WAXHAW – The Waxhaw Board of Commissioners and town staff have had a full plate this year with planning for future growth and development, securing a new police station and town hall, a censure process and more.
Beginning in late 2012 and through 2013, the town has been working to develop small area plans for different sections of town to help plan for expected growth and any developments residents and community members want to see in town. The plans include the downtown area, the area around Howie Mine Road, the Hillcrest neighborhood, the area around Waxhaw Marvin Road and along N.C. 16 near downtown Waxhaw.
“(Completing the small area plans) is a significant move for us in moving along that continuum of the body of work that needs to be done in order to allow us to manage the growth that we are experiencing and will be experiencing in Waxhaw,” Mayor Daune Gardner said.
The board also adopted the new form based codes for the downtown area to help promote economic growth and more commercial development in the area, and hopes to see more businesses moving into the downtown area with the new simplified system and ordinances. The changes will allow for more pedestrian-friendly businesses and the mixed-use municipal facility that is currently being designed.
“It will all begin to fit together, so we made great headway on that,” Town Manager Mike McLaurin said about the new municipal facility.
The building will serve as the town hall, but also will have retail or commercial space for businesses and restaurants. Commissioners wanted to find a way to have the town hall pay for itself and bring revenue in so the new facility isn’t as much of a burden on taxpayers.
Another capital project that took off this year was renovations for the new Waxhaw Police Department. The town plans to have a grand opening ceremony this spring after officers have time to settle into the new facility, which is better equipped to meet the needs of the department, McLaurin said.
“It will serve the police department many years going into the future,” he added.
But every item that came before the board this year wasn’t good news.
Waxhaw police arrested Gardner after she was seen speeding and crossing the centerline on N.C. 16 in Waxhaw this summer. Police arrested her on driving while impaired charges after tests showed her blood alcohol level was .18. The legal limit is .08.
The board began the censure process, which works as a formal reprimand to an elected official, but decided to adopt a Resolution of Disapproval and Non-Support of Mayor Daune Gardner instead on Nov. 25 due to extensive costs for the censure process. Finalizing the censure process would have cost about $30,000 more than the $14,000 already spent investigating for the censure, according to estimates from the town attorney Spencer Chaplin.
In addition to the resolution, the board requested the mayor reimburse the town about $450 after seeing discrepancies in Gardner’s expense reports for the town credit card. Around $115 in purchases were lacking receipts, $304 were lacking itemized receipts and $31 has been documented as being spent on alcohol.
Regardless of the bumps in the road this past year, Gardner is excited to move forward and begin working with the new board in the coming years.
“I’m looking forward to welcoming the new commissioners, and we are poised to see a lot of work accomplished this year,” she said.