City leaders give OK for new school, housing project near Ardrey Kell High

CHARLOTTE — A plot of land in Ballantyne will soon be home to a new elementary school and hundreds of housing units after the Charlotte City Council signed off on the project Monday night.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Woodfield Development are set to build an elementary school and 430-unit housing development near Ardrey Kell High School.

[ALSO READ: $42.5M in public funding sought for Ballantyne development]

The developer changed the project significantly to get the council’s support.

The number of units has decreased by more than 100 to 349, 15% will be affordable housing, which is up from 10%.

They are also reducing the stories to three and adding green space, wider sidewalks and a rec center.

Despite the concessions, Ballantyne’s representative Ed Driggs, D-District 7, said it’s still not enough.

“The density of the residential portion is just too high,” he said.

Driggs was the only person to vote against the project Monday night.

The Charlotte City Council also signed off on a new high school in Ballantyne. It will be located off North Community House Road and it did not have any opposition.

In January during a public hearing, neighbors and their city council representatives said traffic on that road is unbearable.

“In order to solve for those issues, we have to create a city, develop a city, that is more pedestrian centric. Create places you don’t need a vehicle,” said Councilman Braxton Winston, D-at-large Tuesday night.

“You will be putting further strain on our area,” neighbor Robert Marshall said in January.

“It takes ages to get through there,” Driggs said.

“Let’s make Charlotte a better place to live for our generation and future, and let’s really think about what we build before we build it,” neighbor Dawn Anderson said in January.

The attorney also told the council the development is planning numerous traffic improvements like a new signal across from Ardrey Kell High. But leaders are skeptical the improvements will work.

“This kind of development that has a place, but this is not the place,” Driggs said.

“I appreciate all of the affordable housing contributions, but it should not come at a cost of traffic and quality of life,” Councilwoman Dimple Ajmera said.

[ALSO READ: Developers start work on build-to-rent community in Ballantyne]

CMS needs to start construction this spring for the elementary school to open on its target date in August 2023.

Some neighbors requested an access point on Sulky Plough Road be converted to a walking a trail. The developer is in favor of that change.

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