Dilworth developer: Alternative project would be bigger [The Charlotte Observer]By Steve Harrison, The Charlotte ObserverMcClatchy-Tribune Information Services
Nov. 26--Lincoln Harris, the developer who is seeking a rezoning to build a drug store and office building in Dilworth, has told Charlotte City Council it will develop the property regardless, and that its alternate plan would contain "none of the softened commercial edges" in its current plan.
In an e-mail to council member Patsy Kinsey, who represents the area, a Lincoln Harris executive said Saturday he believes neighbors near the site at East Morehead Street and Kenilworth Avenue mistakenly believe that a vote against the rezoning will stop all development on the site.
"I have come to the conclusion, based upon a number of discussions, these rear 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."
Kelly's e-mail then detailed what Lincoln Harris may build if the rezoning request is denied. The e-mail suggests the 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."
The developer wants to build a Walgreens and a two-story office building on two acres at East Morehead Street and Kenilworth Avenue. To move forward, the developer would have to demolish several buildings, some of which were built at the turn of the century.
One building that would have been torn down include a Tudor-style apartment building on the corner, an adjacent white house and three houses on Kenilworth. Those properties are all owned by Edward Springs and his company, Edward H. Springs Interiors.
Neighbors have opposed the rezoning, which has sparked numerous yard signs throughout the historic neighborhood.
The rezoning is scheduled for a vote Monday night, but council members could defer it at Lincoln Harris' request. Because the rezoning has been protested by neighbors, it needs a super-majority of council members -- 9 votes -- to pass. The mayor also votes.
Kelly's e-mail said the preferred project with the Walgreens would be "keeping with the scale, massing and theme of the adjoining neighborhood."
He said it's "mindful of the way-of-life and home values of the rear residential property owners."
It would be 30,500 square feet total, including nearly 15,000 square feet for the pharmacy.
The e-mail detailed what Lincoln Harris would build if its first plan falls through. It said that alternative plan is OK under the current zoning.
The alternative plan would total 135,000 square feet of space, including 43,000 square feet of medical office space. It said that project would "harm the economic value of rear homes" and create more traffic.
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