Decision delayed on contentious northwest Charlotte development plan

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte City Council unanimously voted Monday night to defer a decision on a controversial town home project proposed for Beatties Ford Road across from Hornets Nest Park.

A developer wants to build more than 100 homes on the currently vacant land, however, the project has been met with opposition from many neighbors.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Affordable Housing Crisis]

For months, the development team has been negotiating back and forth with the city and the district's representative, Justin Harlow. Harlow mentioned Monday night that he was not always in favor of the project and when it was introduced, he thought it "was half-baked."

After concessions and a commitment to build a clubhouse on the property, Harlow said he came to a point where he could support the project.

"We've tried to find some middle ground here with the community and developer," Harlow said. "I know the community is unwavering in their lack of support."

Charlotte City Council members often take cues from district representatives on whether to approve or deny projects because council members are intimately involved in neighborhood discussions.

Despite Harlow's support of the project, council members expressed qualms about the project.

Monday night's meeting was also unique because only seven council members were present. City rules require six votes for a project to pass.

Neighbors have been lobbying members through email to vote against the project. Many are concerned about traffic, parking and whether more housing is necessary.

Next to the site is Trinty Park Baptist Church. The church's pastor, Rev. Eric Miller, came to the meeting Monday night hoping to see the project fail. He was happy to see the vote deferred and would prefer commercial development at the site.

"Developments that are more high end... kind of give a facelift to the community and give a little more morale to the area," Miller said.

Charlotte City Council members LaWana Mayfield and Dimple Ajmera expressed disappointment over the lack of details for parts of the project, including the newly proposed clubhouse.

Councilman Braxton Winston said he "never really liked this project" and that he was opposed to more dead-end streets on Beatties Ford Road.

City Council will consider the development again in December. There will be a new group of City Council members at that point, including a new district representative for the project, Malcolm Graham.