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
(up to)
New Speed
(up to)
(up to)
High-Speed Broadband
25 X 5
50 X 5
Accelerated Broadband
50 X 5
100 X 10
Super Speed Broadband
75 X 5
150 X 10
Hyper Speed Broadband
100 X 10
200 X 10
Warp Speed Broadband
200 X 20
300 X 20
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.


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.


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