Monday, April 23, 2018

The Lingle Hut- Restoring a piece of history and a piece of community

It’s not often that a town has the opportunity to restore not only a piece of history, but also a piece of the community.  The Lingle Hut, part of Reeves Temple AME Zion church in Davidson, is one of those opportunities.

Cornelius Commissioner Kurt Naas has been working on gathering support for the project, and aShortChronicle reached out to see what information he might be able to provide.  Here's what Naas was able to pass along.

“The Hut”, as the congregation refers to it, was built in 1932 as part of Mill Chapel (later renamed Unity Church).  From the Great Depression to the 1960’s the church served blue collar workers on Davidson’s west side. In true Davidson fashion it was built by the community- no contractor, no architect.  Men cut timber and women stripped bark, and in the depths of the Great Depression they built something that lasted nearly a century.

It was known as the “Unity Hut” until Reeves Temple bought the site in 1966 with help from the son of former Davidson College President Walter Lingle. The younger Lingle donated funds with one condition: that the Unity Hut be named in honor of his father.

For the next fifty years the Lingle Hut served as the social hall for Reeves Temple. As the congregation aged and children moved away membership declined, and the Hut fell into disrepair. It has been unusable since 2014 and is in danger of collapse.

Built in a “rustic revival” style of architecture, the Lingle Hut is one of only five such structures remaining in Mecklenburg County. Recognizing this, the Mecklenburg Historical Landmarks Commission designated it an “historically significant” site in 2007.

Naas became aware of the plight of the Lingle Hut through Lela Johnson, a 90-year-old Davidson native a lifelong member of Reeves Temple. Johnson, along with the rest of the congregants, would very much like to see this key part of their past restored for the benefit of future generations.

Naas and his wife Maria are assisting with publicity because they feel it represents a unique opportunity to restore not just a piece of history but also a piece of community.

“For decades the Hut was used by lifelong Davidson residents,” Naas said. “It was built by the Davidson community in the middle of the Great Depression. We hope the Davidson community will once again come together to restore it.”

For those interested in helping, Reeves Temple will be holding a kickoff meeting at the church on 219 Watson Street on Sunday, April 29th from 4-5pm  See this Facebook event for more details.








Saturday, April 21, 2018

Davidson IB School-Public Facilities transition starting to take shape

On of the controversial items left over from the previous Davidson Board was the idea of spending millions on a new Town Hall and public safety facilities without putting the decision before the voters.

Fortunately for taxpayers who absolutely deserve a right to vote on this type of large expenditure, the new Board put that idea on hold for 90 days while it investigated other options.  Now, a little mote than 60 days into that "pause" details of a new plan to possibly sign a long term lease with CMS and revitalize the old Davidson IB School on South Street turning it into Town and CMS offices is starting to take shape.

This coming Tuesday, Creech and Associates will present options for this plan at the Board Work Session.  Here are the 2 main proposals:




Costs for these options will not be presented but according to the documents available, they will also consider renovations to the gymnasium on the site. That would be a significantly positive addition to the original plans for puting these facilities on Main Street.

The next steps in the schedule are:

  • April 24, 2018 Creech and Associates present results of Phase I: "test-fit" sketches. Consider funding for Phase II. 
  • May 22, 2018 Creech and Associates present results of Phase II: mechanical/structural assessments for board information. 
  • June 12, 2018 Creech/Edifice present preliminary cost estimate for renovation of IB School and gym, and enlarged renovation of existing town hall. Board considers adoption of three resolutions for GO Bond referendum: 1) to publish notice of intent, 2) to apply to LGC, and 3) to accept findings of fact. (The resolutions are not a final decision on GO Bonds, just advance work in case the board approves the referendum in August)
After several more steps in addition to those outlined above, this would set the stage for a GO Bond vote in November to advance the project.  Assuming all deadlines are met for a November bond vote and that they pass, preliminary construction dates would have renovations on the South Street site complete by June 2020 with the existing Town Hall renovated for public safety by April 2021.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Developer fights citizens defending their homes as Griffith Hotel lawsuit moves forward

Plaintiffs seeking to reverse the lame duck decision by former Commissioners Beth Cashion, Rodney Graham, Brian Jenest and Stacey Anderson approving a new hotel on Griffith Street had their first day in court on Tuesday.  At an afternoon hearing, motions were heard on efforts by both sides to jockey for position ahead of a motion for a "judgement on the pleadings" now set for May 22nd.

Three motions were heard Tuesday.

Plaintiffs sought to have the case designated as "exceptional" which would allow the case to be heard in its entirety by a single judge rather than having the various proceedings heard by different judges.  There is a shortage of such judges to handle these exceptional cases and therefore this motion was denied - a not unexpected outcome under the circumstances.

Defendant Nish Patel, the developer, sought to have himself removed from the case individually, while his firm Beacon IMG remains as a defendant.  Patel was listed separately as a defendant due to how some paperwork was signed during the zoning process being contested. The judge allowed this removal with conditions, but at this time it is unclear if those conditions will be met.  In any event, like the first motion this has no bearing on the merits of the case.

The third motion involved the addition of new plaintiffs to the case.  As regular readers will remember, 24 plaintiffs filed originally from the Westside and Spinnaker Cove neighborhoods.  Residents in these neighborhoods are concerned about a hotel that will loom over their backyards, negatively impacting home values and their quality of life.

The original complaint was filed on the last day possible under NC law.  The statute of limitations in North Carolina zoning cases is extremely short.  At just 60 days, it is among the shortest for bringing civil actions.  This compressed timeframe unsurprisingly resulted in some residents wishing to join after filing.

While these added plaintiffs could have been allowed, in a disappointing move that again does not speak to the merits of the case, the developer's attorney sought to have these additional plaintiffs thrown out.  It's a move that does little but rub salt in the wound of people trying to defend their homes.  After both sides made their arguments and cited cases in their favor, Judge Hugh Lewis decided not to allow the addition of new plaintiffs in this one.

Tuesday's actions did not change the general direction of the case one way or the other, but the move to disallow new plaintiffs did show the developer's willingness to fight mercilessly for what it wants - a hotel very few people in town see as appropriate for that location.

The next scheduled court date is May 22nd.  Stay tuned for more details on this story as they emerge.  If you are interested in donating to support the plaintiffs and Davidson's small town character, click HERE.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Town of Davidson’s Earth Day Fair this Saturday, April 21st (press release)

DAVIDSON, N.C. –The Town of Davidson and the Green Davidson community group invite citizens to the Earth Day Fair on Saturday, April 21 from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the Davidson Farmer’s Market (behind Summit Coffee and adjacent to town hall). Earth Day is celebrated annually around the world on April 22.

The Earth Day fair will include an E-Waste Recycling Drive to benefit E2D. The mission of E2D is to ensure all students have access to essential technology at home. This is a student-led community service project working to bridge the electronic divide through recycling. Bring your laptop computers, cell phones, and printers to donate for this great cause. Televisions and monitors will not be accepted at this event.

The Earth Day fair will feature:

  • Local beekeeper: learn about Davidson’s Bee City USA designation and how native plants support pollinators
  • TreesDavidson’s efforts and partnerships to preserve the tree canopy and plant new trees
  • Wipe Out Waste recycling and hazardous waste information for Mecklenburg County
  • Davidson Green School’s aquaponic greenhouse system Q&A and food donation efforts
  • Davidson Parks and Recreation vehicle, the ELF bike: Electric, Light, Fun
  • Local Author Tia Capers: celebrate her book, Nadia's Green Day Festival, with some coloring fun An E-Waste Recycling Drive to benefit E2D (see details above)
  • Children’s activities throughout the fair: Davidson Lands Conservancy’s World of Wonder booth with the N.C. National Wildlife Federation, face painting, and more

Support the Bike/Walk to the Market Challenge by traveling “carbon free” or taking public transit to the event. You’ll earn a Farmer’s Market Buck. Stop by the Green Davidson booth for your prize.

Visit the Davidson Parks and Recreation booth for more information about National Bike Month in May – several local events are scheduled:

  • Bike/Walk to Town Day (May 5)
  • Bike to School (May 9)
  • Lake Norman Bike Expo and Community Ride (May 12)
  • National Bike to Work Week (May 14 – 18)
  • Family Bike Ride – Spirited Cyclist Bike Shop at 6:00 pm (May 17)
  • Davidson Tour de Trees (May 26)

Visit www.townofdavidson.org/bikemonth to learn more about National Bike Month events. Register for the community bike ride or Tour de Trees at www.townofdavidson.org/dpr.

Please call Davidson Parks and Recreation at 704-892-3349 for more information.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Updates from The Egg

BY MELISSA ATHERTON

“You need to be here; it’s important. It’s important to be engaged.” -Mayor Rusty Knox

Town of Davidson community members, elected officials and staff had a lively dialogue at The Egg on Monday night. Affordable housing, IB School/Town Hall renovation, Ten-Foot Paths, asbestos, Potts Development and the Potts/Sloan/Beaty Connection (PSB) were hot topics, but the watershed text amendments stole the spotlight.

  • A citizen asked if there is a more simple way to address affordable housing. Commissioner Jane Campbell said the board is looking at many different ways to use the money from developers who make payments in lieu of building affordable homes. 
  • Commissioners Matthew Fort and Campbell said the town is in discussions with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) about using the old IB School on South Street for Town Hall space. One possibility is a long-term lease.
  • Several Potts Street residents said they received notices in the mail from a Raleigh attorney who is seeking to represent them in the “taking” (eminent domain) of their front yards for the proposed ten-foot multi-use path. Campbell said that she would request at least 30 days notice, allowing public comment, before the board considered the path. Town Manager Jamie Justice said engineers are working on the design phase that may be completed in spring or summer.
  • Several citizens expressed concern that the PSB connection at Potts/Sloan would disturb asbestos.
  • A citizen questioned the logic of allowing the Potts Development (approximately 300 apartments) to be approved, whereas the development depends on NCDOT Projects U-5873 and U-5907, which may or may not happen. She said that even when the two projects were included in the Transportation Impact Analysis (TIA), the project still failed at several intersections. She asked what would happen if the toll road project was completed and the contract was deleted -- whether the I-77 Toll Road Bonus Allocation funds would then disappear. Fort said they do not know what would happen. Justice said Crescent is still disagreeing with the town about the TIA results.
  • A citizen asked that the board only vote on the county-driven watershed text amendments (rather than town planning staff-driven text amendments). Fort said that was something to consider. The citizen said there are nearly 30 text amendments and it would be concerning for the board to vote on all 30 as package deal. She said some of the text amendments are by omission. She provided an example: the requirement for a wet detention pond in the critical watershed is omitted, which would permit a project like Crescent/Potts Development to build more density.

A citizen gave a presentation on the proposed watershed text amendments:

WATERSHED 

W - West Side Properties will be devalued.
A - Area (Built Upon Area) is 24% for single-family homes and 50% for high density developers.
T - The single-family homeowner can only build on 24% of their property (the number includes the OVERHANG of their roof!) The mill homes were not designed to last over 100 years. The text amendments are unfair to the mill home homeowners.
E - An example is on Delburg. A 700 square-foot home is surrounded by new, large, well-over 24% impervious, 3,300 square foot homes. The long-standing homeowner (30 years!) will only be able to build a tiny house with an attached garage.
R - Real estate. Will the West Side homeowners pay lower taxes after the Town of Davidson devalues their homes?
S - Single-family homeowners can only build on 24% of their property, but developers can build on 50%.
H - Heads up! Does anyone know about this? Have you sent a notice? Have you sent an email? Have you held information sessions?
E - Egregious, disastrous change for the West Side!
D - This will encourage new, high-density development that does not fit with the character of mill home neighborhoods.

Quotable Moments

“The text amendments were written by attorneys, for attorneys.” 
-A citizen was concerned about the effect of text amendments on the West Side

“All of us are excited about this, but we aren’t leaning over to the point of tipping over.” 
 -Commissioner Campbell regarding the potential use of the former IB School for Town Hall

“The lawyers think there has been a decision.”
-A citizen received an attorney notification, seeking to represent her in the “taking” of her front yard for a ten-foot path

“How are you gonna widen that road with the asbestos...I’ve been here all my life and we’ve lost a lot of people to that asbestos.” 
-A citizen questioned the safety of the PSB construction

“We don’t know what we don’t know.”
-Commissioner Fort responded to the question of funding for U-5873 (Roundabout at the YMCA) and U-5907 (Connection at Potts/Sloan) if the toll road is completed and the contract is deleted

“Amendments are a really big part of this town.”
-A citizen expressed concern about the watershed text amendments

“If the staff is driving this, we need to take a step back.”
-A citizen wondered if the text amendments were driven by the county, staff or elected officials

Griffith Hotel: Where do Davidson's corporate citizens stand?

From WSOCTV News
Channel 9 News did a story last week that shows in stark terms what the proposed new hotel on Griffith Street means to nearby residents.

It means putting a hotel over someone's back yard looking at their child's swing set.

It means increased gentrification and pressure on a vulnerable neighborhood.

It means forcing citizens to be pitted against the town they love.

And why is this being done?  Of course the answer is money.  It is always money.

Immediately after the November 14th lame duck approval by Davidson's outgoing Board, hotel developer Nish Patel was quoted by Bisnow.com on why his firm was interested in Davidson.

Beacon President Nish Patel said his company is focused heavily on hospitality in Davidson in particular, as its high barrier to entry means competitors will have a harder time breaking into the market.

"That makes it more exciting for us because it’s more of a protected investment,” Patel said. “If you go into another market and there’s plenty of land everywhere, and they are pretty loose on the zoning, then we wouldn’t have interest — because that means as soon as we build, somebody else will come in and build something else.”

So, let's be really clear.  This hotel has nothing to do with walkability or land use or parking standards or any of the other nonsense the Davidson Planning Department and former Commissioners would have you believe.  It has nothing to do with doing what is right for the town or its citizens.

It is about protecting a developer's investment.

Patel goes on to say in the Bisnow piece...

“Davidson is a unique market where there’s multiple demand-generators,” Patel said. “There’s not much competition in that space, which is wonderful for us.


By "demand generators", the developer means Davidson's corporate citizens:  Davidson College, MSC, Sherwin-Williams, Ingersoll Rand, and Lowes.  These are the entities where the developer plans to mine his money.  In fact, the developer's zoning attorney used many of these institutions in her sales pitch to the Town to gain the project's approval.

Now that it is clear what this hotel means to the community and why the developer wants it so badly, do these corporate citizens stand behind it?  Do they stand for hotel guests overlooking swing sets?  Do they stand for gentrification?  All to put more money in a developer's pocket?

The PR departments of these types of institutions don't like answering these types of questions.  They say things like "XYZ Corp does not take a position on local zoning matters."  The time for that is over.  The developer has used them repeatedly as his reason for this hotel in this location.  The public deserves to know if these institutions approve of that and support the outcomes of this project.

Now is the time for Davidson College, MSC, Sherwin-Williams, Ingersoll Rand, and Lowes to answer.  Do they support this hotel in this location knowing the consequences of their support?  Will they commit to not using the new Hyatt Place if it is built?

Please contact these entities at the below addresses and ask them.  Let them know their silence is acceptance and that that is no longer acceptable.  Be polite, but let them know you as citizens of the town are watching for their response.

Jay Pfeifer, Media Relations at Davidson College
Paul Mason, Director Corporate Communications at MSC Direct
Misty Zelent, Director External Communications at Ingersoll Rand
Jaclyn Pardini Hartzell, Director of Public Relations Lowes
Mike Conway, Director of Corporate Communications at Sherwin-Williams

japfeifer@davidson.edu
paul.mason@mscdirect.com
jaclyn.pardini@lowes.com
mzelent@irco.com
mike.conway@sherwin.com

Also, as reported earlier, the new Davidson Board of Commissioners is on record in the Town's court filings saying they were "opposed to the decision to approve the application for a conditional amendment to the master plan for a hotel".  Citizens should ask the current Board to pass a resolution or take some other concrete step to ensure our local businesses and institutions know this location is not what is good for the town.

The entire Board can be reached at Board@townofdavidson.org.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Application period open for Beaty Park Task Force (press release)

DAVIDSON, N.C. – Are you interested in getting involved in shaping the future of the approximately 19 acres of town-owned land of Beaty Street? Here's your chance: The Town of Davidson is now accepting applications for appointments the “Park at Beaty Street Task Force.”

At its April 10 meeting, the Davidson Board of Commissioners established a “Park at Beaty Street Task Force.” The board of commissioners will accept applications to serve on the citizen task force through April 30 and will make appointments to the citizen task force in early May.

The group is charged with the following:

  • Sponsor public forums to solicit community input and identify recreational needs
  • Identify and evaluate all assets on-site
  • Investigate park and recreation elements needed, including walking trails and other amenities
  • Consider ancillary uses as appropriate, respecting historic character of surrounding parcels
  • Develop planning level cost estimates for the various options to help in setting priorities and developing financing plans
  • Evaluate each option on the basis of capital and operational costs, potential impacts on the natural environment, potential revenues, recreational needs and effect on programs
  • Meet with the Davidson Board of Commissioners for review and comment before making final recommendations
  • Make recommendations for the consideration of the Davidson Board of Commissioners

For more information and to apply, please visit www.townofdavidson.org/ParkatBeatyStTF.

Kathryn Spatz, Parks & Recreation Director for the town, will serve as primary staff liaison for the task force. Please contact Kathryn at 704-940-9644, kspatz@townofdavidson.org for more information regarding the task force’s work and schedule.

Dueling Davidson Town Hall events on Monday - Coffee Chat and Mobility Plan meetings

Davidson Town Hall will be coordinating two events Monday evening that both interest citizens.

There will be a meeting at Town Hall as part of the Mobility Plan work currently underway as well as an evening version of the Coffee Chat with elected officials at The Egg.

The Mobility Plan meeting starts at 6pm and will cover: Innovative Technology and Transit. Attendees will hear a presentations on innovative transportation technology, the offerings of the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), and an update on the Davidson trolley. After the presentation, there will be a question and answer session.  That's per the press release put out by Town Hall.  If readers are interested in bikesharing they may want to attend this one as that would likely fall under the "innovative" category and per previous inquiries with Town Hall, assessing bikesharing will be a part of the Mobility Plan.

The Coffee Chat meeting starts at 630pm at The Egg.  These monthly informal meetings held on the 3rd Monday with elected officials allow citizens an opportunity to interact directly with their representatives.  These events have often become well attended and lively discussions over the past year as the town has worked through some controversial topics.

Both events will be live streamed and available for viewing at a later date via the Town website.  Per the Town, efforts will be made in the future to avoid these scheduling conflicts.

Davidson hosts successful Food Trucks event at Beaver Dam house

Davidson Town Hall rarely uses the Town owned Beaver Dam property off of Davidson-Concord Rd for community events, favoring the Town Green in downtown for such things.  That changed Friday night with the inaugural "Food Truck Jam at Beaver Dam" held at the property.

While there were some logistical problems with a couple of the vendors (something not unexpected for a first time event), it would be hard to describe the evening as anything but a major success.


BBQ and Crabcake vendors were on hand as well as beer provided from Seven Lakes brewery.  Entertainment was provided by Davidson Mayor Rusty Knox on guitar.

Over the course of the evening it appeared a few to several hundred people cycled through the event which was more than expected.  Parking was available on site, across Davidson-Concord Rd at a small lot in the new West Branch development, and at the lot by the soccer field at the entrance to River Run.  It was also a rare walkable event for people in neighborhoods like Bradford, Bailey Springs, Westmoreland Farm and parts of River Run.

In a brief conversation with Knox in between sets, it was clear he was pleased with how the event turned out.  It is unclear at this point how often more of these might take place, but it could be as frequent as every other week, weather, scheduling, and continued enthusiasm permitting.

Here are some pics of the evening.  Apologies for the blurry low-light smart phone photos.






Friday, April 13, 2018

Hotel lawsuit...Day in Court delayed, Town files response to claims

aShortChronicle told readers earlier this week that yesterday (Thursday) would be the hotel lawsuit's first day in court and that there was also a hearing scheduled for next week as well.  Well, life happens (even to judges), and yesterday's hearing was delayed due to Judge Lisa Bell unexpectedly not being able to be in court Thursday morning.

That means the issues scheduled for yesterday will now be heard at the previously scheduled hearing for this coming Tuesday.  At this time the Court calendar does not indicate which judge will be hearing motions next week.

Yesterday did see the Town finally file its response to the plaintiffs claims.  The response was filed by Town Attorney Cindy Reid.  Reid was also the attorney on hand yesterday representing the Town at the hearing before it was cancelled.  A copy of the Town response has been obtained by aShortChronicle.  Here, there is some interesting information.  In its opening statement, the Town says...

"The current Board of Commissioners are opposed to the decision to approve the application for a conditional amendment to the master plan for a hotel"

While a detailed analysis of the response will take time, the Town response does admit (at least in part) to some of the allegations in the claims, but on many points it leaves the interpretation of those admissions to the court.  The Town does not ask to have the decision remanded to the Town, but if that were to happen the Town would give the project "a fair and impartial hearing based on the facts before it. "

Here is hoping they get the chance to do that!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

DPD obtains warrants in Christian Aid Society Cemetery incident (press release)

DAVIDSON, N.C. – On March 8, 2018, the Davidson Police and Davidson College Campus Police Departments investigated damage to multiple headstones and markers in the Christian Aid Society cemetery located on Ridge Road. A white Chevrolet Impala passenger vehicle was discovered nearby on the Davidson College campus showing signs of damage to the vehicle and oil pan. There was no occupant with the vehicle when it was found, and the vehicle had a temporary 30-day tag.

Based on evidence obtained at the scene, inside the vehicle, and via multiple interviews, the Davidson Police Department identified a suspect: Adam Christopher Lucas, a 21-year-old African-American male of Charlotte. Davidson Detective J. Stokes presented the investigation to a Mecklenburg County Magistrate who issued four warrants related to the case. The charges are:


  • Flee/elude arrest with a motor vehicle
  • Failure to report an accident
  • No valid insurance 
  • Failure to register with DMV


The suspect has not yet been apprehended.

Details:

Davidson Police Officer Ramiro Better observed Mr. Lucas traveling 50 mph in a 25 mph zone on Griffith Street at approximately 11:30 p.m. on March 7. When Officer Better turned his patrol car around and pursued the vehicle being driven by Mr. Lucas, the suspect sped off and turned on Beaty Street. Officer Better lost sight of the vehicle and discontinued the pursuit.

Mr. Lucas drove down Ridge Road, then proceeded off-road through the cemetery, and abandoned his damaged vehicle near a line of trees by the mechanical shops on Davidson College’s campus. A Davidson College Campus Police officer found the vehicle at approximately 2:30 a.m. on March 8 and had the vehicle towed. Davidson College Campus Police discovered damage to the cemetery around 4:30 a.m. the same morning.

“This investigation took some time to work through to ensure accuracy in not only identifying ownership of the vehicle but also putting the driver in the vehicle at the time of the incident,” said Davidson Police Chief Penny Dunn. “The integrity of an investigation will never be sacrificed for speed. We want a case to be solid for our state prosecutors to take without hesitation and be successful in the courtroom.”

The Davidson Police Department appreciates the assistance of the Davidson College Campus, Matthews, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Departments.

Please Consider Assisting Christian Aid Society

The Christian Aid Society cemetery sustained damage during this incident, including the destruction of several headstones. If you would like to provide assistance in the form of volunteer hours or monetary contribution, please call Erving McClain, the president of the board of the Christian Aid Society, at 704-896-7729.

“The Christian Aid Society and the community as a whole are relieved about the progress made by the Davidson Police Department,” said Erving McClain. “Hopefully the action they have taken will help solve the problem completely and this situation at the cemetery will be resolved in a timely manner.”

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Griffith Street Hotel first day in court on Thursday

The legal effort to reverse the approval of the Griffith Street Hotel effort has its first day in court on Thursday.  According to calendaring information on the Mecklenburg  County Courts website, initial motions will be heard at 10am with Superior Court Judge Lisa Bell presiding.

The hearing is expected to be brief, just 30 minutes per the calendar.  As an opening move, the developer's attorney has filed a motion to dismiss.  That is not a surprising move since the response from the developer effectively denied there was anything wrong with the process that approved the hotel. But now it is not the developer's opinion that matters, it is the judge's.

It is unclear whether Judge Bell will be the judge for this case or just for these first motions.  The case is also on the calendar for next Tuesday for a motion called a "judgement on the pleadings".  According to the calendar the judge to hear motions next week has not been assigned.  A "judgement on the pleadings" is asking for the judge to make a decision simply on the responses from the parties.  The Town's response should be available by that hearing scheduled for Tuesday 4/17 at 2:30pm

Here is a little about Judge Bell from the court website.

Personal and Education: 

Judge Lisa C. Bell received her undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and her J.D. degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law. Before she became a judge, Bell spent her legal career in private practice. During this time, she also served as an attorney advocate with the Children's Law Center. Lisa C. Bell was elected to the court on November 4, 2014, to a term commencing on January 1, 2015, and expiring on December 31, 2022. She was appointed by Governor Pat McCrory to fill the vacant seat of John C. Martin, who retired Aug. 1, 2014. 

Experience: 

From August 1, 2014, to December 31, 2014, Judge Bell sat on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Judge Bell also served as a special superior court judge for the North Carolina Superior Courts from March 2013 to August 2014, a position which she was also appointed to by Governor McCrory. She previously served as the chief district court judge for the 26th Judicial District of North Carolina. In 1998, she became a district court judge for the 26th Judicial District, and in 2009, she became the court's chief judge. Bell was appointed to serve as a special judge on the NC Superior Courts in March 2013.

If you are interested in attending the Court House is at:

832 E 4th Street, Charlotte, NC 28202

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Davidson Springs Public Input Session: Monday, April 9, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

DAVIDSON, N.C – Citizens are invited to a public input session on phases 3 and 4 of the Davidson Springs development adjacent to Walnut Street and James Alexander Way led by developer John Marshall Custom Homes. The developer is planning to build eight single-family homes and eight townhomes.

The public information session will be held on Monday, April 9 from 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. in the Davidson Town Hall board room. All citizens are invited to attend.

You may view additional information on the project at http://www.townofdavidson.org/1140/Davidson-Springs

<End Town press Release>


See also: New Devopments and the "Missing Middle"

Davidson seeks input on revamped Vision and Core Value #5 (press release)

DAVIDSON, N.C. – The Davidson Mayor and Board of Commissioners have discussed changes to the Town of Davidson’s vision statement and core value #5 over the past few months. After some discussion, they recommend a new vision and core value #5 (please see detail below). They seek feedback from Davidson’s citizens before they consider adopting the new vision and core value at a future meeting, likely on April 24. A full list of the current town vision, mission, and core values is on our website at: www.townofdavidson.org/missionstatement

Details:

Original Vision:

Davidson is a town that has long been committed to controlling its own destiny as a distinct, sustainable, and sovereign municipality. Our town’s sense of community is rooted in citizens who respect each other; in racial and socioeconomic diversity; in pedestrian orientation; and in the presence of a liberal arts college. We believe our history and setting guide our future.

Proposed Vision:

Davidson remains committed to controlling our own destiny as a distinct, sustainable, and sovereign small town. Our sense of community is rooted in citizens who respect each other, in racial and socioeconomic diversity, and in pedestrian orientation; all in the presence of a small liberal arts college. Our history and character guide our future.

Original Core Value #5:

Davidson’s traditional character is that of a small town, so land planning will reflect its historic patterns of village-centered growth, with connection of neighborhoods, preservation of rural area, and provision of public spaces.

Proposed Core Value #5:

Davidson is a small, historic, college town. We are a town that celebrates our rich cultural and architectural history. Our unique character is reflected in our land use, managed approach to growth, and preserved in our architectural history. Our land planning will reflect historic patterns of village-centered growth, connections between our neighborhoods, preservation of our rural area, provision of our public spaces, and new development will honor our historic character.

Ways to provide feedback:

Citizens can complete an online survey via our Open Town Hall portal by following this link: www.townofdavidson.org/OpenTownHall

Survey questions are below:

  • Do you approve of the proposed vision statement?
  • Why or why not?
  • Do you approve of the proposed core value #5?
  • Why or why not?

Citizens may send emails to the Davidson Mayor and Board of Commissioners at  board@townofdavidson.org.

Citizens may speak during the public comment period at 6:00 p.m. at the April 10 meeting.

Core value #5 will be moved up into the #2 position in our list of core values, although the list of core values is not ranked in priority order.  

Friday, April 6, 2018

Davidson College launches MoBike bikesharing program

Readers may have started noticing a few of the new silver bikeshare bicycles around town in Davidson.  Those are part of the new program launched recently by Davidson College in conjunction with the bikesharing vendor - MoBike.  The one pictured here was in front of Summit Coffee's "Outpost" on campus.

aShortChronicle reviewed the various bikesharing vendors operating in Uptown Charlotte (including MoBike) in this post.  Unfortunately, MoBike was our least favorite when it comes to ride comfort, but as we pointed out as well, the MoBike units look the least visible compared to the florescent colors of the other vendors.  That will be a good thing as these bikes eventually spread across town.

According to Yancey Fouche, Director of Sustainability with Davidson College, the College program has 50 bikes available for rent.  Like the MoBike program Uptown, they will eventually cost $1 per 30 minute ride unless the College works out some other deal for students.  That's according to this article from the Davidsonian last week after the program's launch.

After seeing how these bikes have flooded Uptown, aShortChronicle checked with the Town earlier this week to see if there were any enforcement plans by Town Hall to prevent these bikes from becoming an off campus nuisance  As of this writing, the Town has not responded, so it is unknown if there have been any issues so far.  From monitoring the MoBike app over the past few days it is clear these bikes are rapidly making their way into the larger community.  As of early Friday morning, the app shows 13 of the 50 bikes parked off campus over night.

Six just west of Main St

Seven in Circles@30 area

While 50 bikes in the program is not enough to make these bikes the same kind of ubiquitous sight they are in Charlotte, this is definitely something to keep an eye on for now.

Readers can download the MoBike app here if interested in trying them.  If you see any bikes parked inappropriately off campus and want to file a complaint, you can use the Town's SeeClickFix utility on the Town Civic Plus app.  Download that app here.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Hotel Lawsuit Responses...Town delays, Developer defends

It looks like residents of Davidson will have to wait a little longer to see how the Town will respond to the lawsuit seeking to reverse the approval for the Griffith Street hotel.

According to information obtained by aShortChronicle, the Town asked for another extension before replying to the claims brought by residents near the project on Griffith Street.  This latest request which was granted goes until April 12th.

The developer's attorney did respond last week however - submitting a 156 page document, all but 15 pages of which are appendices containing copies of various documents, mostly meeting minutes.  In the core 15 pages of the response, the developer effectively denies the claims that there was anything wrong with the process.  As one might expect, the developer response was the equivalent of saying move along, nothing to see here.  

It is interesting to note that the response from the developer denies the claims that anything was done wrong procedurally, but then does not actually specifically address the details of the various claims made by the plaintiffs.  How that will play out at upcoming hearings will be interesting to watch.

Hearing dates are currently set over the next two weeks to hear various motions.  It is unclear at this point if the lack of a response from the Town until April 12th will cause any delays in these hearings.

Check back next week for more updates as they become available.

Friday, March 30, 2018

CSD closes on purchase of Griffith Street K-7 location


The Community School of Davidson announced on its Facebook page Thursday that it had closed on the purchase of the K-7 building that has long been its home on Griffith Street - ensuring the school a permanence at this location.

Congratulations to the school and its administrators for completing this transaction and ensuring one of the institutions that makes Davidson a special place has its roots firmly planted here.

Readers will remember that the long-term status of the school was used by the former Davidson Board of Commissioners as a justification for approving the controversial hotel proposal next to the school in a lame duck vote just before leaving office last year.  Former elected officials misleadingly (and now clearly incorrectly) implied that the school would be moving from this location.  That justification was used in spite of the fact the school had a long-term lease allowing it to stay for more than a decade longer and that lease contained an irrevocable right to purchase the property - a right the school has now exercised.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

After delays, Robert Walker Drive set to re-open soon

After what was advertises as a three month closure has turned into six, the portion of Robert Walker Drive through the new West Branch neighborhood is set to re-open, possibly as soon as this Friday or next week.  That's according to Town Public Information Officer, Christina Shaul.

The below pictures are from this past weekend.  Additional work was done on Monday near the Davidson-Concord Road intersection so work is closer to completion than shown here.

From Bailey Springs Entrance

From Across
Davidson-Concord Rd 

This comes as the first spec houses and model homes are beginning to come out of the ground on the site.  In addition to the two shown here, there are at least 4 other lots with foundation slabs in place.




From a walk of the greenway this past weekend it appears actual home construction during 2018 will likely only be taking place on the southern half of the overall project site.  The northern end does not even have the beginnings of the road infrastructure started.

When completed, West Branch will add 300+ homes to Davidson.  A planned road connection will connect the back side of the neighborhood to Hudson Place.  (See red circled area below.)

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Uptown dockless bikeshare review...

So, this phenomenon of dockless bikeshares has taken over Uptown Charlotte with somewhat of a mixed reception.  The colorful bikes everywhere... and I mean EVERYWHERE.  Walk out of just about any building and there will be a handful of these bikes parked within feet.  You can see some photos from this earlier post.

This is a result of a move last year where Charlotte gave 4 companies licenses for 500 bikes each to be spread around the city and each of these companies has put a sizable share of their allotment inside the I277 loop.  While aShortChronicle is not normally a "joiner" or an "early adopter" when it comes to these kind of things, the opportunity presented itself this past week to make a couple of 1-mile trips.  So, why not try them out.

Here's aShortChronicle's inexperienced non-cycling aficionado experience with each of the four competitors - LimeBike, MoBike, Ofo, and Spin.

First of all, the bikes and systems are all pretty similar - 3-speed bikes with a basket on the front.  The systems all operate using an app that is easy to sign up.  You use your smartphone to find the nearest bike from a given vendor and then scan the code on the back of the bike using your phone's camera to unlock it.  Each of these vendors charge $1 for 30 minutes of riding and when done you slide the lock on the rear wheel back in place to cut off the clock.

Within minutes of finishing a ride you'll get a notification on your phone telling you things like how far you rode, the calories you burned, and the supposed carbon emissions you avoided.  I say "supposed" on this last one because this assumes you would be in a car if you weren't on a bike.  That's not really true in most cases because most people will likely be walking to a destination inside the I77 loop or not going at all rather than getting a car out of a pay lot to drive a short distance and then pay again at the destination.

Comparing these systems is all about the differences many of them minor.

First round trip,  LimeBike and MoBike...



LimeBike got the first ride because it happened to be the closest when I walked outside.  As the name would imply these are the bright green ones. This bike was pretty comfortable to ride, but not great.  The first ride was free which was also nice.

MoBike was the second one I rode on the return trip.  I will admit I had high hopes for this one because the silver MoBikes are the only ones that don't look kind of ridiculous.  Unfortunately, I was disappointed.  The bike just felt awkward to ride.  The seat seemed like it was slightly too far forward over the pedals or something.  Also, the basket on the Mobike is the only one that is attached to the frame of the bike rather than the wheel.  For me this resulted in this weird sensation that something was "wrong" when turning - kind of like when you take a drink of something you expect to be hot but it turns out to be cold.  When you turn the handlebars to steer, the basket stays pointing straight because of how it is attached.  Again, to me that seemed weird and a bit distracting.  The first ride was also "free".

Second round trip, Ofo and Spin.



Ofo was the third bike given a test ride.  Ofo is the yellow bike from a Chinese company..  It was similar to the LimeBike as far as comfort and ride goes - maybe a little better.  However, Ofo was the only firm to charge for the first rider where the others were free.

The last bike ridden was the orange bike from Spin.  For me personally, this was the best of the four.  It was more comfortable and handled better.  The wheels seemed a little bigger in diameter and the tires were narrower which gave it a smoother ride.  The thing that really set Spin apart actually had nothing to do with the bike though.  It was the app.  The Spin app added a couple things that made it more user friendly and probably a better  corporate citizen.  The app showed a clock the whole time the bike was checked out, so you knew how long before your next dollar would be charged.  That's a nice feature for longer rides.  Maybe most importantly, when checking out the bike the app gave instructions on how and where to park the bike - not in the road, not in front of doorways, or in the middle of the sidewalk, etc.  Then when the bike unlocked the app asks you if the bike is currently parked in a good spot.  The user clicks yes or no.  This means the company can track users who are not parking correctly and use the next rider to do some self policing of the system.  It also makes you think twice about where you leave the bike when done using it.  My guess is that chronic "bad parkers" might be banned from the system.  This feature could be important in helping keep complaints down for Spin.

And there you have it.  If you are ever in Uptown and looking for a bike.  I would recommend using Spin over the others.  It was a comfortable ride and the company seems to at least want to do some self policing of their product.  That makes it an overall better product.

The Davidson Planning Department Has Big Plans

BY MELISSA ATHERTON

The Planning Department email update sent on Friday makes one thing very clear: they have been planning...a lot. They are introducing a Planning Department “eCrier”, creating a draft mobility map, revising the watershed ordinance text amendments, working on development projects and preparing for the Davidson Springs Public Input Session. Davidson residents should be paying very close attention to the Planning Department website. The long list of development projects include: Alexander’s Corner, Davidson Bay, Davidson Commons East Hotel, Davidson East, Davidson Elementary Expansion, Davidson Hall, Davidson Springs, Davidson Wood, Green Level, Lake Cornelius Residential, Potts Development, Summers Walk, Public Facilities, Summit at River Run, The Villages of South Main, Washam Neighborhood and WestBranch. According to the Planning Department email, additional topics include: “Revision of development processes; historic preservation; managing residential growth; the scale of future development; and, enhancing downtown.”

See the consolidated draft map HERE.

The Planning Department created the “draft” mobility map on February 7th, the day before the “Community Conversation” kicked off the Mobility Plan. The draft plan is a compilation of “Existing Conditions + Proposed Conditions.” The map includes all modes of transportation including roads, sidewalks, bike paths and mass transit.

Discerning between existing, funded and proposed plans and corridor projects is challenging: there are light green dotted lines, dark green dotted lines, solid dark green lines, and solid lime green lines. Proposals feature a “shared path” (Big Fat Sidewalk) the entire length of Potts Street, along South Main Street, and Twin Oaks Road. A homeowner on South Main may potentially lose 700 feet of property to eminent domain.

Residents of South Potts Street have been politically active regarding the proposed Ten-Foot Multi-Use Path that would require using eminent domain to take portions of their yards. The residents argue that the Big Fat Sidewalk was never part of any past town plan, including the 2013 Walks & Rolls Plan. They have spoken at town hall and met with town planners, elected officials and Public Works Director Doug Wright. A public records request validates neighborhood concerns.  On an email between senior Town staff and the design firm working on the Potts Sloan Beaty Connector project, Public Works Director Doug Wright says he is "not aware of a town plan that shows a 10-ft MUP on Potts from Catawba  Ave to the Cornelius line." (MUP stands for Multi  Use Path aka Big Fat Sidewalk.)

The draft map features a proposed “Red Line Trail” even though there is no Red Line. The Metropolitan Transit Commission will consider terminating further Red Line work this Wednesday. Potential new streets are proposed connecting Ridge Road to Thompson Street, Potts Street to Catawba Avenue, Vernon Drive to Walnut Street and Zion Street (Cornelius), Market Street in Antiquity (Cornelius) to Wyatt’s Way, and the north side of the forthcoming West Branch neighborhood to Concord Road.

The Planning Department also has major changes to the Town's watershed ordinance.  You can see those details HERE.

Changes to the watershed text amendments include removing the built-upon area exemption for lots and homes owned prior to 1993. Apparently, the planners forgot to check if the exemption and “tenure” for pre-1993 homeowners was actually legal (it is not). This means that the 1911 Mill Home homeowner previously featured (see Wag the Dog and Grab the Land blog) will no longer be able to demolish and rebuild. According to the new text amendment, she cannot even rebuild the EXACT SAME FOOTPRINT! Ironically, the text amendments allow her to add another 24% impervious expansion to her current home, creating a larger footprint than if she just rebuilt the current footprint. Again, West Side homeowners should be asking, “Is this really about drinking water?

The West Side should be paying very close attention to the watershed text amendments. Existing homes on Westside Terrace, Lakeside Avenue, Potts Street, Catawba Avenue, Julia Circle, Watson Street, etc. have impervious footprints larger than 24%. This means homeowners and investors are in the exact same boat as the Mill Home homeowner on Delburg. The unintended consequence is that the homeowners will have very few options as their homes age, their homes will lose value, and then a developer can purchase contiguous lots and build high-density multi-family and “Missing Middle” with the 50% impervious option.

Be warned: planners will say the text amendments are good for “Affordable Housing.” New apartments and “Missing Middle” will not be affordable simply because they are high-density. Davidson does not require apartments to have affordable units. The text amendments encourage the replacement of our Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) with very expensive rentals.

Be extra warned: planners will say the text amendments are good for “Historic Preservation.” Many West Side homes are owned by investors from Huntersville, Charlotte and other states. How many of them truly care if the home is preserved versus tearing down for high-density? They will profit much more from demolishing and building apartments than from painstakingly preserving the homes. The text amendments serve investors and developers rather than historic preservation and affordable housing. The text amendments could potentially threaten Davidson Housing Coalition, whose mission is “to work with the larger community to preserve and create affordable housing options and to prepare families and individuals for financial stability and homeownership” (davidsonhousing.org).

Hopefully, Davidson residents will not be too distracted by the text amendments and Mobility Plan and forget to attend the Davidson Springs Public Input Session on Monday, April 9th, from 5-7 pm at Town Hall. The project includes plans for seven homes and eight townhouses. James Alexander Way will be extended (no longer a cul de sac). The developer plans to make a payment in lieu of Affordable Housing (https://www.ci.davidson.nc.us/1140/Davidson-Springs).

Important Planning-Related Dates:
● Monday, March 26th, 6:00 pm, Planning Board discusses Mobility Plan and Text Amendments
● Tuesday, March 27th, 6:00 pm, Beaty Park Public Comment
 ● Tuesday, April 10th, 6:00 pm, Text Amendment Public Hearing
 ● Tuesday, May 8th, 6:00 pm, Board Vote on Text Amendments (tentative)

Million-Dollar Question of the Week:

If residents lose yards (front or back) due to eminent domain and Big Fat Sidewalks, will the impervious footprint of the sidewalk count in their own personal footprint?

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Human trafficking forum coming to Ada Jenkins on Tuesday

A panel of experts is coming to the Ada Jenkins Center on Tuesday to discuss the topic of Human Trafficking.  The forum will be held from 630 - 8pm.  See flyer for details.



North Carolina has the dubious distinction of being one of the top 10 states in the country for these heinous crimes with the Charlotte region being a focal point.  According to this article from WRAL from 2017 written for Project No Rest, one of the Ada Jenkins forum panelist groups, "the geographic location of N.C., in part, contributes to the high number of victims and survivors living in the state. North Carolina lies in the center of the triangle encompassed by Washington, D.C., Charlotte and Atlanta, all of which are hubs of human trafficking. North Carolina also lies at the crossroads of several major interstates, including Interstate 40 that crosses the state from west to east and several interstates running north to south across the state. These highways facilitate sex and labor trafficking."

Below are the stats from the National Human Trafficking Hotline for North Carolina for 2017.  These stats for 2017 are 30% higher than those referenced in the WRAL article just one year earlier and and double what they were just 5 years ago.  (Click the above link for more detailed breakdowns of these statistics.)




As a sign this issue is seen as a priority at the highest levels in the state, just this past week NC Attorney General Josh Stein unveiled a new program to raise awareness.  In this article from the Caldwell Journal this past Wednesday, Stein unveiled a new Awareness Sign.  These signs will be placed in public facilities across the state.



If you are interested in learning more about this subject there will be other opportunities beyond the meeting at the Ada Jenkins Center.  The NC Human Trafficking Commission is sponsoring a series of forums across the state with one coming to Charlotte in July.



Friday, March 23, 2018

Griffith Street Hotel lawsuit set to shift into higher gear...new matching fundraising goal set

It has been a while since any new information has been available on the lawsuit filed to reverse the previous Davidson Board's decision allowing a controversial new hotel on Griffith Street across from Spinnaker Cove and adjacent to CSD and Westside Terrace.  However, it now looks like things are getting ready to shift into a higher gear.

aShortChronicle learned in recent weeks that attorneys for all defendants asked for extensions to allow more time to respond to the claims in the suit.  Those extensions are set to expire in the coming days.  According to documents on file with the court, the developers have asked for more time until close of business today, Friday, March 23rd and the Town until Wednesday, March 28th.  This means responses from defendants, one way or the other, should be available starting next week after allowing a couple days for mailing.

aShortChronicle has obtained the names of the attorneys for the defendants.  In an email from Public Information Officer Christina Shaul, she says the Town has consulted with Keith Merritt with the law firm of Hamilton, Stephens, Steele and Martin.  The attorney for the developer and landowner is Roy Michaux with K&L Gates.  HSSM is a Charlotte firm with over 20 lawyers on staff while K&L Gates is a global powerhouse with its Charlotte offices in the Hearst Tower downtown.

It is unclear at this point if the Town is really willing to actually fight against a significant portion of the citizenry who oppose this project.  All of the current Board members have expressed varying levels of opposition to the project's location, so it would seem unlikely they would want to spend tax dollars fighting the very taxpayers who paid those dollars.  At the same time, it would seem like a bad business decision for the developers to attack citizens in the same town where they want to do business long term.  For the plaintiffs part, they are just average citizens trying to protect their home values and quality of life. All of this makes for a very interesting dynamic that's about to play out.

In preparation for the next phase of this legal action, fundraising to support the plaintiffs is also ramping up.  Maria Chilton who has been active in organizing citizen opposition posted this update to the GoFundMe site raising money for legal expenses.

"Exciting news - thanks to a donation from a concerned CSD parent, we are doing a matching drive for $3000 over the next two weeks! Now is a great time to donate and double your impact!

Additionally, thanks to ongoing fundraising efforts offline we are able to lower our overall GoFundMe goal. Thank you to everyone who has contributed both through GoFundMe and offline, it is truly appreciated."



Click here for link

Donate at the above GoFundMe site or mail checks to:

"Luke Charde - Special Account"
PO Box 785
Davidson, NC 28036

Heidi Deitrich another activist involved in the effort had this to say about the need for the community to come together in support of the plaintiffs.

"I ask every resident of Davidson today to walk 130 steps off their back deck. Now picture a 4-story hotel with several guest suites looking down at your children playing on the swing set in the backyard. Ask yourself, would a Board of Commissioners approve a hotel 130 feet from their own back porches?  From their own children's bedroom and playset?  I have heard throughout the years of the Town's commitment to preserve the historic African American community - a committment to civil rights, equal rights, affordable housing and our Town's core values.  Is that just lip service or are we fully committed as a community to put that into action?  I urge you to put your concern for the residents of our historic African American community and Westside Terrace residents into action by making a donation today to the legal fund in effort to move this hotel project to a more appropriate location.

It is simply not fair for former Town officials to put a 4-story hotel in the back yards of residents who are begging and pleading not to have their quality of life ruined."


Please donate what you can - $10, $50, $100 or more if possible.  $3000 is a short term goal that can be reached easily in this town.  Many hands make light work and this is a worthy cause.  Please support it today.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Updates from The Egg Monday, March 19th

BY MELISSA ATHERTON

The Beaty Street Property dominated the “Coffee Chat” at The Egg Monday morning. Commissioner David Sitton hosted the heated conversation regarding the board vote last week to make the nineteen-acre parcel 100% park.

  • Sitton explained that the vote was based on the “original intent” of the property and identified that the Town has a “systemic problem with how we deal with parks.”
  • A citizen questioned the legality of the vote, citing that the previous board had rezoned the land in 2015.
  • A citizen noted that the Town of Davidson searched for park space in the 1970s and 1980s to replace the ball field that previously occupied the Sadler Square parcel.
  • Several citizens questioned whether the commissioners had circumvented “the process” by voting last week without advance notice.
  • A citizen questioned whether two commissioners had a “conflict of interest” whereas they live near the Beaty Property.
  • Several citizens stated they wanted to see commercial use on the Beaty Property.
  • Mayor Rusty Knox explained that there are varying opinions on what “park” means. He also stated that Commissioner Autumn Michael did not have a conflict of interest, whereas the railroad divides her property from the Beaty Property.
  • Commissioner Matthew Fort stressed the importance of keeping the Town’s commitment to Mrs. Venie Clontz, who sold the land 30 years ago for a discount with the promise that it would be a park.
  • Former Commissioner Laurie Venzon explained that the Beaty Property was rezoned in 2015. She also noted that the former board secured a $314,000 loan to purchase additional land for the “gateway” into town.
  • A citizen noted that the public was not fully aware of the 2015 rezoning process.
  • Commissioner Michael expressed great desire for the Town to heal.
  • Commissioner Fort stated that a public comment period will be added to the 6:00 pm board meeting on March 27th at Town Hall.


Quotable Moments

“Land donated as a park should be used as a park.” 
- Commissioner Sitton on the Town’s promise to Mrs. Clontz

We made a commitment 30 years ago.”
- Commissioner Fort on honoring commitment

“First of all, Autumn, welcome to politics...The perception always rules.” 
- Former Commissioner Venzon on conflicts of interest and the difference between perception and reality

“In my opinion, the former board got it wrong.”
- Commissioner Fort on the former board’s Beaty process

“The 2015 rezoning was very quiet and discreet.” 
- A citizen notes the lack of public awareness during the rezoning process

“I’m sorry, but you guys are upset that you can’t build houses.” 
- A citizen addressed the developers present at the meeting

“The reason why we didn’t kick it down 30 days is because it’s disingenuous.” 
- Commissioner Fort stands by the board vote for 100% park

Hearings TONGHT on possible new project near Bridges Farm Rd

Last year, readers will remember the swirl surrounding a possible massive new development called "Lake Davidson" off of Bridges Farm Rd just north of Davidson over the Iredell County line.  That development rezoning request was beaten back after intense citizen opposition and some embarrassing text messages between Mooresville elected officials disparaging those citizens opposing the project came to light.

Now, it appears something new (but possibly related) may so be in the works.   The below information was received by aShortChronicle over the weekend and has not been confirmed with the Town of Mooresville.  It is being passed along due to the timing of the meetings being held tonight, Monday 3/19.

On the agenda for tonight's Mooresville  Board meeting, there are multiple resolutions and hearings to support something called "Project Control".  (See pages pages 26 – 28, 41 and 43.)  These items revolve around building an access road from Transco Rd to the project site.  While the site location for Project Control is not mentioned, the separate reference to a traffic separation study involving NCDOT's rail division has residents in the area concerned it goes somewhere near the Norfolk Southern rail line along 115 in the Bridges Farm Road area.



The agenda does not give any specifics on what Project Control entails, however a 2014 post on the Mooresville economic development website references a Project control as:

Project Control...aims to attract a North Dakota-based producer of environmentally friendly, nontoxic pest control with incentives of $58,200 to $112,520 based on investment ranging from $3 million to $5.8 million. Carney said the company would initially build a 60,000-square-foot facility and create 14 jobs, and could add another 380 jobs over the next four years.

The concern among residents is that the access road construction and the tax incentives to support it are precursors to restarting efforts at more intensive development in the area.  State grants and local tax incentives being sought total roughly $2.5 million.

Head to Mooresville Town Hall tonight at 6pm to see how this unfolds.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Reflections on the Importance of the Beaty Park Vote

By Leah Chester-Davis

Ever since the Town Board voted 3 to 2 on Tuesday evening for the Beaty Street Property to be 100% park, I've been reflecting on that important decision. A lot of people in this town had various hopes and plans for that piece of property. Some plans may have even been considered noble (affordable housing, for instance) and others seemed for purely economic gain by some. But I truly believe Commissioners Fort, Michael, and Sitton did the right thing without continuing to prolong a debate that has been in the public arena for well over a year (this last go around) and longer when you consider the 90s when citizens spoke against development of the property at that time. There has been plenty of citizen input and citizens spoke loud and clear in numerous meetings, communiques, protests and then in the election.

Yes, citizen input is important. But in this case, all of the documentation shows that Mrs. Clontz sold this property to the town for a park.  Doing the right thing and honoring those wishes overrides collecting even more citizen input when there has already been plenty. Now that Commissioners Fort, Michael and Sitton took an important, decisive stand and did the right thing based on documentation, we can turn to citizen input once more to help shape this important community resource as a park. When Commissioners Campbell and Fuller speak of public input, now is the right time for that thanks to their fellow board members voting to preserve the property as a park.

I also can't help but think about Mrs. Evelyn Carr and Mrs. Daisy Raeford and their remarks on Tuesday night. They made me think about this quote from The Trust for Public Land, "Low-income neighborhoods populated by minorities are especially short of park space. Minorities and the poor have historically been shunted off to live on the wrong side of the tracks . . . in areas with few amenities. From an equity standpoint, there is a strong need to redress this imbalance."

No, not every neighborhood near the Beaty Park Property is low income, that's for sure. But inherently more of the west side of town is affordable and I believe numbers indicate that most of what the town calls affordable housing is on the west side of town. Open space on the west side of town is important. All of this also makes me think of the history of Sadler Square and how the ball field of the African American community was taken from them with a promise to find them another space. It apparently never happened. That, too, may be a reason Mrs. Carr and Mrs. Raeford spoke up about the need for this park. Considering the UNCC study that by 2030, 98% of this region will be built out and there will be no more open space, preserving this 19 acres for a park is another reason Tuesday night's vote was the right thing to do. It was visionary as well and future generations will be glad Venie Clontz sold it to the town for a park, and glad that citizens fought so hard for this park, and glad that Commissioners Fort, Michael and Sitton did the right thing by voting for it to be a park.

Oh, how very lovely it would be if citizens across town came together to help plan a park that we could all enjoy and be proud of.

Leah Chester-Davis is a small business owner who lives in Davidson and has been active in the fight to preserve the Beaty Street property over the past 18 months.