Does the stunning defeat of a re-zoning request signal a change in direction for Charlotte City Council? Could be......
From the Charlotte Observer:
A controversial rezoning request to build a Walgreens drug store and office building in Dilworth was rejected by Charlotte City Council Monday night, delighting neighbors who had waged an aggressive campaign of e-mails and yard signs against the project.
Developer Lincoln Harris’s rezoning lost 9-3, with only Warren Cooksey, Andy Dulin and David Howard supporting it.
The developer wanted to build a Walgreens and a two-story office building on two acres at East Morehead Street and Kenilworth Avenue. To move forward, Lincoln Harris would have to demolish several buildings, some of which were built at the turn of the century.
Lincoln Harris appeared to make a last-minute attempt to sway council members.
In an e-mail sent to council member Patsy Kinsey, who represents the area, a Lincoln Harris executive said the developer has an alternative plan for site that would contain “none of the softened commercial edges” in its Walgreens plan.
“I have come to the conclusion, based upon a number of discussions, these …neighbors were told by a core group of opponents that if the Lincoln Harris petition were to be denied , we will simply ‘go away’ and the property will remain the same,” wrote Alex Kelly, Lincoln Harris vice president. “This email is to confirm that this statement is completely false.”
The e-mail then suggested a backup development plan would have more impact on neighbors, and that it would be in Dilworth’s best interests to approve the original rezoning request.
“This is a serious decision....which could have a detrimental effect on other’s property values,” Kelly wrote.
The e-mail said that the alternative development plan would have “no development concessions offered to the neighborhood. All of the negotiated concessions will go away.”
Cedar's Take: Cooksey and Dulin always side with the developers, large and small. But without fellow Republican Edwin Peacock who often played both sides it was a dead horse way before the vote.
Cedar Posts has been asked why people feel Cooksey and Dulin are in developers pockets and what did Lincoln Harris VP Alex Kelly do wrong?
By illustration, take the CHA project in Ballentyne where Cooksey "washed his hands" by saying there was nothing he could do to oppose the low income project. In the end the shady deal was exposed, a massive fraud complete with developer kick backs, and was scraped.
As far as Alex Kelly, he is a total ass clown, and poster child for how not to deal with neighborhoods.
By contrast look at they way Autobell courted the folks in Southpark. That car wash may be the most over landscaped operation in the country but it began turning a profit on day one.
The demand was so great they didn't even have a grand opening, they just opened the doors.
Why? Because Chuck Howard went out of his way to work with his neighbors.
Alex Kelly's Vaseline or baseball bat method just didn't work.
So why did council members vote down the request?
Perhaps they have noted that much of the re-zoning completed in the past to accommodate developers like Lincoln Harris has left East Charlotte in a shambles. Charlotte's urban blight in East Charlotte and along the Independence and University corridors can be traced back to re-zoning votes approved at the request of developers like Lincoln Harris and not through well planned urban development.