Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why Ballantyne is Not About NIMBY

If not this morning then soon, the Charlotte Observer and other pundits will bring class and race into the defeated Ballantyne Crossing rezoning petition. Some will say the rich won out over the poor and that the snobs of Ballantyne look down on struggling families and the less fortunate.

But this is not about affordable housing or race it is about due process and bad ideas.

We have a city government that spends troubling amounts of money on projects that the general population does not approve of, light rail and the Time Warner Cable Box are just two examples.

Ballantyne Crossing should be the start of a white paper effort to examine what is wrong with the zoning process in Charlotte. To a majority of Ballantyne citizens, approval of the rezoning petition was a forgone conclusion. This morning you can still hear the distant cheer and collective sigh of relief emanating from South Charlotte.

Warren Cooksey who repeatedly stated that his hands were tied and that he would be unable to vote against the request citing state law might, also be breathing a little easier.

But residents of Ballantyne shouldn't be surprised that the whole project has gone down in flames. It was an ill conceived and poorly thought out idea that included some unknown shady business arrangement with the Charlotte Housing Authority and a couple of really seedy developers that should raise some serious questions about corruption inside CHA and within the zoning process.

Revelations that the Charlotte Housing Authority fired staff members Ben Collins and Kathleen Foster with connections to Stuart Proffitt's Republic Development Company just before the CHA dropped their support for the project needs further examination.

Embarrassingly we now must add CHA to the long list that includes ABC, DSS, CMUD, CMPD and BOCC that within Charlotte-Mecklenburg government have questionable practices creating an alphabet soup of corruption here in Charlotte.

We should also take a hard look at Warren Cooksey and Patrick Cannon, why were they both so committed to the project? How was it that someone like Stuart Proffitt had both of them in his back pocket?

Developers have long ruled the city and the zoning board, which in the end always left our transportation and other basic services under strain. With our city and county revenue declining we can't afford to make bad choices.

While many will judge Ballantyne residents for a "not in my back yard" mentality at least they are passionate about where they live, we only wish council members Cannon and Cooksey felt the same way.


JAT said...

The truly stunning part -- even for the Uptown paper of record -- is that it editorialized in favor of a zoning change driven wholly by developers seeking a public subsidy!

Haven't Mary and Taylor and crew told us over and over that developers should not lord over and dictate Charlotte's land-use plans? Ah, but this one was different.

Yes, the developers wanted a subsidized residential escape hatch for a commercial parcel that has no hope of development in this market but more importantly this project afforded the Dilworth libs a chance to stick it to what they view as the shallow, idle rich of Ballantyne good and hard.

Now, what does Ballantyne learn from this, if anything?

I would suggest -- You can run, but you cannot hide. The Uptown crowd wants your money and wealth and with other sources of loot dried up, they will be back.

Anonymous said...

Try to spin it all you want, opposition was based on nothing more than fear, hate, and an egotistical sense of entitlement. Spin it, bigots, spin it!

ThaQueenCity said...

Anon 8:03 AM

I believe the right decision was made by CHA but for the wrong reason!

I also think opposition was based on the fact that all but 1 or 2 of CHA's "plans" have come back to bite them! They uproot families, move them into an area that is NOT within their means, does not provide addequate transportation, affordable childcare, etc. THESE are very solid reasons to NOT uproot people and cause THEM more damage and harm, emotionally and monetarily.

CO tried to show us "ONE" that worked, what they failed to show was all the one's that have NOT worked and have caused many of these poverished families to be less self sufficient and more government dependent because the CHA plans were NOT well thought out.

CHA needs to start thinking from the point of view of those they are trying to help, not from their seat "high above", because they have NO CLUE exactly what these folks so deperately need! If you have never been there you can't tell them what "they" need!

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me why, if a BOCC member cannot vote against a proposel, citing violation of state law. Then what is the purpose of having a vote in the 1st place. It would seem that the issue is cut and dry.

Anonymous said...

I agree racisim is wrong, but my house is worth more than you can afford. Now just because you are black I'll be dammed if I'm going to lower my price just so you won't call me a bigot.

If you want to live in Ballantyne fine by me, but if you can't afford it don't expect me to pay for you via my tax dollars when there are plenty of homes out there you can afford.

And JAT is right this was nothing more than an escape hatch for a couple of crooked developers who don't have the smarts to do anything more than flip burgers at McD's. Stuart Proffitt and his buds ought to be in handcuffs and no their way to Butler by now.

Enough is Enough!

Anonymous said...

Great article again...and very fair. I've seen comments today that those Ballantyne Folks "paid 'em off" to stop this and this was about race. Well, because I was one of the messengers to the CHA last Friday (late afternoon), I can actually speak to why this was dropped...and out of 3 messengers, no one was opposed to the idea of public housing, just opposed to a very expensive project for rezoning that poor folks wouldn't even get help from for atleast 2 years. Something indeed smelled fishy about how fast the media had flown in and originally how these guys were going to grandstand and shake hands with the mayor at a Ballantyne Breakfast and show just how great they were. It smelled of something dirty, and not by the mayor, but from the folks who were sending in tv cameras and media by the truckloads so quickly! In the end, CHA knew before our meeting about the SPQR affiliation thanks to their great new Chairman who kicks booty and takes names. But, they weren't aware until we presented it, that the zoning petition and the original letter of intent (in which money exchanged hands) were based on a fraudulent company created by Mr. Proffitt...that company being 11109 Providence West, it still does not exist in the secretary of state of NC. In addition, Mr. Proffitt (keep in mind he went ahead and TOOK city/government money at this time) signed the letter of intent for the partnership and tax credits and development with a fraudulent company as well. The CHA board and staff then had to meet on Monday to make decisions on what to do...yes, it was expensive as they spun it...because they didn't need to be paying Mr. Proffitt's bandits when they had the people to do all of this in was a waste of money. But the real issue that media is afraid to report, today at least, (and this was directly presented to all in attendance at Monday night's meeting), is that he committed FRAUD with taxpayer money. The end. And no, we didn't have anyone paid to research on this project, we had housewives, retired folks, and folks with dayjobs who found passion enough to volunteer late into the wee hours of the night to seek out corruption in our neighborhood and make a call to demand city officials meet with us as taxpayers. THE END. Anyone can do it if you care enough to take a stand.