Neighbors continue to fight plans to add condo complex to Wesley Heights community

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Dozens of Wesley Heights community members met with a developer for a second time regarding plans to add a condo complex to the historic neighborhood in west Charlotte.

Developer Bobby Drakedford wants to rezone close to half an acre of land near the Rhino Market & Deli to build new condos. During the first meeting with the community, many voiced concerns about the size of the project so Drakeford and his team brought new plans Wednesday night.

"We were able to reduce the height down to two stories and completely flip the building location," explained Russell Fergusson, an attorney working with Drakeford.

The development team hoped that reducing the project size and maintaining historic value within the neighborhood would ease the concerns of some residents, but many still seemed frustrated with the project proposal.

"They have no intention of stopping this. They have no intention of abandoning it. They're moving forward with zoning regardless of what the neighborhood thinks, regardless of how passionate we all feel," said Wesley Heights resident Shy Goldstein after Wednesday's meeting.

Goldstein asked the developer and his team what it would take for them to drop the proposal.

At one point a resident interrupted Drakeford's presentation to ask if anyone was in favor of the development being built. It appeared that only one resident was in support of it. Many people continued to ask questions about the project and some community members walked out of the meeting when they became frustrated with the developer.

"They don't care about what the neighbors want," said Wesley Heights resident Rita Shipp.

She wasn't the only neighbor to voice that sentiment.

"It's not that we oppose development, it's just that this is not the right development for Wesley Heights," said resident Katonya Hamilton.

When asked by WBTV if there was anything the neighbors could do to stop the development, Fergusson replied, "I think at this point we're intending to go through the zoning process."

Wesley Heights resident Kevin Jones lives within walking distance of the proposed development site. He and his neighbors worry that the new condos would cause clutter and parking issues in the historic community. Jones said this proposal should serve as a warning to residents in other historic communities in Charlotte.

"I would encourage anybody in Charlotte to reach out to their city council member and let them know they oppose this because if this can happen in a protected historic community, it can happen in your community in Charlotte as well," said Jones.

The Charlotte City Council is expected to hold a public hearing regarding the rezoning proposal in March. A decision from the elected leaders regarding the rezoning request could come in April.

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