MATTHEWS, N.C. — Some families in Matthews are continuing to fight against a dense housing development that is proposed in the town’s historic downtown.
The developer wants to build 13 new homes next to the Four Mile Creek greenway on Trade Street.
Many neighbors want a park there instead, and they're doing everything they can to get commissioners’ attention.
At a board meeting on Monday night, they showed up with posters that showed their opposition for rezoning.
So far, more than 250 residents have signed a petition against the project.
Opponents are also taking out full-page ads in the local paper to try to gain support.
Many neighbors worry the new development would take away downtown’s historic charm.
After commissioners voted to delay the vote by another month on Monday night, neighbor Mark Tofano said, “I’ve got their strategy figured out. They’re going to wait until we’re all deceased to vote on the property.”
Tofano's statement was met with cheers and applause.
When that died down, Mayor Paul Bailey responded by saying, “I don’t appreciate those comments Mr. Tofano, I really don’t.”
In a Channel 9 investigation in August, we discovered the mayor and three other board members have all accepted campaign donations from the developer behind the housing proposal.
Commissioners insist their votes will still be fair but some neighbors say they just want to know their voices will be heard.
On Monday night, one man told commissioners they should focus on growing ethically instead and recuse themselves if they have accepted money.
Commissioner John Urban says he won't do that because the town attorney told him he doesn't have a conflict of interest.
“As a commissioner on this board, I have a legal obligation to vote,” Urban said.
The mayor says despite the public pleas for a park, he has not received any offers yet that would make that possible.
Commissioners will have their next chance to vote on the issue during their November board meeting.
Cox Media Group