‘This city, the way that it’s growing, we cannot put a moratorium on it’

‘This city, the way that it’s growing, we cannot put a moratorium on it’
Credit: Davie Hinshaw | The Charlotte Observer

CHARLOTTE, NC (Ely Portillo/The Charlotte Observer) - A plan to build about 100 apartments in northwest Charlotte won approval Monday night, despite concerns about crowded schools and roads.

City Council voted 9-2 in favor of the proposal, with council members Tariq Bokhari and James Mitchell opposed.

Rea Ventures, the Atlanta-based developer seeking to build on the site, focuses on affordable developments. The developer has said it'll seek to build apartments restricted to low-income renters, but that plan is dependent on receiving federal tax credits.

The developer has about a 1-in-4 chance of securing those credits, which are distributed annually in a competitive process. A market-rate development could be built on the site if it doesn't get the subsidy.

The development would be off Mount Holly-Huntersville Road, near Brookshire Boulevard and Interstate 485. Neighbors said the development would crowd schools that are already full and bring more traffic to local roads.

A dozen people held signs reading "No Class Room" before City Council on Monday.

"Adding additional density now creates a bigger choke point on a state roadway that can't handle the current traffic," said Steven Swicegood, of the Mountain Island Neighborhoods Organization, at a hearing last month.

Jodi McKay, who lives nearby and teaches at Mountain Island Lake Academy, said the school has about twice as many students as it was designed to handle.

But council member Justin Harlow, who represents the area, said the area has to get more dense, and that the site should be used to build more housing.

"This city, the way that it's growing, we cannot put a moratorium on it," said Harlow. He said the school system needs to plan for growth and work more with City Council.

"Communities are always concerned about infrastructure and schools," said Harlow. "Unfortunately, our school board doesn't have a strategic plan."

He also said that even though the plans City Council approved don't commit the developers to affordable housing, those considerations played a role in the discussion.

"This petition was in some way around affordable housing," said Harlow. "We know what the council's goals are."