Charlotte City Council members learned more details Tuesday night, Jan. 22, regarding planned development on Wade Ardrey Road in the Ballantyne area. But city leaders say they need to learn more before they can support the project.
Developer Pulte Homes wants to build 27 single-family homes on nearly 7 acres of land in the curve of Wade Ardrey between Turkey Hill Road and Ardrey Crest Drive. The project would bring 3.88 “dwelling units,” or rooms, per acre, which is slightly higher than the 3 per acre intended for the site, though city staff already has given its blessing for the increase. City council members likely will vote in February whether to approve rezoning the land for the project.
The land in question is mostly vacant as of now, and is zoned for single-family homes. The developer had originally asked for permission to build 30 homes on the site, but has since cut that number down to 27, which is seven homes more than what’s currently allowed.
At Tuesday’s city council meeting, one nearby resident voiced concerns that the new development would lower area property values if the 27 new homes aren’t built to the same standards as homes in the Ardrey and Ardrey Commons neighborhoods.
“By changing zoning and building different style of homes, will that reduce our property value in Ardrey and Ardrey Commons?” the resident asked, adding that homes already built in the area are made to look “semi-rural” and “charming” and she worries the new project won’t match the other Wade Ardrey Road neighborhoods.
The developer said they don’t have any firm ideas on how much the new homes would cost if built. The planned design of homes also isn’t finalized, something Councilman Andy Dulin said needed to be answered before he could vote in approval of the project.
“We got to get compatible with the neighbors,” Dulin said, adding that he would vote “no” right now without more details from the developer on designs.
City staff has recommended council approve the project after getting little negative response from Charlotte departments. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials say the rezoning would add roughly 27 new students to area schools – Elon Park Elementary, Community House Middle and Ardrey Kell High – as opposed to the 22 students generated by the current zoning. Although it’s only an additional five students, system officials say those three campuses already are overcrowded.
With 27 additional students, since the current site isn’t built out, Elon Park would be at 133 percent utilization, Community House would be at 128 percent utilization and Ardrey Kell would be at 124 percent utilization unless mobile units are used, according to a memo from the school system.
In the memo, school system officials wrote a note similar to what they’ve said regarding other recent Ballantyne-area housing projects: “Adequacy of existing school capacity in this area is a significant problem. We are particularly concerned about rezoning cases where school utilization exceeds 100 percent since the proposed development will exacerbate this situation. Approval of this petition will increase overcrowding and/or reliance upon mobile classrooms at the schools listed.”