Independent TribuneNews, Top Citizens offer input on Rocky River Road site

Citizens offer input on Rocky River Road site

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About 25 people showed up at Town Hall Monday for a community charette designed to get citizen input on a 100+-acre project being developed by Merrifield Partners near the intersection of Interstate 485 and Rocky River Road.

By Jonathan E. Coleman
[email protected]
About 25 people showed up at Town Hall Monday for a community charette designed to get citizen input on a 100+-acre project being developed by Merrifield Partners near the intersection of Interstate 485 and Rocky River Road.

“Essentially what we’re trying to do here is collaborate with you to see what we can do here and see if there are any challenges in getting that done,” Land Design’s Richard Petersheim told those gathered. Land Design is the company tasked with creating a site plan for the project.

Petersheim said the planning process would include two additional charettes during which planners and the community will refine what they would like to see on the property in hopes of having a finalized site plan ready to take before the Harrisburg Town Council in early 2009.

As part of the initial planning meeting, Kathleen Rose of Rose & Associates outlined some groundwork in terms of how the market should shape what goes on the site.

“Market is not based on data and numbers. It’s based on people – where they live, where they work and where they shop,” she said. “The real issue is how people relate to the land use and how will you use it as is goes forward?”

In 2002, the parcel went through a Planned Use Development (PUD) process that outlined its uses in three parts: commercial space, residential units and open space. As part of the project, Merrifield is developing an adjacent parcel of land just across the Mecklenburg County line with approximately 320 townhomes and 320 upscale apartments as well as a limited amount of office space, according to Jim Merrifield, principle of Merrifield Partners. CMC NorthEast has also proposed building a healthplex on the site.

What the remainder of the site holds, planners hope, will be the result of a collaboration between the community and the developer.

“We are here tonight to try to work together, to collaborate and get your feedback on building a place,” Rose said. “The important items for us to think about in terms of sustainability — jobs is the primary element, things to do, connectivity, housing choices, public space and of course safety.”

After being brought up to speed on the property, citizens were asked to write five aspects of the project they would like considered on individual Post-it notes. 
Those Post-its were then compiled based on five categories: housing options, shopping and entertainment, parks and recreation, economic development and transportation issues.

Planners will take those suggestions and begin to craft a draft vision for the site that will be presented and discussed at the next charette, scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

Citizen ideas
Asked to prioritize some of the things they would like to have considered in the following areas, citizens requested the following, among other suggestions:

Economic development:
medical space, office space, professional services.

Parks and recreation: walking and biking trails, passive park, greenway along Fuda Creek, tennis courts.

Housing choices: upscale
patio homes, a retirement center, single family, low density, middle income with lots,
Birkdale-like.

Shopping and entertainment: coffee shop, book store, movie theater, family entertainment, upscale dining, ladies’ boutique, Irish bar.

Transportation issues: wide roads, lights, turn lanes,
sidewalks/pedestrian-friendly, bus service, four lanes.

• Contact reporter Jonathan E. Coleman: 704-789-9105.


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