by Jackson Sveen

CORNELIUS – Residents’ complaints about a potential senior living development could bring changes to the site, planned adjacent to the Magnolia Estates subdivision.

Phil Fankhauser, principal partner for Epcon Communities Carolinas, said the community feedback from a Nov. 29 meeting will help him develop the project with residents’ input.

Epcon has asked the town for permission to develop the 8.4 acres under a plan that doesn’t fit the town’s current zoning.

The rezoning would allow the
vacant lot to be used to build 28 single-family detached homes.

The Courtyards at Cornelius targets homebuyers age 55 and older, a market which Fankhauser said will be growing quickly over the next 20 years.

Fankhauser said the project benefits the town by adding to the tax base without using as many town resources, such as the school system.

The Courtyards will average 1.6 residents per home who make 4.9 trips a day, while the national average is 2.8 residents and 10.1 trips.

“Traffic impact is about as small as anything that could go here,” Fankhauser said. “Our communities are probably quieter than a library.”

But traffic wasn’t the main concern for most of the residents who came to the community meeting.

Several residents from the adjacent Magnolia Estates subdivision said they objected to the proposal because of the high density and the site’s proximity to their properties.

Norris Woody, a resident of Brookgreen Garden Place, said “these projects are great for Cornelius, but not this spot….  It should remain neighborhood residential.”

Not every resident at the meeting was opposed to the Courtyards.

“This is such an asset to our community,” said Jo Zornoch, a Cornelius Realtor. “This is the best product and project and concept that we could conceivably have.”

Epcon will arrange workshops in the near future for neighbors of the proposed Courtyards at Cornelius to meet with landscape architect Gary Fankhauser, not related to Phil Fankhauser, to gather additional feedback on the development.