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Rezoning for Project atFreedom Drive and West Morehead Street

Rezoning for Project atFreedom Drive and West Morehead Street

As part of an ongoing revitalization of an area immediately west of uptown, another real estate project could soon come to fruition.

Updates were given on the rezoning of a 280-unit residential development near the active intersection of Freedom Drive and West Morehead Street at the Charlotte City Council meeting Monday night. The area, called FreeMoreWest by some, is seeing an influx of residential and commercial development.

Griffith Equities LLC, an affiliate of E.C. Griffith Company, filed a rezoning petition in April for a roughly 15 acre-development project behind Pinky's Westside Grill. It proposes to switch the property's light industrial zoning status to optional mixed-used development.

The project proposes to develop up to 280 units and potentially 9,000 square feet of office space, according to a community meeting held last month. A revised site plan shows a total of seven buildings at varying heights. The plan proposes to develop an "urban green edge" along the frontside of West Morehead Street if optional buildings are not constructed.

Preston Griffith, executive vice president of Griffith Real Estate Services, told the CBJ the proposed office space isn't likely to happen and there may be up to eight buildings on the site. The rezoning petition calls for a maximum of seven buildings.

John Carmichael, land-use lawyer at Robinson, Bradshaw and Hinson representing Griffith Equities, told City Council there would be no displacement of existing housing stock in the requested rezoning area. The land has been owned by E.C. Griffith Company since 1920.

Mecklenburg County currently owns 2.26 acres of the rezoning site that would be acquired by Griffith Equities if the rezoning petition is approved.

"There are several transactions with the county that would take place in the event that the rezoning request is approved," said Carmichael during Monday's City Council meeting. "Among those is the conveyance of a greenway easement, storm easement over this 3.76-acre portion of the site located between (one of the proposed buildings) and Freedom Drive. There would also be a storm water easement that would be conveyed for the restoration and enhancement of Stewart Creek."

Carmichael said the developer worked with Mecklenburg County approximately three months prior to filing the rezoning petition to finalize the greenway and stormwater easement transactions. A greenway extension is planned for the property adjacent to the development.

City staff recommends approval of the rezoning petition once outstanding issues such as transportation, site and building design and infrastructure are resolved. City staff said the proposed greenway would support the city's walkability goals.

Council member LaWana Mayfield, who represents west Charlotte, asked Carmichael to address specific issues that need to be discussed before the vote. Those issues include providing elevations, a 22-foot setback on Morehead Street and signage to enhance directional movement. Mayfield also noted the inability to access the site on Freedom Drive.

City Council will meet again in September to potentially vote on the project.



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