By Mark Tofano
All too often in business, government and personal lives, we turn our backs on things that made us successful, admired and respected. We become seduced by change, the driving force that insists we must adapt to new concepts, fresh appearances and novel approaches in order to succeed.
The township of Matthews is being seduced again.
Only six houses remain along Trade Street between the entrance to Four Mile Creek Greenway and the intersection of Trade Street and N.C. 51. I live in one, which was sold to me on the condition I maintain it in its original form to help preserve this little pocket of houses in this lovely village. Though the original owner has passed away, I honor her wish.
A cornerstone property sits at the entrance to this group of homes on a plot of a little more than two acres. A Charlotte developer wants the Matthews Board of Commissioners to give him a zoning variance, so he can fill that space with 13 houses, five detached garages, a six-space parking lot, a public road and a stormwater basin.
The five homes with fronts on Trade Street would sit on lots as narrow as 40 feet, in an area where house lots have typically been 100 feet wide. In the process of erecting this cramped development, the developer would destroy the entrance to the greenway.
You might think residents who oppose this proposal simply have a “not in my backyard” attitude. Yet what’s at stake isn’t the traffic pattern in one neighborhood, but the nature of Matthews itself. People who enjoy life in a densely populated area have all of Charlotte from which to choose. People who’ve settled in Matthews have come specifically to live in what has always been a true village.
The council will discuss the proposed rezoning for the first time on Monday, Aug. 13, at Matthews Town Hall, 232 Matthews Station St., above the library. That meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Residents who feel strongly about preserving the greenway – and in a larger sense, the idea of Matthews itself – should come and share their views and, please, express your support in an email to SaveTheVillageAndGreenway@gmail.com.
Sometimes, change merely replaces the irreplaceable.