Waxhaw needs input from neighbors on business development

WAXHAW – Residents of Waxhaw have a chance to voice their opinions on the future of development in town around areas zoned for neighborhood business.

Greg Mahar, director of planning and community development, said this is nothing new to the town, but that it will be a chance for neighbors to be heard.

“We’ve had community meetings like this before, but this type of situation is the first of its kind,” he said. “And if any changes to the ordinance are made because of this meeting, that will be a first, also.”

The meeting will be held at the Museum of the Waxhaws, at 8215 Waxhaw Hwy. on Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. Town Manager Mike McLaurin said the meeting is important for future planning, because the town needs local insight into what businesses should be brought to neighborhood areas.

“Mayor Pro Tem (Erin Kirkpatrick) was interested in getting public input for what should be included in that (area),” McLaurin said.

Mahar said that the zoning classification is for neighborhood commercial properties – businesses that support neighborhood needs. “Think things like dry cleaning,” Mahar said.

Mayor Pro Tem Erin Kirkpatrick said she doesn’t know what Waxhaw residents are looking for yet, but she has seen other towns have success with small retail.

“It’s not really driven by any specific businesses in mind, but we’re trying to be more strategic in recruiting what the community wants,” she said. “From what I understand, residents really want things that are pedestrian oriented that are intended to serve the areas around the neighborhoods, not necessarily big shopping centers. Things like ice cream parlors, small markets, offices, independent shops and boutiques, florists. But I don’t know what the community has in mind.”

Kirkpatrick said fast food was not something she saw for this type of situation in other towns.

“For Waxhaw as a whole, it’s not so much about what we want to keep out as it’s about what’s suited for the area,” she said. “What I’ve seen in other
towns is that drive-thrus are usually excluded.”

The goal of the meeting will be to hear from neighbors and determine what changes might be made to the zoning ordinance.

“It’s not really anything different than what we have now,” Mahar said. “It’s something we’ve had all along and this is just giving the community the chance to weigh in on what they’d like to see near their neighborhoods. We’re just kind of tweaking how our ordinance will work.”

The meeting also will be held in order to alert residents to possible alterations of zoning ordinances.

“It’s to let the neighbors in the community know that there will possibly be some changes and get their ideas about what they would like to see,” Mahar said. “It’s really going to depend on what they’re looking for and what the community wants to see.”

Mahar said that he feels residents of Waxhaw are very open to neighborhood businesses.

“I believe they are,” he said. “We have this kind of business throughout the town already; this is just an opportunity to see how residents really feel about all of it.”

Comments received from this community meeting will shape the future of the areas of Waxhaw zoned for neighborhood business, according to a news release from the town. Mahar said the town is hopeful residents will turn out to speak.

“We’re hopeful that there will be a lot of people that will come out and have their voices heard.”

Kirkpatrick agreed, “It’s really, really important that people come out,” she said. “It’s very important to have their voices heard now in the planning process. We’re here to listen. We want to do the best for the community.”

For more information, go to www.waxhaw.connectgis.com or call 704-843-2195.

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