CHARLOTTE – Hopper Communities hopes to redevelop a three-acre site with five houses on the north side of Runnymede Lane into a community of up to 26 townhomes.
Members of the development team have called the site topographically challenging, considering there’s a change of 70 feet from west to east. But they could face a more daunting hurdle – critical members of the Charlotte City Council.
During the March 19 public hearing, Councilman Larken Egleston expressed concern about how the project connects with the road network, while Councilman Braxton Winston wants to see better walkability.
Since the area is between Park Road Shopping Center and schools, Winston wants sidewalks that allow people to comfortably walk side by side.
Mayor Vi Lyles expressed concern over older sidewalks and traffic circulation around the neighborhood. She said people moving into such areas expect a certain level of convenience.
“I don’t want people swayed by pretty buildings and come back here before our dais and say what were you thinking?” Lyles said.
Tariq Bokhari, who represents the area on the city council, said the development team worked with neighborhood leaders in making a number of concessions to improve the project.
One of those include a $25,000 contribution to the Charlotte Department of Transportation toward transportation projects along Runnymede Lane at the request of neighborhood leaders.
Bokhari called for a larger review of traffic flow and pedestrian safety of Runnymede Lane and Woodlawn Road to establish the best use of those funds.
Two people spoke out against the project during the public hearing.
Jonathan Espinola, an attorney representing neighbor Wade Miller, told the council that the area was surrounded by single-family residential use.
Espinola also expressed Miller’s concerns over the project’s height and proximity to his property.
Bokhari asked the development team to work with the two property owners from the public hearing.
“I do understand that with all the conversations we had that grading makes this an incredibly challenging task for anyone who is going to be doing something there,” Bokhari said. “Let’s just see if there are other concessions that can be made to help those folks.”