Odell residents vow to fight business park

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Posted: Sunday, January 6, 2013 12:12 pm

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – One of the leaders of the opposition to a rezoning proposal in the Odell Community believes Kannapolis will approve the same zoning that has been challenged in court for the past five years -- and that it might end up back in court.

“It seems foolish that the city would bring back to exactly the same thing, but it appears that’s what they’re going to do,” said Fred Wally, who lives on Mooresville Road near the 75.9 acres where Wayne Brothers Inc. wants to develop a business park.

The Kannapolis Planning and Zoning Commission is set to hear the rezoning request at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Kannapolis Train Station. The proposed zoning is “campus development.”

“Campus development is a pretty name for an ugly thing,” Wally said. “It allows industrial, big-box retail and everything that you wouldn’t want in a neighborhood like ours.”

Here is how the Kannapolis Unified Development Ordinance describes the zoning district: “The district may include light manufacturing, office, warehousing, distribution, institutional and limited retail and service uses in an attractive campus or corporate park setting with architectural design standards, landscaping, screening and buffering.”

The land was satellite annexed by Kannapolis after the N.C. General Assembly passed special legislation that allows the city to annex anything west of the Coddle Creek Reservoir (Lake Don T. Howell) and north of N.C. 73.

Most of the opponents to the project, like Wally, do not live in the City of Kannapolis.

“We can’t vote. We can’t run for their offices. All we can do is ask them to listen to us. We don’t feel like they are listening,” Wally said.

Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg said there have been some changes to the plan, including the Wayne Brothers building being moved to the back of the property on the Sudbury Road side of the property.

Wally said neighbors supported Cabarrus County’s future use plans that called for the property to be used for offices and institutional uses. They envisioned doctors, dentists, pharmacies and other things a growing community would need.

“We understood that there would be no strip malls or industrials parks. Now that’s what (Kannapolis) wants,” Wally said.

Discussion of what might be on the property began in 2005. Wayne Brothers became involved in 2006 and the City of Kannapolis in 2007 after Cabarrus County Commissioners denied rezoning by a 3-2 vote.

After Kannapolis approved the campus development, Wally and his neighbors took the city to court, finally winning a decision at the N.C. Supreme Court in March that made the zoning invalid. The property has been without zoning since then.

Legg said the court ruled on a technicality because a statement regarding how the zoning fit the future use plans was missing.

If Kannapolis approves the campus development zoning, Wally said he and his neighbors will have a decision to make. “Do we roll over and let Kannapolis do what it wants or do we go back to court and continue to fight?”

Already thousands of dollars have been spent by the group, which has held barbecues and fundraisers. Wally said donations have come from all over, including a former resident who lives in Kansas but has followed the fight in the newspaper.

“It’s a hardship for us to go to court. It gets very, very expensive very fast. We don’t have the deep pockets of the taxpayers like Kannapolis does,” Wally said.

Contact Mark Plemmons at 704-789-9140.

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