Marvin leaders discuss proposed Rea Road center

MARVIN – With the town’s most recent land-use survey in hand, Marvin council members are keeping the wishes of residents in mind as they start to meet with potential commercial developers for new projects.

Marvin leaders spoke with a potential developer for a business center on Rea Road near the county line at their July 25 council meeting. No application has been submitted for the project, but an interested developer wanted to hear thoughts from council members before moving ahead with any formal action for the business center.

“At the last work session meeting the council discussed an office park along Rea Road as you are entering Union County,” senior planner Lisa Thompson said.  “The property isn’t under contract yet. The potential buyer wanted to get the council’s feedback if something like that would fly if submitted.”

Councilman Lanny Openshaw said the council has raised a few concerns and plans to keep the development to a small scale. Once those issues are address, Openshaw said he and others on council see the potential project as a benefit to the community.

The developer wants parking spaces built closer to Rea Road than what is allowed by Marvin regulations. Town regulations dictate parking lots must be at least 50 feet from the road.

The potential developer also has discussed maxing out the development as much as possible in terms of lots per acre, while many council members would like to keep the development small scale.

Openshaw said there may be room to compromise on the two sticking points.

“This seems to be the best trade off between parking and not overbuilding,” Openshaw said. “Really it’s, to me, a lot of it is going to be architecture and landscaping.  Those are going to be the two big things.”

In the most recent land-use survey, taken earlier this year, 50 to 53 percent of residents who responded to the survey said they would like to see a community-sized shopping center along Rea Road when coming into Marvin from Mecklenburg County.  About 40 to 42 percent of respondents said they would like to see a neighborhood-sized shopping center in that area.

Regardless of the compromises made between council and a future developer, Openshaw would like to see all future developers contribute to the aesthetics to the Rea Road median – much like developers are required to do for many projects in Charlotte.

“We would like to see the median on Rea Road landscaped through this project,” he said.  “Everyone (who) comes into that area, I would like to see them contribute.”

Marvin leaders plan to reference the land-use survey and limit the size of development in town as discussions move forward.  Residents would like to see coffee shops, restaurants and grocery stores added in any new development, according to the survey, while more than half of the residents said they were strongly opposed to “big-box stores/big-box chains.”

“I think the idea is to keep (the proposed development) fairly small scale, and I think (the developer’s) plan is about maxing out the site as much as they can,” Openshaw said. “…We don’t want big boxes, that’s for sure.  Supermarket is about as big as you are going to get.”

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