203,000 square foot project proposed in Cornelius

Proposed Cornelius Commerce Center on Bailey Road near Hwy. 115 intersection

DEVELOPMENT | By Dave Vieser

June 8. A bucolic piece of farmland on Bailey Road, which represents the once rural side of Cornelius, has been targeted for a zoning change, which would permit the construction of a five-building, 203,000 square foot commercial center. However, nearby residents have raised concerns about the proposal, to the extent that at least one Town Board Member has voiced his opposition to the plan. Moreover, efforts by the developer to expedite rezoning have been put on hold – at least temporarily – by the town planning department.

About the property

Commerce Center property outlined in red

According to county tax records, the vacant property, which dates back to the old Potts Plantation, is owned by Eugene Hunter, a descendant. It is assessed at $2.9 million.

Several other vacant parcels have been rezoned in recent years, including Sefton Park (330 apartments and a hotel/conference center), Mayes Meadows (160 single family lots) and Greenway Gartens (the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery project with 346 multi-family units).

About the proposal

Charlotte-based GGW Flex Holdings is seeking to amend the rural preservation zoning on the acreage on the north side of Bailey Road just east of Hwy. 115. The property is located across from the entrance to Bailey Road Park, and close to a well-known low spot in the state-maintained road. The proposed 203,000 square foot “Cornelius Commerce Center” would have frequent truck deliveries which would have to negotiate the downslope near the site, further complicating traffic issues as the road approaches the Hwy.115 intersection. 

Bailey Road already carries a significant volume of traffic to area schools, as well as traffic to a new Publix recently opened across the town line in Huntersville.

The planned straightening of Bailey Road is a mile west of the property.

None of this has been lost on area residents

Bailey’s Glen resident Suzanne Fulton said people there are concerned about safety.  “The proposed commercial development is not well suited for this section of Bailey Road, a road that the NCDOT is unlikely to widen,” she said.

Meanwhile Town Commissioner Denis Bilodeau has already told the developers that he cannot support the project. ”In my opinion the overwhelming feedback from citizens is that this project is not a good fit at this time. “

Planning board says ‘slow down’

As the project worked its way through the town’s lengthy approval process, it was scheduled for review at the May 8 Planning Board meeting. Despite a last-minute change in their site plan, attorney Susan Irvin and the developers were hoping to get a positive recommendation so that the required Town Board public hearing could occur on June 5.

However, members of the planning board said they were not ready to vote on the project at their May 8 meeting, pushing back their review to June 12. One issue which caused concern among residents and planning
board members alike was the required
Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) which did not appear to take into account weekend school activities nor the recent Publix opening. Even if a positive recommendation is reached in June, the earliest date for a town board public hearing would appear to be July 17 since there is only one board meeting in July.

• The Planning Board Meeting is at 6:30 pm Monday June 12 at Town Hall on Catawba Avenue.


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