HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — After a monthslong debate, the Huntersville town board voted 4-2 to deny a rezoning request to build a seven-story office building in Birkdale Village. 

Commissioners Lance Munger and Stacy Phillips were the dissenting votes Monday night. 

Like previous meetings surrounding the proposed changes to the mixed-use development, it was a packed house with attendees overflowing out of the boardroom and into the lobby. Roughly 16 people spoke against the proposal and three spoke in favor of it. Three representatives of the property owner, North American Properties, also spoke. 

The commissioners who voted against the project cited concerns with the building’s height. The current zoning ordinance for Birkdale Village allows buildings to be up to 48 feet tall. This office building would have been 110 feet.  

“Whether we think that an office building is appropriate, it’s the height and the scale of it that just completely throws it out of proportion with everything within the village,” said Birkdale Greens resident Peter Romaniello.  

Like Romaniello, most opponents of the office building said they weren’t against development in Birkdale Village, but they wanted development to blend well with its surroundings.

The renderings of the proposed office building. (Courtesy: North American Properties)

Since NAP acquired the property in late 2020, Birkdale has already seen over the last few years, including building a performance stage and adding a wave of new tenants. But the overall aesthetic neighbors have been accustomed to have largely remained untouched.

“One of the things that attracted me and my husband when we moved there is its ambience as a small, European [style] town,” said Birkdale Greens resident Suzanne Villar. “That is going to be lost if we put in a 110-foot-tall office building.” 

In February, town commissioners voted to send the proposal back to the town planning board after NAP removed a 12-story hotel and 350-unit apartment building that was included in their original development plans. Those would’ve required a special-use permit. 

However, representatives of NAP told commissioners on Monday that if they were to reduce the height of the office building, they’d also have to remove their plans for an associated four-story parking deck. Parking has been a major headache for visitors of Birkdale Village, and a new deck was an attractive benefit to NAP’s proposal.  

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“It’s our business to renovate and go into older projects and make them a little better,” Michael Lant, NAP’s senior vice president of development, told commissioners Monday.  

At this time, it’s unclear whether NAP will come forward with another proposal.  

“This [was] a really hard thing for the town to decide because there’s tax revenue that goes along with that, and they have to balance that versus the jewel of Huntersville,” said Romaniello.