MATTHEWS — Developers have withdrawn a rezoning petition to add apartments and townhomes to nearly 17 acres off Weddington Road after town leaders told them they had no intention of approving the project.
The initial request called for up to 131 townhomes and apartments on vacant land surrounded by houses. Developers trimmed the number of units to 98 and offered to reduce it even more if given another month to refine the plan.
However, commissioners didn’t see a path to approval.
“I don’t think I’ve gotten more letters against a project since I’ve been an elected official than this one,” said Mayor John Higdon, a seven-year veteran of town politics.
Higdon vouched for citizens who spoke out against the project on account of traffic, noting his commutes from the neighborhood to his office just 2.5 miles away sometimes took as long as an hour.
Had commissioners not given the applicant the courtesy to withdraw the request, a denial could have stalled redevelopment of the site for at least a year. Williams Business Properties LLC owns the site.
“We want Mr. Williams to be able to sell the property,” Commissioner Jeff Miller said. “He has his land rights, as well, but this is just not what we feel is the right project for this location. We don’t want to hold him to not be able to market it under a different use.”
Commissioners Renee Garner and Ken McCool said they’d like to see a similar project in another area of town, perhaps somewhere near transit.Commissioner Larry Whitley said more consideration needs to be taken about what should go in this particular space because it’s evident neighbors don’t want to see apartments or townhomes there.