by Aaron Burns

HUNTERSVILLE – M/I Homes’ proposed 82-home subdivision off Gilead Road fell two votes short of approval in the town board’s Jan. 22 meeting as residents raised concerns about the subdivision’s design as well as its effect on traffic.

M/I Homes Vice President Bob Wiggins had initially planned to build 110 houses on 42 acres bordering Charterhouse Lane to the south, Wynfield Creek Parkway to the west and Gilead Road to the north.

Wiggins reduced the number of lots in November in response to residents’ concerns.

The vote needed a 5-1 super majority, but failed by a 3-3 decision. Commissioners Melinda Bales, Ron Julian and Jeff Neely voted against the proposal.

The failed vote drew applause from residents who attended the meeting.

“(The plan) is not consistent with the Huntersville 2030 plan,” said resident Jennifer Jeter, wife of former Commissioner Charles Jeter. “It (negatively) impacts traffic, schools and real estate in the area. I don’t feel that rezoning is the right decision.”

Neither did Julian. He echoed her sentiment about the plan’s inconsistency with the town’s 2030 plan, which calls for gradual, strategic growth through development that doesn’t adversely affect the community.

“Avery Park is not a logical extension of the town center,” resident Larry Dorman said. “It’s not a pedestrian-friendly area. It’s just out of place.”

The town planning staff and planning board approved the proposal last year, which left Collin Brown, a spokesman for K&L Gates  – the firm representing M/I Homes – puzzled as to how the board could reject the subdivision. He contends that the proposed plan exceeded design standards set by the town.

“In my career, that’s unprecedented,” he said. “The petitioner and property owners have done everything they can do. Significant sacrifices have been made.”

Margaret Banks Basinger owns the property, which she said cost her $53,000 in taxes last year.

The town board also:

• Discussed traffic and road improvements to Gilead Road at Wynfield Creek Parkway.

• Agreed to enter into an agreement with the City of Charlotte for up to $87,454 in Down Payment Assistance for Norman Park.

• Adopted a resolution authorizing a grant funding agreement for the Mooresville Charlotte Trail.