Future of Antiquity Woods project in doubt

By Dave Vieser. In May 2016, with a strong local economy and Cornelius’ Antiquity neighborhood growing day by day, developer Joe Roy of Charlotte-based Meeting Street Co. filed a rezoning application which, if approved by the town, would permit him to build Antiquity Woods, a mixed-use community on 16 acres of vacant land. Eighteen months later, the rezoning is at a standstill, its outcome in doubt.

Nevertheless, Meeting Street just paid a double application fee to keep the application active until April 30 next year. “Other than that, we have no indication of any additional direction in which to move the project forward,” said Cornelius Planning Director Wayne Herron.

Despite enormous demand for new housing, developers are being stymied by new and better organized citizen movements calling for slower and more sensitive growth, especially in light of lagging infrastructure. Efforts to reach Meeting Street officials were unsuccessful, but so far, it appears citizens are winning.

The proposed development would be a combination of town homes, along with a central garden and the Village Tavern Inn, a mixed-use building. The project would be bounded by an old screw factory, the Antiquity development, a greenway, a covered bridge, Davidson Elementary and McEver baseball field in Davidson. It is currently zoned Neighborhood Residential but a change in zoning to a conditional zoning status would be needed to increase density.

In reality, Meeting Street could erect approximately 50 homes without getting a change in the zoning. However, their plans call for about 100 townhomes, or a density of about twice the amount they could build “by right.”

The year-and-a-half of waiting has enabled residents to fortify their opposition to the project based on traffic/safety issues.

Antiquity resident Kelly Gardner started a group called Citizens Advocating Responsible Development, better known as CARD. “Our members really care about traffic/safety issues on South St and in Antiquity,” Gardner said.

The biggest concern around traffic is that the only entrance and exit to Antiquity Woods would be precisely where traffic on South Street from Davidson approaches the quaint and narrow covered bridge which connects the two towns.

In December of last year, the required traffic impact analysis (TIA) for the project was completed by A. Morton Thomas & Associates of Raleigh. The 50-page document includes information on the traffic flow which the development would generate. Neighbors were already concerned with some of the information included in the study, and with no direction from Meeting Street, the time elapsed may result in the need for a new TIA.

“That depends” said Herron. “Did the plan change? Did any circumstances related to items evaluated change? If things did change, does it change the outcome or the recommended mitigation? We do not know what plan the applicant will choose so, we will just have to wait and see.”


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