MOORESVILLE, NC (Matt Kaminer/The Charlotte Observer) - Amid concerns about increased traffic congestion and pollution, the Mooresville Board of Commissioners voted 4-2 to deny a rezoning request for a 137-acre vacant area at N.C. 115 and Bridges Farm Road, a residential and retail development project called "Lake Davidson."
The request, made by developer Hinckley Gauvain, called for the land to be converted from single family residential to corridor mixed use and neighborhood mixed use in order to build a proposed commercial and multifamily development. If passed, the proposal could have included as many as 115 single-family homes, 300 residential condos, 120 townhomes, 300 apartments, 65,000 square feet of general office space and 65,000 square feet of retail space, according to development plans.
However, the proposal faced stark opposition from Mooresville residents. A change.org petition asking the mayor and board to deny the rezoning request had more than 1,000 signatures as of Monday afternoon.
Opponents to the plan claimed it was inconsistent with the town's Comprehensive Land Use Plan and that there have been no changes – such as a large corporate addition to the area – to make the proposed development necessary. Further, they asserted that the town failed to give residents sufficient notice of the request, particularly before a Mooresville Planning Board public meeting on May 11.
Residents crowded Mooresville Town Hall for the vote Monday to express their disapproval of the plan. When Mayor Miles Atkins confirmed the final decision, the crowd erupted in applause.
"Township residents of Davidson and Mooresville are delighted we have won this zoning battle to protect the integrity of Lake Davidson and its surrounding rural acreage at Bridges Farm Road and Rt. 115," Arielle Emmett, a resident of Bridges Farm Road, said. "We look forward to altering the process of rezoning, working closely with town officials to protect the beauty and integrity of our lakeside communities."
Prior to Monday's meeting, residents submitted a request for the recusal of both Mayor Atkins and Commissioner-At-Large David Coble from the rezoning vote, citing text communications between Atkins and Coble that, according to residents, included disparaging comments about individuals opposing the rezoning request. Ultimately, the mayor and commissioner did not recuse themselves from the vote.
"We felt all along that we weren't being heard," Angie Easley, a Mooresville resident, said. "We were vocal, and I think we definitely made an impact. I remember when we first got notice (of the proposal) and we all thought it was a lost cause, and then we said, 'Wait a minute, we have to fight!' "