BALLANTYNE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Neighbors and developers in Ballantyne continued to clash Thursday night over a rezoning proposal that would transform 53 acres of land, currently seen as home to vibrant wildlife, into a collection of apartments and townhomes to accommodate a city population which continues to grow.
The first draft of the rezoning proposal was presented early in 2023 by RK Investments.
In its first form, rezoning petition 2022-121 outlined the addition of 1,100 single and multi-family units over 53 acres of land.
At Thursday night’s town hall, developers explained the proposal has been reduced to accommodate 640 multi and single-family units.
It also includes language that would allow for the inclusion of possible retirement units for individuals.
The bulk of the frustration voiced by families has centered around the impact on the environment (including two bald eagle nests) and the traffic flow in an area that is also congested with travelers.
Developers said they and third-party hires had conducted a traffic flow study of eight major intersections that would surround the site on Elm Lane and Rea Road.
A traffic study, which was been obtained by Queen City News, was presented, in part Thursday evening. The study looked at the traffic flow during peak driving hours in the morning and in the afternoon. They then presented proposed plans to widen the roads near the axis site.
Presenters also suggested that the traffic increase from the development and addition of families would account for two percent of traffic.
That news, however, has not eased the worried minds of families.
One woman responded with “bologna” when she heard the proposal.
Russell Ranson, a partner at RK Investments responded that “it’s an existing traffic problem. It’s not my fault.”
Residents responded with, “We are sick and tired of hearing, ‘That’s not our fault.’”
Other concerns included the time of year when the traffic study was conducted, and that it may not accurately represent the common traffic flow experienced during the school years.
Other concerns included whether the mitigations and improvements done around “axis” points would have any effect at all.
One resident pointed out that, according to the rendered graphics, they would be “only widening the axis point.”
Families fear that the infrastructure around the 53 acres is already difficult to navigate and can take ten minutes to travel one block, and cannot handle the additional stress it would feel.
Developers have made changes to past proposals, in an attempt to address some of the concerns.
It’s unknown what changes Thursday’s meeting may bring.
Charlotte City Councilmember Ed Driggs said that there will be a meeting specifically for traffic in the coming weeks. This will include representatives from NCDOT and CDOT.