MATTHEWS, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Dozens of angry Matthews and Mint Hill gathered outside Matthews Town Hall before Monday’s board meeting to protest the rezoning of a new development that would bring high-density residential units and businesses to the area.
Santé Matthews, developed by Pappas Properties, would be built off Idlewild Rd. and Stallings Rd. and include 570 residential units, a wellness center, 15,000 sq. ft. of office space, and nearly 100,000 sq. ft. of retail space, including a new grocery store.
The motion passed 5-2 with commissioners Gina Hoover and Mark Tofano voting against the measure.
“If you would collectively add all the homes that are on each side of Idlewild, the neighborhoods, it doesn’t equal the amount of homes that they’re going to put in 85 acres,” said Stilwell Place HOA President Pam Phillips.
After hearing resident concerns, Pappas Properties made some changes to the development.
They reduced the number of residential units from 662 to 570, moved multi-family units further from existing neighborhoods, included the addition of a roundabout on Idlewild Road at Stallings Road, made plans to widen Idlewild Road, and changed the Stallings Road realignment further from existing neighborhoods. However, they also readded a grocery store, which was previously removed, and included at least two drive-through businesses.
Neighbors said these changes would only be enough once the developers changed the plan only to include single-family homes, which is what the current zoning allows.
“It’s very interesting that people can vote on a project that’s not going in their backyard, and in our case, our front yard. It’s not affecting them,” said Phillips. “It’s not affecting their children. It’s affecting us.”
Those who live nearby say they have yet to have the chance to speak publicly about the new proposed changes.
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They also oppose that more than 70 percent of the residential units will be for rent rather than homeownership.
“With a high density right across the street, it’s going to affect a lot of us getting in and out of our neighborhood, the traffic on Idlewild Road, the traffic coming off of 485, and of course, the safety factor that goes along with increased traffic,” neighbor Dan Brantmeyer said.
NOTE: This story was updated with the board’s vote Tuesday morning.