CHARLOTTE – City leaders are considering a rezoning plan that would add up to 75 houses, 350 apartments and 45,000 square feet of commercial space near Novant Health Mint Hill Medical Center.
JS Helms Family Properties has applied to rezone the nearly 67 acres on the north side of Albemarle Road, west of Interstate 485. The hospital is on the other side of the interstate.
The land, which is just outside city limits, is zoned for single-family housing.
Keith MacVean, an attorney representing the property owner, told the council during the May 30 public hearing that the project delivers on the types of retail and housing diversity the area needs.
“There’s not a lot of commercial opportunities, restaurants and retail uses in this part of Charlotte, and this is an opportunity to bring some of those services to this community,” MacVean said.
Plans call for a mix of retail, office, restaurants and personal services. Buildings will go no higher than three stories.
The development team is trying to secure a gas station on site, but if that doesn’t occur, they’ll target a financial institution with drive-thru window. The site will have up to two drive-thru windows.
City staff did not recommend approval of the plan heading into the May 30 public hearing.
Planner Kent Main said the proposal not only conflicts with the small area plan’s recommendation for single-family development, but also isn’t comparable to the type of walkable, mixed-use development the city encourages.
Fast food, gas stations and bank branches tend to be highway uses.
“We need to get a design that integrates those uses better than just lining up along the road, which is a highway frontage kind of situation, not a mixed-use arrangement,” Main said.
MacVean contends the land-use recommendations in the Albemarle Road/I-485 Small Area Plan are outdated. Since approved in 2003, the area has seen many changes, most notably Novant Health Mint Hill Medical Center.
Then there’s the completion of the Woodbury neighborhood, as well as the continued buildout of the Cresswinds neighborhood and potential redevelopment of the Larkhaven Golf Course.
The Cresswinds and Larkhaven Golf Course projects could bring 1,000-plus homes to the area, according to Councilman Matt Newton.
Newton, who represents the Albemarle Road area, challenged city staff on its recommendations.
“This is very much supported by the surrounding community,” Newton said of the project. “It would introduce retail into an area that doesn’t have a whole lot of it.”
The project would also allow for broader housing options for the employees that will staff Novant Health Mint Hill Medical Center, he said.
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles wanted city staff to bring back examples of similar developments coming off I-485 or comparable interstates. She was curious how the project’s impact on traffic would look.
Larkhaven Golf Course
Charlotte City Council is considering a request to rezone the Larkhaven Golf Course to allow 350 houses on the 141.9 acres east of Interstate 485. That public hearing was held in April.