By Dave Vieser,
Despite opposition from some Smithville residents, the proposed 5,700 square foot QT Convenience Store at Catawba Ave and Holiday Lane in Cornelius got the green light Monday evening when the Town Board unanimously approved a rezoning.
Plans call for the Acropolis Greek Restaurant, a mainstay in Cornelius, to be torn down, as well as two private homes on Burton Lane. Half of the 3.16 acre site will be developed for the QT building and infrastructure while the other half of the property will remain pervious. Current plans call for 10 gas pumps, with the convenience store on a 45 degree angle towards the Catawba/Highway 21 intersection. The Acropolis closed Sunday for good.
Prior to the vote, several Smithville residents expressed concern over the traffic QT will generate, as well as the nature of the development. “Some of us have been fighting to preserve and restore Smithville,” said resident Ronald Potts. “Making it more commercial doesn’t seem to go along with that objective.”
Susan Irvin, an attorney who represented QT, noted in response that the location was already commercially developed with a restaurant and convenience store/gas station.
Eventually the state DOT plans to build a traffic circle at that location and town officials had delayed the public hearing in order to have DOT’s long awaited input on QT’s Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) in hand.
Town tries to manage growth
In other action, the board voted to add the “Torrence Chapel Traffic Mitigation District Overlay” to the town’s land development code. It will apply specifically to the Highway Commercial zoning district west of I-77 within the Town of Cornelius planning jurisdiction and effect approximately 75 parcels totaling 170 acres.
The move helps put the town in the driver’s seat on a prime piece of property on West Catawba opposite Starbucks.
The purpose of the overlay is to make trip generation and congestion management a contributing factor to be considering during conditional rezoning requests. Attorney Irvin took exception to the action, stating that “this measure is much more than just a process change..it strips every property owner that is in this area of all permitted uses.” In conjunction with the overlay approval, the town lifted the moratorium it had adopted on April 3.
The board also ratified an agreement with the DOT which outlines the eventual elimination of left turns from Torrence Chapel Drive and Liverpool Parkway onto West Catawba Avenue. Under the agreement, left turns will be phased out over a period of many years as traffic volume increases.
In other action, the town board recognized retiring town employees Tracy Wainwright and Ty Hager. Wainwright recalled 30 years at the town. Hager, who is a full-time Charlotte firefighter, worked for over 20 years as a part time police officer with the Cornelius force.
The board also reappointed John Hettwer, Norris Woody, Keith Eicher and David Dunn to the Land Development Code Advisory Board for two-year terms.
This article was originally published in Cornelius Today.