housing market or economy slows or stalls, then all these projections go out the window.  In a high-tech industry such as telecommunications, keeping Mi-Connection for another decade just to attempt getting towns' their money back would be a high risk maneuver.

While Justice tried valiantly to put as good a face as possible on this situation, it's still an ugly situation the towns have in front of them.

Read the whole presentation here.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Save Davidson movement subjected to campaign "silly season" attacks

The Save Davidson group has been making quite a stir and getting a LOT of attention around town recently.

The group has been working hard to spotlight a growing number of issues.  It has been organizing.  It has been researching.  It has been pushing back on Town Hall supported initiatives across the board, and the green Save Davidson signs have been popping up all across town like mushrooms after a cleansing thunderstorm.  On Thursday evening the organization proved itself on the political scene by hosting what was undeniably the best and most well organized political forum this town has seen in years, possibly ever.

All that...no doubt, makes some people nervous - people who want to keep things running business as usual.  In fact Save Davidson has gotten enough attention that standard dirty political tactics are now apparently being used against it - the anonymous editorial pen and the whisper campaign.

In last week's edition of the Lake Norman Citizen, some anonymous member of the "staff" penned a hit piece against the Save Davidson organization for raising legitimate safety concerns about placing a hotel next to an elementary school on Davidson's Griffith street - concerns the Town and developer have yet to even acknowledge.  By attacking Save Davidson in this piece, the courageously anonymous "staff" at the Lake Norman Citizen effectively mock parents concerned about their children's safety.  They minimize and deflect and say raising safety concerns about potentially serious issues is only playing politics. All the while, they are hypocritically playing the game they erroneously accuse Save Davidson of playing.

That's a pretty classless and sad move for a paper that calls itself "the only experienced, professional, legitimate news outlet in the Lake Norman Region"   (Yes, they really wrote that about themselves.)  However, while classless and sad it's not all that surprising.  In recent years, the Lake Norman Citizen has become the publication of choice for the Davidson Town Hall message.  Push back too hard on the Davidson Town Hall agenda and it's a safe bet you'll find a story emphasizing the Davidson Town Hall perspective in the next edition of the Citizen.  With election season underway and Davidson Town Hall under pressure, seeing some political water carrying by this group of "professionals" at the Citizen is just par for the course.

However, the "anonymous pen" is not the only political trick being deployed against Save Davidson.  A dirty "whisper campaign" is apparently also underway.

On two separate occasions in recent days aShortChronicle has been told of incidents around town where people are saying Save Davidson is against diversity or doesn't want diversity in town.

What's the apparent rationale for such a ludicrous claim?

The warped logic goes something like this.  Because Save Davidson has spoken out against the rampant development underway in town, a good portion of which is apartments, the group must be against diversity because apartments are more affordable.

The people spreading these divisive rumors clearly haven't seen the Save Davidson signs dotting the West Side neighborhood which has a considerable amount of  the town's affordable housing.  The historically African American neighborhood also claims a large percentage of the town's racial diversity.  The rumor mongers clearly haven't seen the numbers of West Side residents at recent public meetings sporting their Save Davidson pins.  Those spreading this misinformation clearly don't know or want to believe, that Save Davidson is naturally aligned with any and all groups who feel like they have been mistreated by Davidson Town Hall.

aShortChronicle reached out to Ms Evelyn Carr and Ms Daisy Raeford, two West Side community leaders who both happen to have Save Davidson signs in their yards to get their take on this whisper campaign.

Ms Carr is a lady full of history.  Talking with her is like getting the opportunity to go back in time and actually feel what Davidson was like over the course of decades past.  There are stories about people who helped the West Side community over the years as well as stories that are uncomfortable to hear.  When asked if she had heard the rumors directed at the Save Davidson group, Ms Carr acknowledged that she had, but when asked if she believed them, she quickly responded "No.  No, I don't."   When asked what she thought of the group she said, "They are trying to save Davidson."  She followed up by saying "I am going to stick with those people over on Delburg" giving a nod to the area just down the street from her house where Save Davidson got it's start.

Ms Raeford, another pillar of the West Side community, is also a walking history book about the town.  aShortChronicle has had the opportunity to speak with her several times over the years.  She had not heard the smear that Save Davidson was somehow against diversity or affordability, but she did have this to say about the group.  "We see what they are doing.  They're doing the right thing for everyone in Davidson."   As if to drive that point home, she added with another nod to the group's roots "These people over on Delburg are working!"

Yes, Save Davidson is working and working hard to effect positive, community oriented change.  Unfortunately, dealing with this kind of behaviour designed to keep the status quo in place is also part of that journey during the political season.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Just in time for election season...NewsOfDavidson.org launches

Two years ago when DavidsonNews.net shut down, there was an instant void in the hyper-local news scene for this town.  While aShortChronicle believes
one of the media's primary missions is to be the watchdog on government, that often doesn't seem to really work in the reality of local news.  The relationship between media and government is often pretty cozy, too cozy.

As an example of that coziness, when DavidsonNews.net ceased operations, those closest to Davidson Town Hall jumped to its aid.  The publication said its farewells on May 29, 2015.  On June 3nd, the below piece was posted to the site prior to it going dark.


Those are some big names around Davidson including the current Mayor (John Woods), a former Mayor (Randall Kincaid), and a former Commissioner (Carrie Johnston).  Jane Campbell wasn't a household political name around town at the time, but she is now - having run an unsuccessful campaign for a seat in the legislature in 2016 and now running for Davidson Town Board this year.

aShortChronicle told readers way back in July about the upcoming launch of the NewsOfDavidson.org site and Campbell's relationship to it.  Hers is the name on the paperwork for the web address and the non-profit backing the group.  At this point there is no indication the 2015 effort is the same as the current one, but it is interesting that Campbell's name shows up in both.

Regardless, the NewsOfDavidson.org site went live Friday morning, the day after the Save Davidson Mayoral forum.


The "Founding Donor" list for the operation found here  reads like a who's who of Davidson, so there is clearly support for the endeavor.   Interestingly however, it also includes groups in the Town Hall orbit such as the Davidson Housing Coalition, Davidson Learns, and the Davidson Lands Conservancy.  That list of connections among other names on the donor list makes it challenging to believe this new news operation will really shine the spotlight on Town Hall if needed.  Only time will tell on that, but as a hint of what we may expect check out this article from the new site.  It is on the list of local political forums this election season.

The first forum was done by Save Davidson just the night before.  It was an impressive event.  The NoD article the next day doesn't mention Save Davidson at all, and for that matter doesn't mention who is conducting any of the forums over the remainder of the election season.  The picture of the Mayoral candidates from the Save Davidson event also doesn't show any Save Davidson signs or banners which were prevalent.  Why?


When a news organization has as many connections to the local government as this one does right out of the gate, that question of "why" is going to need to be asked a lot on stories about Town Hall.

Don't worry though, aShortChronicle will always ask them.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Delay in West Branch detour

aShortChronicle previously reported about the 3-month detour as the West Branch neighborhood development rebuilds Robert Walker Drive between Davidson-Concord Rd and the Baily Springs neighborhood.

That detour was supposed to start this coming Monday, but has now been pushed back a week to September 25th.

Christina Shaul with the Town also wanted to pass along this additional information about the detour as it relates to pedestrian use.

"The developer is planning to build a temporary access point on the southern corner to allow pedestrians to get to the sidewalk they just built.  It will be built out of gravel until they complete the bypass storm pipe and road, then they can install the permanent concrete."

So, greenway users in River Run, Bradford, and elsewhere to the east get a bit of a reprieve this fall before having to use the "Big Sidewalk" along Davidson-Concord Rd.

Davidson Coffee Chat Monday...issues galore to discuss...

With so many things going on in town...Potts Street development, Beaty Street RFP, Griffith Street Hotel, Bonds and New Town Hall spending, Citizens should take every advantage of these coffee chats.


DAVIDSON, N.C. – The Town of Davidson Board of Commissioners invites all citizens to attend a Davidson Coffee Chat on Monday, September 18 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. at Davidson Town Hall, located at 216 South Main Street.  For the first 30 minutes, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools North Learning Community Superintendent Matt Hayes will discuss the proposed CMS bonds and Finance Director Pieter Swart will provide information about the Davidson general obligation bonds.  These bond referenda will be on the November 7, 2017 ballot.  The second half of the hour will be a Q&A period on all topics.

These coffee chats are informal meetings and are typically held the third Monday of the month to update citizens on issues and projects in the Town of Davidson.
Commissioners will provide citizens with coffee and tea.

We encourage all citizens to attend.  For more information, please contact Town Clerk Carmen Clemsic at cclemsic@townofdavidson.org or 704-940-9614.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

UPDATED: Exit 30 Hotel - The players...

The Exit 30 Hyatt Place Hotel project is controversial due to its location near schools and in an already congested area as well as being adjacent to a vulnerable neighborhood.  It also includes a web of players and associated individuals that reads like a who's who of Davidson development both past and present.  The paths of these individuals cross whether it be in business, in ideology, in Town Hall, or in just being neighbors in a small town.  That is probably to be expected in a town the size of Davidson.  However, when people along every step of the process have this many interactions it can lead to a degree of group think, and that can lead to flawed decisions.

Here is the roster...

The Developer - Beacon IMG group led by Nish Patel is a hospitality development firm whose portfolio includes the Homewood Suites in Davidson.

The Land Owner - The land for the project is owned by an entity named Davidson Common East Condominium Associates LLC.  This LLC names R Martin Kerr of Davidson as manager.

The Former Land Owner - The current LLC bought the land from an Five Six Five LLC in 2008 for $1.65m.  See here and here.  Five Six Five LLC lists Ed Harris as its manager.  This LLC still owns the land on which the Community School of Davidson K-7 building sits just across Davidson Gateway Drive.

The Attorney - Local Davidson real-estate attorney Susan Irvin has been involved in multiple transactions around this property.  See here and here.  She is also representing the Hotel project team in its interactions with the town.

The Former Banker - People's Bank is the bank listed in deed related documents for this property.  People's is Mayor John Woods's former employer.  When the Woodies project went through in 2013.  Woods signed off on the sale for Peoples.  See here on page 3.

The Architect - Dave Malushizky of the RBA Group is listed as the architect on the project.  Malushizky is formerly of the Lawrence Group.  The Davidson office of Lawrence Group has closed, but that office had long-standing ties to Town Hall.  See here for that background.

The Consultant - Craig Lewis of Stantec.  Lewis was contacted for the traffic study required for the project.  Lewis is also a former Lawrence Group alum.  See here for more on that.

The Town Attorney - Town Attorney Cindy Reid wrote a legal opinion favorable for this project.  See here for that.

The Former Town Attorney - Public records show Former Town Attorney Rick Kline was at least consulted on the opinion produced by Reid.  Also, per a public records request Kline has recently been involved in a separate deal with the same land owner.

The Land Planner - While not involved in the hotel project directly, Commissioner Brian Jenest's land planning firm has been involved in earlier proposed projects to develop this land.  See here.  Commissioner Jenest's firm also worked on the Homewood Suites when it was built.  See here.   Commissioner Jenest's firm and Susan Irvin mentioned above are often seen working on the same projects around Davidson, Potts Street and Davidson Depot to name a couple.  They have also worked together on a similarly controversial hotel plan in Cornelius.  See here for that.

Monday, September 11, 2017

More impacts from West Branch development ...section of Robert Walker Drive to close for 3 months

Last week, aShortChronicle told readers about the new roads going in at the West Branch develoment and the "March of the Dump Trucks" underway.  Monday AM the Town of Davidson posted the below regarding why the particular section of road being completed is being done first.

Starting Monday, September 18 (weather-permitting), Robert Walker Drive between the intersection of Davidson-Concord Road and the greenway crossing (just before entering into the Bailey Springs neighborhood) will be closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic for three months, as part of the WestBranch development construction process.
During this time, vehicular traffic will be routed onto WestBranch Parkway (a new road created by the developer) – please see area highlighted in yellow below.  Pedestrian traffic will be able to access the greenway using the new sidewalk along Davidson-Concord Road from the intersection of Robert Walker Drive (see area highlighted in blue below). 
“With the traffic pattern change, drivers will need to slow down for the adjustment, and be cognizant of school bus traffic and pedestrians that will be traveling in this area,” said Davidson Police Chief Penny Dunn. “We want to ensure that all of our citizens are safe during this construction period.”


aShortChronicle sent some follow-up questions to the town regarding this notice.  Here is what Christina Shaul had to say.

Q: Will the big sidewalk be completed from Robert Walker down to the new road prior to this?  A:Yes, the multiuse path will be complete from Robert Walker to the greenway, crossing over the new road, West Branch Parkway.

Q: Will any sidewalk be completed along the new road down to where it intersects with Robert Walker prior to the closing? A:Not prior to the closing of Robert Walker. There is to be sidewalk on both sides of this section of the parkway and as townhomes are constructed, the sidewalk on the development side will be completed commensurate. The sidewalk on the outer side of the parkway will likely be installed nearer to completion of this section, to ensure it isn’t damaged as construction is ongoing.

Q: When did the town first learn about this closure? A: This closing was discussed during the Master Plan process; we hoped that it would have occurred over the summer, when school was not in session. Due to a delay in the construction drawing phase, this closure got delayed as well.

Below is a drawing from the Master Plan showing a cross section of the impacted section of Robert Walker once done.


Also, if you are curious about the term "multiuse path" in the answe to the first question. Here is another picture.  As far as aShortChronicle can tell, "multiuse path" and "big sidewalk" are the exact same thing.  However, the term multiuse path does sound much cooler and more important.  So cool and more important in fact that multiuse paths are the sigle biggest category of items in this year's overall $15 million bond proposal.


Friday, September 8, 2017

Expansion plans in the works for The Pines

aShortChronicle recently obtained information indicating something was in the works on expanding one of Davidson's crown jewels, The Pines.  If you are unfamiliar with where The Pines is located, it is on Avinger Lane off of Pine Road.

The Pines was contacted and David Rainey, Vice President and Director of Financial Services, was good enough to provide the below response.  Plan schematic at the bottom


The Pines at Davidson
Statement Regarding 2017 Amended Master Plan
September 8, 2017

Pines at Davidson opened its doors in 1988 and is one of North Carolina's most respected continuing care retirement communities.  Founded by friends and members of Davidson College Presbyterian Church, The Pines welcomes all faiths, races and nationalities. As a not-for-profit community, revenue after expenses is used to strengthen the organization and to further its mission. The Pines is financially strong -- one of only approximately 25 retirement communities nationwide that have earned a Fitch credit rating of ‘A-‘ or higher. 

The Pines project started in 1986 pursuant to a special use permit issued by the Town of Davidson.  The original plan approved the property for use as a continuing care retirement community including but not limited to independent living residences, nursing and assisted living units and community space to accommodate dining, activities, gathering areas and wellness and fitness programs. 

A master plan for an expansion of The Pines was approved by the Town of Davidson in 2003, though a number of the nursing beds, assisted living beds, common areas and independent living residences shown on the 2003 master plan have not been constructed. 

However, changing industry trends and consumer preferences since 2003 warrant some adjustments to the original plan which is why The Pines elected to amend its 2003 plan. The Pines’ amended master plan addresses the need for improvements in health care facilities, amenities and additional residential units that respond to these changing trends and preferences.  It allows The Pines the ability to react to those changing demands within the scope of its mission.

The amended plan will enable The Pines to:

  • Replace its existing nursing unit to provide larger nursing rooms with private showers, larger windows, more storage and include common areas with kitchens that reflect a more residential neighborhood design;
  • Add additional space in the Community Center to transition from predominantly one dining venue to four dining venues to provide greater variety for our residents;
  • Add additional fitness and wellness space; and
  • Add new independent living residences with more modern floor plans that can be constructed incrementally over time, if at all, based upon future need. 

Number of Residents

The Pines currently has approximately 400 residents.  In the original 2003 master plan, we estimated The Pines could have as many as 500 residents if fully built out.  In the 2017 amended master plan, we estimate, if fully built out, The Pines could have up to approximately 525 residents, a relatively small increase over the 2003 estimate but with much improved facilities.

These numbers assume single and double occupancy rates which reflect our actual experience.  Dependent care residents who reside in the nursing and assisted living units are all single occupants and do not live in “residential units”. 

It is important to note that any growth in residents will be incremental over time as elements of the amended master plan are constructed in separate phases over many years.

Construction Costs

The Pines is not able to provide a cost estimate at this very early stage in our planning as we have not fully defined the scope and feasibility of exactly what the next expansion might include.  We expect implementation of this amended plan to be incremental over the course of many years.  In fact, it is possible some elements of the plan may never be constructed based on changing needs and requirements in the future. 

Ad Valorem Taxes

The Pines’ campus is exempt from ad valorem taxes under the North Carolina General Statutes. However, The Pines makes an annual voluntary contribution to the Town of Davidson in an amount at least equal to what ad valorem taxes would be assessed on its improvements.

This practice will continue for any improvements constructed in accordance with the 2017 amended master plan.

Schedule

Because we are in the very early stages of planning, there are simply too many variables for us to project a timetable. 

Based upon similar projects undertaken in the past, we anticipate that it will take several years to complete the planning process and construction once a specific project scope is defined.



#Exit30Hotel Public hearing on Tuesday Davidson Board agenda

Davidson's Board is set to hold the required public hearing next Tuesday, September 12th for the controversial proposal to place a hotel next to CSD and across from Davidson Day on Griffith Street.

Check out the agenda item materials here.

While a number of conditions are set in these documents, many are only partially agreed to by the developer.  Disturbingly, none of the conditions reflect the very real safety concerns of putting a hotel use next to an elementary/middle school.  In fact, this aspect of safety is not addressed at all in the staff analysis.

As was shown in this previous post researching similar situations, approving this proposal without seriously addressing these safety concerns (some of which are demonstrated as being unaddressable) would place Davidson, and specifically any Commissioner voting for this proposal, seriously out of step with how these situations are normally handled.

To call that irresponsible would be an understatement.

You can see the whole agenda here.

A protest of multiple issues including the hotel is being planned nedin conjunction with this meeting.


West Branch roads going in...march of the dump trucks begins

The new roads for the West Branch neighborhood showed up on the county Polaris site this week.

North End

South End

And no sooner did those lines appear on the map, than dozens of dump trucks stated showing up at West Branch to dump gravel late into the evening.

Nothing like trying to have a an enjoyable after dinner walk to the sweet sounds of a symphony of reverse alarm horn blasts.





Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Human trafficking, hotels, and school safety

This post will make you uncomfortable.  If you read the below slides and watch the linked videos, you'll learn more facts about the subject of human trafficking than you care to know.  It is not a subject most people would want to investigate, but with the Town of Davidson looking at a proposal for a new hotel next to one school and across from another, it is one that needs investigating.

Many parents are concerned with what a hotel in such close proximity to a school could mean.  Hotels often bring out bad behaviour in people, even nice hotels, so having one so close to schools is worrisome.  In an effort to learn more aShortChronicle contacted "The Guardian Group".  This is a non-profit in Washington State dedicated to combating sex trafficking.  Here's how this group describes itself on its website.

"Guardian Group is a “Team of Teams,” comprised of former special operations military, law enforcement and intelligence community professionals, working to end sex trafficking in the United States. Our team has experience leading organizations within the United States Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice. While the rescue and recovery of children is paramount, our offensive advantage enables us to disrupt the exploitation cycle before rescue becomes necessary."

aShortChronicle asked GG what they thought about placing a hotel near schools in Davidson, an "affluent suburban college town just north of Charlotte".  Alex Dugan, Lead Engagements Officer, replied with the following.  

"Sex trafficking is a risk for unsuspecting children. The first thought that comes to mind when reading your email is the controversy of placing a hotel across the street from an elementary school while also in close proximity to another private school. Many people believe that sex trafficking is an issue found in other countries, but in reality, it is all around us in the US. Over 300,000 youth, both boys and girls, are bought and sold across the nation each year. Sex Trafficking is a 150-billion-dollar criminal industry and is the fastest growing crime in the United States. I guarantee that there are children, right now, being sold for sex in the community in which you live.

Sadly, much of this illicit activity occurs within hotels. Pimps favor hotels because it is thought to be relatively anonymous with minimal liability. No matter the size of your town, sex sells and sex trafficking is very real. Having a hotel in such close proximity to two schools, places children at unnecessary risk. They could potentially have unwanted contact with a potential predator. The accepted stats state that the average victim lured into trafficking in the United States is 12-14 years old."

12 -14 years old is the same age as the middle schoolers who will be right next door.

What also drew aShortChronicle to Guardian Group was its training program  designed specifically for the hotel industry.  GG provided the below deck as an example of the program content.  Click to enlarge.


People who want to look the other way on this issue might say to themselves after reading the above "well, that can't happen here, not in Davidson.  Plus, this is a high end hotel chain being proposed.  That will prevent bad things from occurring."  Anyone who thinks that should ask themselves what types of hotel chains would pay for this kind of training?  Do they really think it is just the lowest of low-end establishments?
No, according to a follow up conversation with Dugan, the training is designed for all hotels because hotels regardless of brand have to deal with this issue.

So, the planning question to ask in Davidson is this.  Is it really a good idea to put a commercial use next to a school when that specific commercial use even has to concern itself with a training program like the one presented here.  It is a use that has the potential to attract predators to the immediate area, so why would you even consider putting it near a school?

If one still wants to put their head in the sand, saying this can't happen here in Davidson, watch the below videos.  These are by a man named Bo Quickel.  Quickle is with an organization named Vigilante Truth.  It is an organization based in the Lake Norman Area that also fights human trafficking.

Click to watch video

In this video posted in January of this year, Mr Quickel is speaking to the Charlotte Rotary Club.  Watch the whole video, but notice what he says starting at minute 3 about the group's intervention efforts at regional hotels "including the Lake Norman region". You can watch more of Quickel's comments to the Rotary Club here.

These next three videos are also worth watching.  In these videos Quickel is speaking to officials in Rowan County. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Still think it can't happen locally?  Take a look at the below graphic from the National Human Trafficking Hotline provided via the Polaris Project.  This map is from its 2016 Hotline report for North Carolina.  The Polaris Project is based in Washington DC and is yet another organization committed to combating human trafficking.  Take a look at the dots between Charlotte and Statesville right on I77.  Where do those look like they are located?  Right in Davidson's own back yard.  That's where.


So, what is the point of all this information?  Won't people just call it fear mongering?

Well, those who support Davidson Town Hall at all costs certainly may.  Those who benefit from this project either directly or indirectly almost certainly will.  However, those people can go pound sand if that's the case.  Posting this information isn't for their benefit, and it isn't being presented to say another hotel should never be built in town.  Hotels have their place.  That place just isn't right next to schools.

This is an important decision, and it involves the safety of children.  It is not just another academic exercise in the Planning Department at Davidson Town Hall.  It isn't about a few extra tax dollars in town coffers.  To date, public discussion of this aspect of safety for this proposed project has been woefully inadequate.   It's as if Town Hall is avoiding the subject because it is uncomfortable.  It is definitely that, but that's the job they signed up to do.  They need to do it.

The best and most certain way to handle this risk is to simply vote down this proposal.

Monday, September 4, 2017

“Save Davidson” Citizen Group Plans S.H.I.N.E. 2 Event for September 7

With Labor Day here and election season now "officially" underway, Save Davidson is keeping the momentum going after an atypically active summer in local politics.  Here is the press release for the group's next event.

DAVIDSON, NC – “Save Davidson,” a citizen group fighting the development of the Beaty Street Property is hosting its second S.H.I.N.E. event from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, September 7, at D9 Brewing Company, 11138 Treynorth Drive, Cornelius. The public is invited. There will be a cash bar along with A Worthy Dog food truck.

S.H.I.N.E. (Sharing Helpful Information Now with Everyone) will include updates on numerous issues around the town such as the Beaty Street Property, the hotel on Griffith, the Potts development, West Branch/Greenway, and the Rural Area Plan. One of the most recent announcements from “Save Davidson” was the appraisal from Valbridge Property Advisory/John Bosworth and Associates that valued the Beaty Street Property at $4.6 million. This is a stark difference from the town’s most recent appraisal of $1.77 million.

“The S.H.I.N.E. event is a response to the tremendous citizen interest in how business is conducted in Davidson,” says Denise Beall, one of the organizers of “Save Davidson.” “The proposed development of the Beaty Street Park Property has really struck a nerve across Davidson. We hope to continue to inform, educate and involve citizens and this event is designed to do that.”

Along those lines, “Save Davidson” encourages all citizens to remain engaged. “The September 12 board meeting is another important one for citizens to attend,” says Beall.

In addition to brief updates at the S.H.I.N.E. event, “Save Davidson” will share how they plan to be involved in the upcoming elections.

“We want people to have the chance to learn more and also have some fun,” added Beall. “Citizen input is critical and this is a chance for people to meet their neighbors and continue to build community.”

“Save Davidson” started as a Facebook page (now with 1,700+ members) and has coalesced into a group of citizens who is working to shine light on what they view as a disregard of a contract, betrayal of public trust, flawed process, lack of transparency, failure to include and acknowledge citizen input on publicly owned land along with increased traffic, loss of tree canopy and open space, and adverse effects to water and air quality.

Find more information at www.savedavidson.org. Follow Save Davidson on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Receive updates via e-mail; write savedavidson@gmail.com to add your name to the list.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Damage to greenway next to West Branch development likely just beginning


Facebook around Davidson was covered Saturday with people posting pictures of the mud and downed trees making the greenway by the new West Branch development all but impassable after Friday evening's storms.

Several downed trees crossed the greenway at different places and had been parially cleared by 10am, but the mud  was slippery and dangerous.  That situation remained the same by mid afternoon.




aShortChronicle took the below pictures which show multiple of the downed trees were just inside the minimal buffer between the construction barrier and the greenway.  These are the roots of one tree in the 2nd picture.   A couple of the roots appear cut.




Now take a look all the other trees right by the construction fence.






This giant dual-trunked sycamore near Husdon Place leaning over the greenway now looks particularly vulnerable.  Not only is it right near the fencing, but it is sitting in a pool of water.



These trees did not come down Friday night, but it is hard to imagine their roots weren't damaged just like the ones that did.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

DPD getting ready for more enforcement of pedestrian safety laws

The Davidson police department was on site at the Farmers Market Saturday AM handing out information on the Watch for Me NC initiative. It is a program for increasing awareness of pedestrian and bicycle safety laws. A stack of handouts was also left at the register inside Summit Coffee.

Read the below. Watch out. Don't be a jaywalker.

Or, you might just be the first one to get a ticket in the coming days.