Monday, December 10, 2018

One year in, new Davidson Board showing how to lead

One year ago this week, Davidson swore in five new elected officials after a statement election that saw the previous elected regime at Davidson Town Hall soundly defeated.  This was the culmination of years of Town Hall initiated controversies and came after a particularly contentious year where the public, via the Save Davidson movement, became vigorously engaged in municipal affairs.

In the run-up to Election Day 2017, those defending the status quo questioned, mocked might be a better word, the qualifications of challengers who hadn't been indoctrinated in the ways of Davidson Town Hall, engaged in anonymous attacks including a smear of Save Davidson to the state BOE, and spread fear and speculation at the possibility of what might happen if wholesale change actually did come to fruition on the Davidson Board.

However, when the votes were finally counted none of those tactics mattered a bit.  New voters flocked to the polls and cast their ballots for the challengers and incumbent Commissioner Jim Fuller who had often voted against the status quo at Town Hall.  When the fog lifted, it was clear a new day was about to dawn.

So, how has the new Board performed in the past year?  The answer to that is told as much by what hasn't happened as much by what has.

The past year has seen a distinct lack of major Town Hall initiated controversies.  That's been a welcome relief for those weary of constantly having to fight the bad ideas of years past.  The most contentious issue, at least from the public's perspective, came early in the term when the Town considered putting a left turn on Main Street - impacting public parking regularly used by DCPC.  The  new Board handled that well by not ramming the project forward in the face of public input.

Speaking of public input, the past year has also not seen the instances of highly choreographed public input sessions with seemingly predetermined outcomes.  Those sessions had become the hallmark of Davidson Town Hall in recent years when the Town repeatedly tried to push through unpopular development proposals.  Certainly, some people may not fully agree with this one, but most would likely agree, Town Hall listens better than it has in the past.

Finally, the condescension and general blow-offishness that was often the response to any criticism, no matter how slight, by many on the previous Board has gratefully left the dais.

All the while, this new Board has been getting things done - proving the concerns of those defending the status quo of years past were unsubstantiated.

The Beaty Street Park is underway with the formation of a taskforce busy at planning.  The CMS property on South Street has been purchased for a reasonable price - laying the foundation for addressing future public facilities needs.  The Board has dealt with multiple planning related issues including the watershed ordinance, legal challenges on the Griffith Street Hotel and Potts Street projects, kick starting a new Comprehensive Plan, and a series of decisions that show a strong preference for historic preservation.  That's a very solid list for a group of new folks who supposedly did not have the necessary experience.

Is there more to do?  Of course!

The Continuum conundrum has received little attention.  Yes, David Auger, CEO of the enterprise, gave an upbeat presentation to the Board in November, but there still doesn't seem to be a viable long-term plan for extricating the Town from the business other than to keep paying down debt and hoping things don't blow up again.  When it comes to business decisions, hope is not a plan.

Also, many of the same players on Town Staff who were involved in previous controversies are still in their positions.  Until that changes, there will always be the chance for backsliding.  This kind of change is hard, and hoping voluntary attrition will provide it likely won't get there.  Again, hope is not a plan.

All in all though, not too shabby for a Board the old status quo thought was unqualified.  They've restored confidence in how Town Hall operates and done so very quickly.  That's no small accomplishment in year one, and the Town should look forward to what this group does in year two.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Continuum to increase internet speeds, no increase in cost

Mooresville, N.C. – Continuum announced today that it is increasing Internet speeds for its residential customers by up to 100%.  In addition, monthly service rates will remain the same. This means Continuum customers will get up to double the speed at no additional monthly charge.
These new broadband speeds position Continuum as one of the most competitive providers in the market. See the chart below for a listing of the previous internet speeds and what is now being offered.
Internet Plan
Speed
(up to)
New Speed
(up to)
Increase
(up to)
High-Speed Broadband
25 X 5
50 X 5
100%
Accelerated Broadband
50 X 5
100 X 10
100%
Super Speed Broadband
75 X 5
150 X 10
100%
Hyper Speed Broadband
100 X 10
200 X 10
100%
Warp Speed Broadband
200 X 20
300 X 20
50%
Ultimate Broadband

500 X 20


Customers will receive a mailer notifying them of the speed increases they can expect.

Also, to better satisfy the needs of high bandwidth users in Mooresville, Davidson and Cornelius, Continuum is introducing a brand new, even faster, speed called Ultimate Broadband at a remarkable 500Mbps X 20Mbps.

“We recognize the wide-ranging bandwidth requirements our customers have and want to provide a solution for those varying needs,” said David Auger, CEO of Continuum. “From the average Internet user to the heavy gaming household with multiple devices, we strive to offer our customers options that rightly work for them,” he added.

“Many customers aren’t sure of what speed they actually need for a good Internet experience,” said Ellen Baker, Director of Marketing at Continuum. “That’s why we have the Speed Need Estimator tool on our website.  Customers can click on the icon and answer a few usage questions. We’ll instantly give them an estimate of what speed will work for them.”
The actual increase of speeds will occur on Friday, November 30. Customers may need to do a simple reboot of their cable modem.
Continuum fiber-to-the-home customers will not see a change in Internet speeds and will continue to enjoy speeds of up to 1 GIG.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Town sued, Save Davidson scapegoated, over Potts Street project

The development community does not like being told 'No' by the people in the actual communities it wishes to serve.

That's the underlying message from a complaint filed October 29th in Mecklenburg Superior Court against the Town of Davidson regarding the Town's denial of water and sewer extension for the controversial Potts Street Project.  aShortChronicle has obtained a copy of the full complaint filed by Plaintiffs Davidson Acquisition Company, LLC and Crescent Acquisitions, PLC against the Town of Davidson and Jason Burdette, the Town Planning Director.  The Town was served on 11/5/2018 with Town Manager Jamie Justice accepting service on behalf of both the Town and Burdette.  It should be noted that "Burdette is a party to this action solely in his official capacity as Planning Director of the Town."  He is not being sued individually it seems.

The complaint alleges the Town and Burdette acted illegally by not approving the Potts Street project Master Plan.  Most of the claims revolve around the Town not being able to enforce its new Water/Sewer Extension Policy which the complaint calls "standardless" and "arbitrary".  When the Town clarified the Water/Sewer Policy back in August of this year to require the Board vote on any new extensions, the Board immediately used the policy to vote down an extension for the Potts Street project - effectively killing it.

What may be of more interest to readers is how the complaint alleges things got to this point.  The complaint puts the blame for creating this situation squarely on Save Davidson, the local community activism organization. for spearheading last year's turnover at Davidson Town Hall.

The complaint puts it this way.

"Following municipal elections in November 2017, there was a wholesale change in the Town's governance, wrought by anti-development forces.  The anti-growth forces were specifically opposed to the Project and made their opposition well known to the Town and its officials, including the Planning Director."

Anti-development forces...really?!?!  REALLY?!?!

That's on page 2 of the complaint.  Who knew that simple citizens wanting to protect their quality of life, restore respect in their local government, and exercise their right to vote could be confused with "anti-development forces"?

The attorneys for the development community get more specific about Save Davidson on page 9.

"Opposition to the project was spearheaded by an organization known as Save Davidson, Inc a North Carolina Corporation ("SDI").  Opponents of the project objected in particular to its inclusion of apartment buildings, even though apartments were a permitted building type in the Village Infill Planning Area.

SDI was instrumental in orchestrating a wholesale change in the composition of the elected leadership of the town. In a fundraising appeal posted on its Facebook page on or about June 1, 2018, SDI boasted of its "accomplishments" over the prior year, including the fact that it had changed the face of the Davidson Town Board and that it had supported residents in their opposition to the "Potts Project".

Candidates for office endorsed by SDI who won their elections in November 2017 included Rusty Knox, candidate for Mayor, and David Sitton, Matthew Fort, Autumn Michael and Jim Fuller, candidates for Town Board.

In the November 2017 election, Knox unseated the incumbent mayor in his race, and Sitton, Fort and Michael were newly elected to the town board. Fuller was reelected to the town board."

What is interesting about all this is that after receiving this much attention in setting the stage for claims in a lawsuit, Save Davidson is not mentioned again.  Save Davidson isn't accused of doing anything wrong or of being involved in this case.  So, why was the group even mentioned at all???

Here's a theory.

Well connected members of the development community for decades have had the inside track to get things done at Davidson Town Hall.  Over the past few years, including the 2017 election, they have lost that inside track.  In the world view of people used to operating behind the scenes, often anonymously, it must make a lot of sense to see some other "force" in the guise of Save Davidson as the reason.

It also shows they are missing the point of what happened in 2017.

The election in 2017 wasn't just a few anonymous people in some nameless organization who pulled off a squeaker of an election.  It was a very public electoral shellacking of the old guard regime way of doing things.  The number of people who came out to vote in the 2017 election swamped previous recent contests and none of the races were remotely close for the incumbents who lost.  The people, en masse, voted for change.

So, when developers through their attorneys try to cast blame for the demise of their projects on "anti-development" forces driven by Save Davidson, what they are really missing is that it isn't "Save Davidson" who doesn't want bad development projects, it's the People of Davidson who don't want them.

Now, to try and get their way on a project nobody in town seems to want, the developers are going to sue the Town.  Classy.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Public Invited to Learn about Local Historic District Expansion: 11/28 6pm

DAVIDSON, N.C – The Town of Davidson invites all community members to a meeting with Historic Preservation Consultant Mary Ruffin Hanbury on Wednesday, November 28 at 6:00 p.m. at the Davidson United Methodist Church fellowship hall, located at 233 S. Main Street, to learn about the historic district designation process.  She will explain the benefits of designation, discuss the process, and answer questions.

The Town of Davidson is exploring the expansion of its local historic district, which currently includes the two to three blocks that comprise downtown. The goal is to preserve and protect historically significant structures in Davidson.  Historic preservation helps retain our sense of place, our small-town character, and links to our community’s past.  Designating areas of town as a local historic district is beneficial to both the community and the property owner.

The current local historic district was designated in 1989.  In 2009, a much larger area of “old Davidson” was designated as a National Register Historic District. 

“We encourage property owners, especially those in the National Register Historic District, to attend this meeting, since neighborhoods in that district have the most intact historic integrity and will be the most likely candidates for an expanded local historic district,” said Assistant Town Manager Dawn Blobaum. “Historic preservation is one of the Davidson Board of Commissioners’ goals in their 2018-2019 Strategic Plan, so we are interested in exploring the benefits of expanding our local historic district.”

The town hired an historic district expert, Mary Ruffin Hanbury of Hanbury Preservation Consulting, to determine which neighborhoods are appropriate for local historic district designation.

Background

A local historic district is a zoning overlay that is an amendment to the planning ordinance and must be approved by the Davidson Board of Commissioners.  Prior to a vote by commissioners, a public hearing is required.  The historic preservation commission and the planning board also review the overlay district and relay their comments to the board of commissioners.  We are adding Mary Ruffin Hanbury’s educational session this fall, and will include an additional opportunity for citizen input in the spring, after she has completed her documentation and has a recommendation for expansion of the district.

Local historic districts protect the investments of owners and residents of historic properties. Insensitive or poorly planned development can make an area less attractive to investors and homebuyers, and thus undermine property values. In contrast, in a local historic district, historic district design guidelines and review by the historic preservation commission of major, substantial changes to a property encourages people to buy and rehabilitate properties because they know their investment is protected over time.  The historic preservation commission also has the authority to delay demolition of a structure for up to one year, giving the town, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Landmarks Commission, or another entity the ability to purchase and protect the property.

Properties within local historic districts appreciate at rates greater than the local market overall as well as faster than similar, non-designated neighborhoods. Findings on this point are consistent across the country. Moreover, recent analysis shows that historic districts are also less vulnerable to market volatility from interest rate fluctuations and economic downturns.

Please contact Assistant Town Manager Dawn Blobaum atdblobaum@townofdavidson.org or 704-940-9615 with any questions.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Appeal documents filed in Griffith Street Hotel case

The ongoing saga of the Griffith Street Hotel project crept another step forward this week with the Plaintiffs against the project filing their Appellee brief in the appeal that is currently underway at the NC Court of Appeals in Raleigh.  The developer Defendants filed their Appellant brief last month.

It should be noted, the Defendants behind the appeal do not include the Town of Davidson.  After the Plaintiffs won a decision in Mecklenburg Superior Court earlier this year based on the Town admitting it did not follow its own Davidson Planning Ordinance, this appeal is being driven by the developer Defendants in the case.

In the briefs filed by the parties, the Defendants-Appelants' attorney argues that the lower court erred in its decision and that the Town not strictly following the DPO doesn't matter.  The Plaintiffs-Appellees attorney argues that strictly following municipal zoning procedures has already need decided by the Court and that should be the case here.

Ultimately, this decision will boil down to the answer to this question.

Do planning ordinances need to say what they mean and mean what they say, or can they be interpreted at the whims of municipal planning departments and the attorneys involved in development?

Whether or not the Griffith Street Hotel project has a chance to move forward hinges on the answer.

Readers can find all the documents for the case here at www.ncappellatecourts.org.  No date has been set at this point for further action on the case.



Saturday, November 10, 2018

Trump, not Tolls, caused Mecklenburg Republican electoral wipeout

The days since Tuesday's disastrous showing by Mecklenburg Republicans has already seen a lot of second guessing and finger pointing as to "why" this happened.

Here in North Mecklenburg, a lot of that has centered around the I77 tolls issue and the impact of losing MeckBOCC Commissioner Jim Puckett, Sen Jeff Tarte, and Rep John Bradford.  Some social media commentary links the toll issue and divisions in the anti-toll movement as the main cause of these losses by driving single issue voters to the Democrats.  However, after looking at the data available so far, it's more likely North Mecklenburg was just caught up in the same anti-Trump "blue wave" that swept suburbs across the nation on Tuesday.

That data answers the questions from this post during early voting that indicated such a wave might be building locally.

Before getting to the data though, one should ask this.

"Does blaming tolls and divisions in the anti-toll movement for the election outcome even make sense?"

Not really.  Did South Mecklenburg Republicans Andy Dulin and Scott Stone lose their NCGA House seats because of tolls?  No.  Moreover, they lost their seats by wider margins than John Bradford. Did Democrats sweep the MeckBOCC because of tolls?  No, that doesn't make sense either.  Yet, Republicans Matthew Ridenhour and Bill James both lost as well as Jim Puckett.

The only answer that makes sense for these other races is that energetic and well-funded anti-Trump sentiment drove higher vote totals for Democrats.  It was that sentiment, not tolls, that had a negative effect, creating a blue wave in urban/suburban areas of Charlotte that swamped these candidates.

So, what does the data tell us about the races in North Mecklenburg?

First, as pointed out in above linked post, Tarte was in trouble from the beginning due to redrawing the NC Senate 41 district to be much more Democratic than it had been previously.  Turnout of registered Democrats in North Mecklenburg was also higher in early voting meaning Tarte really had no chance to overcome this structural disadvantage on election day.  In the new district Tarte would have had to win overwhelmingly in the northern precincts to overcome the advantage Democrats have in the southern precincts.  This didn't happen and realistically probably never would, tolls being an issue or otherwise.  In a wave election scenario like the one just experienced, outside issues made this comeback even less likely.

In the race for MeckBOCC District 1, the toll issue probably helped Jim Puckett, but it was not enough to overcome the increase in Democrats heading to the polls.  Of the three North Meck Republicans who lost, Puckett was the most consistently anti-toll.  Both Bradford and Tarte had been hit in previous elections with the flipflopper label on the toll issue due to not being ardently anti-toll from the very beginning.  Jim Puckett never had that problem as he was one of the original anti-toll warriors.  The benefit he received from this showed in the election results.  Puckett won multiple precincts that Tarte and Bradford narrowly lost.  Puckett's loss rested primarily on major increases in the margin of victory for Elaine Powell in precincts that were already Democratic.  Those would be precinct 206 in Davidson and the Charlotte precincts along the district's southern edge.

As surprising as it was to see Jim Puckett lose this race it really probably shouldn't have been.  In 2014, the last time Puckett had a challenger, he only beat his challenger by roughly 4000 votes.  So, while the district had long been in Republican hands, it didn't take much momentum to close that gap.

It doesn't make a lot of sense to argue these new Democratic voters came out to vote against Puckett because of tolls.  These were "new" mid-term voters because of the "blue wave".  It should also be noted that this district did not have redistricting changes.  The precincts in it have been the same for past two elections as this one.  Puckett actually got 5000 more votes in 2018 than he did in 2014 during the last mid-term election.  That increase just got swamped by the blue wave.  So while tolls was an issue in this race, Puckett didn't lose because voters abandoned him because of it.

Finally, there is Bradford's loss in NC House 98.  aShortChronicle took a close look at this race.  In this race, redrawing the district should have actually helped John Bradford, not hurt him. A couple Republican precincts were added while Democratic precincts were removed since the 2016 election cycle.  Bradford won the previous 2 elections in the old district by wide margins, so it stands to reason he would do better in the new one.  That didn't happen. Why?

Here is what the data tells us.

  • During early voting, 45% of early voters in this race did not vote at all in the last mid-term in 2014.  These "new" voters broke pretty significantly for the challenger giving Clark an 1800 vote lead when early voting was counted.  This dynamic of "new" voters for a given type of election was very similar to what happened in Davidson last year when Save Davidson brought in a lot of new voters for a municipal election.  Those voters broke heavily towards the challengers.
  • If you compare the precincts in the new NC98 with how those precincts voted in the NC House election in 2016, something is very clear.  The Democrats maintained Presidential election year totals or better in these precincts while Republican totals fell off significantly.  See the chart below for that detail.

Both of these data points indicate high voter enthusiasm among Democrats and lower enthusiasm among Republicans.  That level of enthusiasm among one party to vote was not driven by tolls - a bi-partisan issue that has been around for several election cycles.  It does not seem reasonable that Democrats suddenly came out en masse to vote over this issue or that unaffiliated voters suddenly turned on Bradford and Puckett specifically because of tolls.  That's true no matter how many television ads were run on the issue.  aShortChronicle would argue if it wasn't tolls, some other issue would have gotten all that ad money.

Instead, it makes a lot more sense to say that type of enthusiasm gap was driven by anti-Trump sentiment that turned out a lot of Democrat voters.  In a race like NC98 that enthusiasm gap wiped out the big lead Republican candidates normally have in that district.  In MeckBOCC District 1 it easily overcame the smaller structural advantage Republicans have had in the past.  In NC Sen 41 it made the results a foregone conclusion.

The most you can say about the impact of tolls on these races is that the divisions in the anti-toll community probably put Clark over the top in NC98, but it wasn't the driving factor why the race was close enough for that to matter in the first place.  For that matter, the ridiculous attack ad flyers used in response to her TV ad campaign sent out by the NCGOP may have backfired and cost Bradford enough votes to cover her margin of victory.  Those flyers turned off a lot of people.  The tone of them could also be seen as an impact from Trump.  Regardless, in a race as close as that one, any number of small campaign mistakes could be seen as the deciding factor.

Trump, not tolls, caused this debacle for local Republicans, and while the party picks up the pieces and tries to regroup, the ongoing impact of national issues will likely make that more difficult.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Town of Davidson’s Veterans Day Program

DAVIDSON, N.C. – The Town of Davidson invites all citizens to Davidson Town Hall on Monday, November 12 at 11:00 a.m. to commemorate Veterans Day. The program features keynote speaker Robert Lutz., the Hough High School Wind Ensemble and Junior ROTC, and the participation of many community members.

Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day, which marked the end of World War I in 1918. The armistice that ceased the fighting was signed on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11:00 a.m. The tradition of having a ceremony on that date and at that time has endured. Armistice Day eventually evolved into Veterans Day, which honors veterans of all wars.

The ceremony will be on the front steps of town hall. Chairs will be provided for attendees. Please join us.

FLAG PLACEMENT:

In honor of Veterans Day, please gather on Sunday, November 4 at 1:30 p.m. at Mimosa Cemetery on South Street to place flags on veterans' graves. Volunteers from Hough High School’s Junior ROTC and others will visit all town cemeteries. All are welcome to participate.

For questions, please call the Parks and Recreation Department at 704-892-3349 or email Leslie Willis at lwillis@townofdavidson.org.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Town Hall kicks off comprehensive plan with "What's next Davidson?"

DAVIDSON, N.C. – This fall the Town of Davidson is kicking off a comprehensive plan, its first such effort since 2010. The Davidson Board of Commissioners identified the comprehensive plan as a priority in their 2018-2019 Strategic Plan. Generally, comprehensive plans are updated every five to ten years.

A comprehensive plan is the leading policy document and tool to help a community create a vision and guiding principles for decision-making for their town. It covers a lot of topics ranging from housing and transportation to land use, economic development, environment, health, and other areas. It brings all these topics into one document that is then used by elected officials, town staff, and citizens to guide decisions about our community, such as: How to prioritize what facilities to improve or construct (buildings, parks, streets); what types of land uses are appropriate for different areas of town; what types of programs should we encourage or offer (from government to businesses to institutions and nonprofits); and, how to ensure that our community’s values are represented in each decision made.

The comprehensive plan is a community-centered initiative. The planning process entails an extended community conversation that intentionally engages all stakeholders – residents, neighborhoods, businesses, the college, town government, non-profits, and institutions. Led by a consultant team comprised of Clarion Associates and Planning Next, the planning process will feature a variety of events, tools, and meeting formats to encourage community members to share insight into our community via in-person meetings/workshops, email, and online as well as hard-copy surveys. Whereas this fall will focus on background research and gathering input “where people are,” in the winter and spring of next year the town will host a series of community-wide events in which all are invited to participate. Together, each of these exercises will gather input essential to forming a community-wide vision and set of policies to support our aspirations. Below is a summary of the process and anticipated timeline:

  • October - December 2018: Initial public engagement + community research;
  • January 17, 2019: Community meeting to present findings;
  • March 2019: Multi-day workshop/event(s) to solicit feedback on policy direction and framework for future comprehensive plan;
  • Summer 2019: Drafting of the comprehensive plan; § Fall 2019: Presentation of draft plan and making revisions;
  • Winter 2019-2020: Consideration of adopting new comprehensive plan;
  • Winter/Spring 2020: Drafting/review/approval of implementation plan to guide execution of the comprehensive plan.

We’ve assembled two groups of community members to help us with this process:

The Plan Advisory Group, which will play a role in shaping the comprehensive plan process and serve as a sounding board to guide the development of the plan; and The Publicity & Outreach Committee, which will leverage our community members’ personal networks, communications and marketing skills, and ability to get the word out about upcoming engagement opportunities. “We’re looking forward to this process and want you to know that all community members are invited to participate,” said Senior Planner Trey Akers. “You’ll see us around town at a variety of events – the farmers market, Davidson College athletics events, the grand opening of the new park, etc. – to share information, encourage people to take our online survey, and invite the community to our town-wide workshops in the early part of 2019.”

We encourage you to participate in the following ways:

Visit the project-specific website and complete our online survey at www.WhatsNextDavidson.com and Sign up for our new “What’s Next?” eCrier to receive news and information at www.townofdavidson.org/eCrier (type in your email and click the “What’s Next?” list at the bottom), and Mark your calendar to attend the “Conversation on What’s Next” on January 17 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Lilly Gallery at Davidson College

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Grand Opening of Plum Creek Park 11/10 at 11am

DAVIDSON, N.C. – Community members are invited to the grand opening ceremony for Plum Creek Park, located near Bailey Springs on November 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This phase of the park includes a basketball court, two tennis courts, and a playground.

Grand opening events will include:
  • Activities for the whole family
  • Tree planting with Trees Davidson (volunteers needed)
  • Basketball and tennis clinics
  • North Carolina Wildlife Federation activities for children
  • Bartlett Tree Clinic with tree doctor
  • Food and more!
To volunteer with Trees Davidson, interested residents can use the SignUpGenius link:

http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30E0A4CA4AE29A64-newpark

Parking is limited so please consider walking or biking by using our greenway system or carpooling with a friend or neighbor.

“One of the goals of the 2018-2019 Strategic Plan is to increase the physical and mental health of Davidson community members, specifically by preserving open space and providing opportunities for play and discovery,” said Town Manager Jamie Justice. “We are so excited the first phase of this park is ready for all to enjoy.”

For more information about this new park and event, please call the Davidson Parks and Recreation Department at 704-892-3349.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Early voting midpoint data shows strong turnout by Democrats

With early voting at the half-way mark, data from the MeckBOE website shows turnout favorable to Democratic candidates in the NCGA races for current Republican seats covering North Mecklenburg.  Specifically, this analysis covers NC Senate 41 currently held by Jeff Tarte and NC House 98 currently held by John Bradford - both of Cornelius.  It does not cover NC House 107 held by Democrat Chaz Beasley.

North Mecklenburg has long been a Republican stronghold.  In fact, Davidson Precinct 206 has been the only consistently blue area in Lake Norman for years.  aShortChronicle posted about that previously in this post from 2012.  However, since that time the I77 Hot Lanes controversy has turned some races on their heads with more voters crossing party lines in response to that controversial project.  The most notable being the Governor's race in 2016 with 10's of thousands of LKN voters who had previously voted Republican going for Democrat Roy Cooper over Republican Pat McCrory.  See the details of that here.

While so far the I77 controversy hasn't trickled down in an impactful way to recent General Assembly races, there are vocal anti-toll voices both for and against the incumbents who have been working, to date unsuccessfully, to negate the tolling contract.  That could be important if these races become close for other reasons.

Those other reasons potentially impacting these races include the known fact of legislative redistricting and potential fact of a so called "blue wave" being driven by national issues.

Redistricting will definitely impact the outcome of these races.  Read about the details of that here. In NC Senate 41 currently held by Republican incumbent Jeff Tarte against Democrat challenger Natasha Marcus, the new district lines shift the race in favor of the challenger.  In this race, the southern half of the district shifted from eastern Mecklenburg to western Mecklenburg.  In the NC House 98 district currently held by Republican John Bradford against Democrat challenger Christy Clark, the new district became slightly more Republican with some shifts on its southern edge.

Those redistricting impacts will have an effect and can be seen in the early turnout numbers.  The impact of any "blue wave" remains to be seen, but the turnout numbers so far indicate something may be in the making.  Check out the below analysis of data from the MeckBOE website.


There are a few things to note on these numbers.  This data goes through voting on Friday, 10/26 - the midpoint of early voting this election.  The early vote turnout (EVT) numbers include all ballots cast and requested.  It is assumed that the vast majority of mail in ballots requested will eventually be returned.  The totals may look off slightly if one tries to reconcile them to the BOE raw data because these numbers don't include smaller party registration numbers and people in unincorporated areas for the North Meck totals.  The North Meck totals for the towns only include Davidson, Cornelius, and Huntersville minus voters in NCH107, unincorporated areas, and the smaller parties as previously mentioned.  Overall, these things won't change the overall outcomes of the analysis much if at all.

Here's what these numbers tell you.

First, Democrats are, so far, outperforming by a pretty significant margin in the North Mecklenburg towns relative to their voter registration percentage.  That's could be taken as a sign of voter enthusiasm among Democrats.  Since North Mecklenburg is heavily Republican, one would expect a bigger turnout lead for their candidates.   Also, the overall turnout at North Mecklenburg polling sites is running significantly ahead of early voting in the last mid-term election in 2014.  These things speak to the possibility of a blue wave, at least locally.

Second, the turnout totals by electoral district show the major impact redistricting is having, particularly in NC Senate 41.  The overall turnout lead the Democrats are building in this race is being driven entirely by the newly included southern portion.  In NC House 98, redistricting, as expected, is helping Republican totals, but instead of significantly expanding a lead it is just helping them keep pace.

Obviously, the big unknown is how unaffiliated voters break.  There are some reasonable assumptions that can be made here.  The most basic is that most UNA voters consistently vote one party or the other.  Few actually are true ticket splitters.  Based on that, it would be safe to assume that if registered Democrats are outperforming, that Democrat-leaning UNA voters are too.  These assumptions, if true, may narrow the historical gap enjoyed by Republicans in NC House 98 race.

In the NC Senate 41 race, the UNA votes cast so far are almost evenly split between the portions in the three northern towns and the southern part of the district.  If one assumes the UNA voters in the northern part of the district are more Republican leaning and the UNA voters in the south are more Democratic leaning, that would mean they likely cancel each other out to a large part and won't close the 2000+ turnout gap the Democrats currently possess.  If the trend continues, the Republicans will have to close that gap on election day when Republicans tend to turnout at higher rates.  The larger the gap, the harder that will be to do.

Finally, there is the unknowable impact national events and negative ads will have on these state level races.  Will recent national events spur more turnout or ticket splitting than expected?  Will the economy help Republicans?  Will the negative ad flyers that have been landing in local mailboxes lately gin up the base or will they backfire?

While early turnout data tells quite a bit, it's the answers to these unknowable questions that will likely determine the final outcome.

Friday, October 26, 2018

North-South Parkway information session at Hopewell Baptist on Tuesday (press release)

DAVIDSON, N.C – Davidson residents are invited to offer input regarding existing roadways, new alignments, or a combination of both, with respect to the North-South Parkway at a public meeting on Tuesday, October 30 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Hopewell Baptist Church located at 18841 Davidson-Concord Road.

A team comprised of staff from Iredell County, the Towns of Davidson, Mooresville, Cornelius, and Huntersville, the Lake Norman Regional Transportation Commission (LNTC), and the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) are working to identify transportation alternatives for a north-south corridor from Eastfield Road in Huntersville up to Timber Road in Mooresville.

In 2018 local jurisdictions, including the Towns of Huntersville, Davidson, Mooresville, Cornelius, and Iredell County agreed that a comprehensive effort must be undertaken to link their efforts together in a cohesive manner. Your input is critical for providing local communities with a cohesive plan for a new north-south transportation corridor.

Please visit www.Northsouthparkway.org for more information.

Monday, October 22, 2018

East West Connector road project environmental impact hearing, Tuesday 10/23

Roads and water drive development.  That's no secret to anyone paying attention to growth in the area over recent years.  On Tuesday evening, there will be a hearing regarding the environmental impacts of a multifaceted road project just north of Davidson in Iredell County called the East West Connector.

This project will drive the next tsunami of development in the Lake Norman area opening up thousands more acres for large scale projects over the next decade.

Projects like the Lake Davidson development proposed last year will become more likely whenever these road projects occur.  aShortChronicle posted several stories on that project.  The EWC will also support developments like the Province at Lake Norman written about back in August, and the $1 billion Silicon Shores announced in July will also be greatly enhanced by this road project.

For more on how this EWC project could open up large scale development, check out this post from the Lake Davidson series.  The eventual numbers are staggering.

Here is the notice put out by Mooresville on the project.

The Town of Mooresville (Town) proposes to construct a four lane divided highway through an area known as Silicon Shores to connect I-77 Exit 31 and Langtree Road to the NC-115/Mecklenburg Highway. The highway has been named the East West Connector (EWC).

The EWC Project will provide a safe, direct access and improve the movement of goods and people between the I-77 Exit 31 and Langtree Road to the NC-115/Mecklenburg Highway. The project will include an at grade crossing of the Norfolk Southern (NS) Railroad that will allow the Town to negotiate with NS to close up to four public crossings after completion.

The scope of this National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Environmental Assessment (EA) includes the following:

  • 4,310 linear feet of four-lane divided highway directly connecting Langtree Road with NC-115, known as “East West Connector”;
  • 2,368 linear feet of three-lane divided highway, known as “RL West Connector”;
  • 2,298 linear feet of three-lane divided highway, known as “Transco Connector”.
  • 8,976 linear feet of water lines along the three highways that make up the EWC project;
  • 8,620 linear feet of pedestrian/bicycle lanes;
  • 4,310 linear feet of fiber lines; and26 Intellistreets Luminaires.

In addition to safety improvements and travel time efficiencies, the new road will support economic development of 454 acres, provide direct access to major employers Lowe’s and CORVID Technologies, and result in long term job creation. The EWC is projected to leverage new private investment estimated to be $689,854,745 in Silicon Shores over the next decade. Current, ongoing development is driving the decision to build the EWC and install supporting infrastructure.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 – A Public Meeting will be held at Town Hall from 6-8PM. Staff and the Ferguson Group will be giving a brief presentation on the project and then have a formal public comment period. All comments will be recorded with no formal answers being given from staff or the Board that night. Board member attendance is encouraged but not required. The rest of the evening will be a “drop in” format with the public having the ability to continue to submit written comments for the rest of the meeting and during the entire 30 day comment period.

NEPA Assessment

Monday, October 15, 2018

Davidson provides cautionary tale for Charlotte on 4-Year Terms

Charlotte City Council is roiling the political landscape in the Queen City with serious discussion of changing from two year terms to 4 year terms for its elected officials.  In recent days, both current and former electeds have come out both for and against the idea in Charlotte Observer op-eds and on social media.

This is an issue near and dear to aShortChronicle from back when tiny Davidson was considering the same thing in 2010 and 2012.  Long-time readers will know this idea of longer terms for electeds was one of the driving stories in the early days of this blog.  In fact the first stories consolidated into a dedicated "Chronicle" page were on this topic.  You can find them here at the Davidson 4-Year Terms Chronicle.

If you were to read through those old posts about Davidson as well as the current online arguments going on in Charlotte, you see many similar reasons for and against the idea.  Proponents like being elected officials but don't like campaigning.  They see 4-year staggered terms as providing "stability" Opponents think 4-year terms reduce accountability and see making such a change without a referendum as undemocratic.

When these debates are in the heat of battle all of these arguments are just speculation.  The idea of stability sounds good.  The idea of small-d democracy sounds good.  Nobody really knows who is right.

Yes, Charlotte is exponentially bigger than Davidson.  Yes, Charlotte is less politically diverse than Davidson with the makeup of its current Board being in near solid lockdown by Democrats.  However, Davidson does provide a pretty clear example of why 2 year terms is a good idea and Charlotte residents should fight to keep them.

When Davidson Commissioners were considering a unilateral change to 4 year staggered terms without going to voters, the idea failed because of strong citizen pushback.  There was no way of knowing at the time, but the defeat of this powergrab by Town Hall would have positive consequences years down the road.

In the years after keeping 2 year terms Davidson's future Board promoted a series of unpopular ideas.  These included the failed Catalyst Project, the failed Beaty Street RFP, the controversial Griffith Street Hotel now mired in the courts, the idea of massive spending for a new Town Hall without voter input, and the Rural Area Plan mass rezoning, among others.

Stopping that line of thinking and the constant controversy it caused required a wholesale changing of the guard.  In 2017, on the back of the Save Davidson movement that wholesale change occurred when 5 of 6 elected officials were changed in a single election cycle.

In the 10 months since the new Board has been sworn into office, there has been a noticeable change of tone coming out of Town Hall.  There is noticeably less swirl.  There is noticeably better decisionmaking.  That would not have been possible under 4 year staggered terms.  At most, only 3 officials could have been turned over under that scheme, and the Town would still be swirling.

That is the cautionary tale the voters of Charlotte should consider before laying down and accepting what their leaders are proposing.  Even if you like how Charlotte runs now, there might come a time when things change.  It is better to have the option of making change and not needing it, than to need that option and not have it.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Lingle Hut Day is Saturday, 10/13...Help restore a piece of Davidson history

At its September 25th Board of Commissioners meeting, Davidson declared October 13th as "Lingle Hut Day" in town.  This proclamation supports the ongoing fundraising efforts to raise money for the restoration of the historic building on Watson Street at Reeves Temple AME Zion Church.  See the proclamation below.


aShortChronicle previously told readers about the project where church members and local volunteers are hard at work planning to restore the site which had previousmy served as a gathering place in the Westside community.  The initial phase of the effort needs $20,000 primarily to fix the foundation of the building, and to date more than half of that sum has been raised.  Volunteers have been selling engraved bricks at the Farmers Market for the effort among other donations, but this Saturday, 10/13 will be the biggest push yet with a Carnival at the Church.


Plan on hitting the Farmers Market then heading over to Watson Street.  It will be a great way to support the community, and in this case, literal community building efforts.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Runners galore in Davidson on Saturday

It will be a busy morning in Downtown Davidson today.  In addition to the Farmers Market, two running events are serlt to occur.

Delayed because of Hurricane Florence, the annual Run for the Green event happens today , Saturday September 29th.  Be on the lookout as hundreds of runners take to the streets in the annual 5k,10k, half-marathon event put on by the Davidson Lands Conservancy.

See more about the event here.

There is also a very special solo event happening this morning called "50 for Freedom".  Robert Alexander, Associate Pastor at DCPC, will run a 50 mile challenge to raise $50,000 to combat human trafficking.  The event will benefit Lily Pad Haven.

See more on this event here.

Swing by the Town Green this morning and throughout the day to cheer on the racers.  Food and music start at 6pm.

Town of Davidson Initiates Comprehensive Plan Process - Deeks Volunteers

DAVIDSON, N.C. – The Town of Davidson is excited to announce the beginning of its comprehensive plan process. Each and every Davidson community member will be asked for input over the course of this 18+ month process. To help us guide the overall process, we want to create two committees – a Plan Advisory Group and a Publicity & Outreach Committee. The application form is located here, and the deadline to apply is September 30. Below please find descriptions of the two committees, the scope of work, and participation expectations:

1. Plan Advisory Group

Members of this group will play a role in shaping the comprehensive plan process and serve as a sounding board to guide the development of the plan. We anticipate 12 or so citizens will be selected to join elected officials, representatives from the planning and livability boards, Design Review Board, and Davidson College to form the Plan Advisory Group (PAG). There will also be staff members and consultants serving as liaisons to this group.

We anticipate that the PAG will meet seven times during the planning process, focusing their efforts on reviewing and providing feedback on the planning process and draft plan. Dates for these meetings will be solidified once the group is selected. The Planning Advisory Group’s scope of work follows: The PAG will meet twice during Phase 1/Fall 2018 to discuss the comprehensive planning process, schedule, and the Plan Advisory Group’s role over the course of the process, topics/issues pertinent to Davidson, outcomes of the first round of public intercept events and will provide input on public engagement activities to conduct at the first community workshop scheduled for January.

The PAG will meet twice during Phase 2/Winter 2019 to review reports from Phase 1 and help determine the focus and activities of the two upcoming workshops. After the workshops, the PAG will discuss how the findings should be translated specifically into policy direction, comprehensive plan content, recommended code changes, and Planning Area map revisions.

The PAG will meet three times during Phase 3/Summer 2019 to review the draft plan in three different, digestible modules, since the content will be so detailed.

2. Publicity & Outreach Committee

This committee will leverage our community members’ personal networks, communications and marketing skills, and ability to get the word out about upcoming engagement opportunities. This group will work regularly this fall and then intermittently as the project proceeds.

“If you are not interested in serving on one of these committees, but want to make sure your voice is heard as we create the comprehensive plan, please participate as an individual,” said Co-Project Leader Trey Akers. “Our project team will attend events and meetings around town this fall to get input from citizens where they already are.”

In January, we’ll host a public kick-off event when all members of the community will be invited to share input, and in March we anticipate hosting a multi-day workshop to which every Davidson resident will be invited. In addition to gathering input in person, we’ll also have multiple opportunities for community members to provide insight via email, online and hard-copy surveys, etc. During the summer months of 2019, we’ll work on a draft plan and present updates at board of commissioners’ meetings, so community members will have the opportunity to share feedback as the comprehensive plan is drafted.

Background

What is a comprehensive plan? It’s the leading policy document and tool to help communities create a vision and guiding principles for decision-making for their town. In Davidson’s case, it allows our community to understand our historical context, acknowledge immediate concerns, evaluate options for how to best proceed, and move together toward a better future for Davidson. Because it’s a community-centered process, input from our community members is critical.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Continuum FY2018 reaults flat year over year

DAVIDSON, N.C. – On Thursday, August 23, the Continuum Board of Directors met to review financial results for FY 2018, which ended June 30, and compare last quarter to the same quarter a year ago. Data has not been externally audited, but are preliminary and still subject to external audit.

Quarter Comparison

Revenue is up .89% when comparing Q4 2018 to Q4 2017 and total expenses decreased by 4.23% in Q4 2018 compared to Q4 2017. EBIDA (Earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization, a key metric used by cable operators to measure performance) increased by 15.77% from Q4 FY 2017 to Q4 FY 2018. Average revenue per customer is even.  

“We are so pleased with the upward trajectory over the last four months of EBIDA indicating that our overall performance is strong,” said Continuum CEO David Auger. “We anticipate continued EBIDA growth in future quarters based on the groundwork we’ve laid.”  

FY 2018 (unaudited) vs. FY 2017  

Financially, year-over-year, FY 2018 revenue fell behind FY 2017 by .79%.  EBIDA declined by 3.49% from FY 2017 to FY 2018. Average revenue per customer is down .72% from FY 2017 to FY 2018.  Continuum gained 167 customers during FY 2018.  

Continuum made a contribution of $3.15 million in debt payment to the Town of Mooresville for FY 2018, and projected a payment of $3.48 million in the FY 2019 budget. The amount the Towns of Mooresville and Davidson made to the debt payment for FY 2018 was $3.23 million and the projected payment for the towns in FY 2019 is $2.94 million. Continuum’s contribution toward the debt is projected to exceed the towns’ contributions in FY 2019.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Tentative schedule on Griffith Street Hotel appeal

aShortChronicle has learned that the Defendants appealing the Mecklenburg Superior Court decision invalidating the zoning for the Griffith Street Hyatt Place Hotel project have officially filed with the Court if Appeals in Raleigh.

The "record of appeal" was filed on September 17th and docketed the following day.  According to documentation provided by lead plaintiff, Luke Charde, "cases will be heard in the approximate order in which the records on appeal are docketed."

However, there are still a number of steps before any actual court date is known.  Within 30 days of docketing the record, the Defendants making the appeal must submit their brief on the appeal.  Then the Plaintiffs have 30 days to respond.  Then the appeal hearing has to be scheduled.   Per an email from Charde, the Plaintiffs' legal team doesn't expect a decision until Spring 2019.

All told, this case still has a ways to go, but thanks to successful community fundraising efforts for the plaintiffs, they now have the resources to see it through.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

1st day of Florence brings relatively light rain totals to North Mecklenburg

While a couple inches of rain in a day would be a lot under normal circumstances, for a tropical system North Mecklenburg has gotten off light so far with Florence.  By the end of the day Sunday things will likely be different, but check out these area totals as of Sunday morning.







Saturday, September 15, 2018

With rain starting keep eye on these Davidson "high hazard dams"

As Florence finally arrives locally and with several inches of rain or more expected in coming days, local dams will be under strain.  The Charlotte Observer posted a tool showing where identified "high hazard dams" are located with three in the Davidson area.  Maplecroft, Pages Pond, and Beaty.






For those wondering about Beaty, the pond was drained as recently as last week according to those who follow that closely.  Draining the pond is something that occurs regularly due to the poor rating of the dam, and should provide some excess capacity for the coming rains.  Up to six different runoff points drain into the pond which provides filtration before those waters flow downstream.

This weekend's rainfall will also be the biggest test of the new ponds built on the West Branch development.  When these ponds were first built there were some issues during major rain fall.  Here is hoping these hold as well to prevent any impacts on the now rescheduled Run for the Green which uses the adjacent greenway.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Light agenda at Davidson Town Hall this evening

After hearing a special presentation on the Lingle Hut restoration project and the regular Commissioner updates on their assigned external board duties, the Board will discuss the following:

(a) Sidewalk Project and Funding, Public Works & Projects Director Doug Wright and Finance Director Pieter Swart
Summary: At the August 28, 2018 meeting, the board of commissioners considered several options for a sidewalk project for this fiscal year. The board of commissioners preferred option 1 which was to install sidewalk along Grey Road (from Concord Road to Wolfe Street) and a portion of Spring Street. The recommended action is to proceed with the Grey Road and Spring Street projects, allocating $357,276 of fund balance to complete the projects.

(b) Joint Compensation Study Findings and Recommendations, Town Manager Jamie Justice and Consultant Susan Manning
Summary: To ensure the Town of Davidson is competitive with municipalities in the Charlotte region, a pay study was included in the FY 2018-19 budget. The last pay study was conducted in 2015 and the town’s strategy, and a human resources best practice, is to complete a pay study every three years. Staying competitive allows the Town of Davidson to recruit and retain high performing employees that provide services to the citizens. A collaborative effort was made between the towns of Huntersville, Cornelius, and Davidson to collect and analyze data from 20 local communities. The findings of the study will be presented; the implementation recommendation will be presented at a future meeting.

(c) 251 South Street Property Acquisition, Assistant Town Manager Dawn Blobaum
Summary: The town has 60 days from September 5 to complete its due diligence process prior to purchasing the property at 251 South Street. The board of commissioners will be asked approve Resolution 2018-24 to affirm the purchase of 251 South Street and appropriate $45,000 funding for deposit, legal fees, and due diligence from Public Facilities Capital Projects fund.  (Note: This is the purchase of the former Davidson IB Middle property from CMS.)

(d) Downtown Park/Davidson Farmer's Market Site Improvement Options, Economic Development Director Kim Fleming
Summary: At the September 4, 2018 work session, the board of commissioners reviewed the proposed improvements to the Downtown Park/Davidson Farmer's Market site. The board of commissioners will consider accepting the $100,000 grant from the Department of Agriculture, amend the FY2019 budget to reflect the grant, and authorize the Town Manager to move forward with up to $45,000 for construction documents phase

(e) Historic Preservation Initiatives Update, Assistant Town Manager Dawn Blobaum
Summary: Historic Preservation is one of the board of commissioners’ strategic plan goals. This is an update on our work on various initiatives to date and next steps. The board of commissioners may take action to determine the process for choosing a committee to vet the request for proposals and consultant for the local historic district expansion/creation.

(f) Rules of Procedure - Remote Participation, Town Attorney Cindy Reid
Summary: The board of commissioners have requested a brief analysis of whether it should allow commissioners to vote via phone. Currently, members are allowed to participate in board meetings by phoning in but are not permitted to vote.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Purchase signs signify West Branch building about to pick up

aShortChronicle has been following the West Branch development since its earliest phases including much of the swirl surrounding the project.  That includes the moving of a viewshed and rezoning conflicts, its relationship to speed limits and safety on Davidson-Concord Rd, its impact to the publicly owned greenway, and its future contribution to growth in the town population.

Now, that the first of the townhome buildings have started coming out of the ground, current residents will soon begin to see new neighbors and more building.  On a recent trip through the neighborhood aShortChronicle saw the first "purchased" signs on townhome units.  In addition to the spec homes that can be seen from Robert Walker Drive (one of which appears occupied) at least 8 other single family lots sported these purchased signs last week which means houses should soon start popping up elsewhere in the development.

When all done, West Branch will add 300+ homes to Davidson making it one of the largest neighborhoods in town.



Sunday, September 9, 2018

Residents meet $10,000 goal in Griffith Street Hotel fight

With nearly a week to spare on their stated deadline, citizens opposed to the planned new hotel on Griffith Street in Davidson reached their $10,000 goal on Saturday to fund an appeal fight being mounted by the developer and landowner defendants.  The controversial project sandwiched between CSD's K7 building, houses on Westside Terrace, and the Spinnaker Cove neighborhood has brought together people from all across town and the LKN area in opposition.  Defendants are appealing a May Superior Court decision that invalidated the zoning allowing the project.

That opposition was on display with a "community yard sale" held Saturday morning at 341 Griffith Street.  The sale at the home of Evelyn Carr bought together people from across town who donated items for sale, their time, and money to bring this effort over the finish line.

Ms Carr (pictured bottom left at Saturday's event) has long been a stalwart voice at Davidson Town Hall, regularly speaking out on issues including safety for children walking to school along Griffith Street.


Prior to the event this weekend, she was interviewed by WSOC's Joe Bruno on why she was hosting the yard sale.  See that coverage here.

Having people in the community willing to "fight" to keep Davidson the town it is is one of the things that makes the town special.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Davidson Police Department Warns About Juvenile Enticement Incident

DAVIDSON, N.C. – Parents of a 12-year-old boy called 9-1-1 on Monday morning to report a subject attempting to entice their son into a car. The father advised that their son said an African-American male driving a dark blue or black car (possibly a Volkswagen model) asked him to get in the car and go for a ride. The boy was walking the family dog at the time of the encounter around 7:15 - 7:20 a.m. near Lake Park Drive in Davidson. The boy said he told the man “no” and the man then offered to buy him “something from Target” if the boy would come with him. The boy immediately ran home and told his parents who called 9-1-1.

Responding officers were not able to locate the subject or vehicle in the area. Contact was made with surrounding agencies about the incident. There had not been any other reports of this type of incident in Davidson or Cornelius at the time of the report.

“Their son did exactly what was needed – run away from the subject and immediately tell an adult,” said Davidson Police Chief Penny Dunn. “I’d like to reassure people that this is a rare incident in Davidson, but we are not immune from potential threats. We believe it is important for parents to have conversations with their children about potential dangers in public or from those the child knows, perhaps in a position of authority or trust. Children should always let an adult know when something is wrong, inappropriate, or makes them feel unsafe.”

There was no additional information on the subject’s appearance or direction of travel. The Davidson Police Department asks if anyone has information about this incident to please call 704-892-5131. The Davidson Police Department encourages citizens to be aware of surroundings and report suspicious behavior.

Want more information on what’s going on in Davidson? Be sure to visit our website often, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and sign up for our eCrier email distribution list.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Comm Jim Puckett responds to CMS's move against North Mecklenburg towns

The below is from an email sent by Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Puckett who represents North Mecklenburg after CMS moved this week to withhold funding for municipalities supporting municipal charter schools.  While Davidson did not participate in the vote for this permission, the move by CMS will clearly have impacts on residents in town.

Sec. Johnson, Senator Tarte, Representative Bradford, in as much as the CMS board has codified what until now was only a thinly concealed practice of systematic denial of proper school facilities in the suburban towns of Cornelius, Huntersville and Davidson, I formally request from the North Carolina General Assembly and the Department of Public Instruction an examination and publication of the means and corollary effects rising from said examination of the formation of a separate school district for the towns of Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson and their related Extra-Territorial Jurisdictions.   As a result of the CMS Policy:  Article II- Priority of Capital Spending in Certain Municipalities whereby the board of education has directed the Superintendent to limit future capital funding based on NCGA SL2018-3.  This wanton abuse of power to deny taxpayers adequate capital funding due to options afforded under state and federal law must be met with the only appropriate action that being the ability to have a reasonable and legally defensible expectation that tax dollars taken by force are allocated without prejudice across the district from which those taxes are collected.
While the Town of Davidson is not singled out in the above CMS policy her students will most surely be harmed as a result of denial to her neighboring towns when considering future high school building and to a lesser but still real extent middle schools as these facilities are regional and not town specific. 
CMS has put forth the argument that as a result of some towns choosing not to expand their options for providing adequate facilities even under the continued failure of CMS to do so, there should be some method of prioritization for those areas.  To that end and as using the same misguided logic, I suggest all parents who do not have the financial ability send their children to private or religious schools should have the same opportunity for prioritization of their personal capital in the pursuit of educating their children and opting to withhold the +/- 45% of their property tax that goes to CMS and direct it to that end.
I have spent most of the last 20 years trying to educate citizens of the unholy obsession at Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools to punish children who happen to live in areas of middle to upper social economic means outside the City of Charlotte.  That reality was last noticed in the recent bond package that saw a reprioritization of CMS’s own school building schedule to move schools listed in north Mecklenburg down the priority list and nearly a decade from any real chance of being built.  This inexcusable action led to the unprecedented need for the towns of Huntersville and Cornelius to request the ability to provide for their citizens in the face of clear discrimination.  Lest there be any doubt of the punitive nature of the public school system one need only look at the actions codified in policy by the CMS board with this latest action.  Not since the days of a dual school system has there been a more divisive and damaging action taken by those who claim to care about public education. 

Jim Puckett

Monday, August 27, 2018

Griffith Street Hotel appeal fund near $5,000 mark in four days

Donate Here
aShortChronicle told readers just last week that citizens challenging the Griffith Street Hotel rezoning are in need of funds to defend their win in court from an appeal by the developers pushing the project.

Well, it appears the community is stepping up in a big way.  In the first four days of the drive, $4,930 has been committed towards a $10,000 goal that needs to be met by September 15th.

According to information on the GoFundMe site, donations range from $10 to $1,000.  It is also clear these donations are coming not just from those homeowners most directly impacted by the potential hotel project.  Various names on the site as well as a $500 donation from Save Davidson organization show this is truly a community wide effort.  This also debunks the myth promoted by the few who support this project that opposition is just an example of NIMBYism.

It is about something much bigger.

This effort, like the effort to save the Beaty Street Property last year, has become about stopping inappropriate development in the wrong place that negatively impacts Davidson's small town character and holding Davidson Town Hall accountable for mishandling decisions for the people it represents.

Citizens won this case in the initial hearings because Davidson Town Hall admitted it erred on not one but two separate issues, violating the Davidson Planning Ordinance and NC law.  Now, they have to defend that victory against an appeal by developers who want this project to go forward anyway.

With the fundraising effort already at 50% of the goal, the citizen plaintiffs and the larger community definitely can reach the finish line and provide the effort the resources it needs to meet this challenge.

$5,000 in three weeks.

That is what's needed from here, so please think about what you can contribute.  Also, please think about how you will feel if this effort falls short and eventually there is a hotel on that spot where you know there shouldn't and couldn't have been.

Your piece of mind knowing you did what you could to stop that is worth it!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Lingle Hut restoration effort picking up steam

 aShortChronicle previously told readers about efforts to restore the historic log building on Davidson's Watson Street called the Lingle Hut.  The "Hut" as it's called had long been a gathering place for Davidson's Westside Community as part of Reeves Temple AME Zion Church.  The church at this location and the Hut also have a connection to the College.  See this earlier post for more on that aspect of the story that makes the hut part of the fabric of Davidson .

However, in recent years the Hut has fallen into disrepair and can no longer host the community activities it once did.  For a taste of what's missing, check out the pictures at the bottom of this post for snapshots of what used to take place here.

Seeing a need and with a well known history of community activism, Kurt and Maria Naas of Cornelius have been coordinating an effort to raise funds to get this building back into shape.  For the past several weeks, they have been organizing bi-weekly meetings of church members and community volunteers at the Davidson Library to come up with a game plan to raise awareness and hopefully some money to get the effort off the ground.

According to recent meeting minutes provided to aShortChronicle, these efforts appear ready to swing into a higher gear.

The group will be presenting at the upcoming Davidson Town Board meeting on September 11.  They also plan to be at the Davidson Farmers Market in later in the month on the 29th and next month on October 6th.  And if things continue to go well there will be a carnival/fundraiser in October to raise funds for the project.

If this sounds like something you'd be interested in helping make a reality stop by the Davidson Library this Thursday at 6:30 for the next meeting.

Images from the Hut's heyday...