CONCORD — Residents living in west Concord are asking city leaders to slow down development and construction in their neighborhood.
As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 1,500 people had signed an online petition that requests the city of Concord to implement a building moratorium on residential subdivisions.
The petition — which can be found on the website Change.org and has a goal of 1,500 signatures — asks the city to put a moratorium on developments with “more than 10 lots and all forms of multi-family residential development for all areas west of I-85 that fall within the city limits of Concord (excluding those projects already approved).”
Concord resident Bryan Snyder says the goal of the moratorium would give the city more time to solve the overcrowding issues on the roads and in schools.
The petition asks the city to put a stop to developments for a minimum of one year to address the infrastructure needed to match the pace of growth.
“What we wanted to do was to request the city to implement a residential building moratorium in the period of one year so that we can say, ‘Time out, let’s stop having these conversations every single time. Let’s take a look at the big-picture view — do we have what we need in place before we move forward,’” Snyder said.
City of Concord Planning and Neighborhood Development is working on compiling a full list of projects in the works along that area.
“The reasoning is to pump the brakes on this development and step back and look at what we need to do before we agree to any more,” Snyder said. “We know we aren’t going to stop development. We aren’t trying to, but as the city grows, it’s not reasonable for city leaders to continue saying yes to things when they don’t have the things to support what they’ve already put into motion.”
Growth in the west Concord area is hard to miss.
Cox Mill Elementary School has gone through two realignments in the last year alone, and one very large neighborhood in Skybrook was moved in its entirety from Cox Mill Elementary School to W.R. Odell Elementary School on Monday.
A good portion of the need to realign has had to do with the exponential growth in the area.
Cabarrus County Schools Board of Education Vice Chair Barry Shoemaker said the schools are at the mercy of the city when it comes to growth.
“Every time we turn around, our city is approving another development, and they really don’t look at the schools as an obstacle to putting in developments,” Shoemaker said. “So we respond to how they provide.”
The overcrowding at Cox Mill Elementary School, though, is only the beginning of the problem.
Shoemaker pointed out at Monday’s Board of Education work session that a large development has broken ground and is actively being developed in the area that is zoned to feed into Charles E. Boger Elementary School.
Shoemaker says that development is projected to add 331 children to the population of the school.
The situation looks to be serious enough that Shoemaker even mentioned the idea of adding an additional elementary school to the area in the coming years.
This was nothing definitive. He just mentioned it in passing, but the idea that it’s even a thought emphasizes how notable the growth is in the area.
Board of Education member Holly Grimsley said this isn’t something that is going to slow down anytime soon.
Grimsley, the owner of HolTon Construction Concepts, said she knows exactly how this works.
“I can tell you, I promise you, I know exactly how this goes. They’re not going to delay. They’re going to accelerate,” Grimsley said.
The petition is hoping to put a moratorium on all developments in Concord west of I-85.
This is a spot in town full of development, and according to the map provided by the Board of Education, there are around 25 developments either proposed, approved or currently active, and that is just in the area that feeds into Cox Mill Elementary, W.R. Odell Elementary/Primary and Charles E. Boger Elementary.
As one speaker noted during the public’s chance to address the Board of Education two weeks ago, there are 2,700 homes already approved in the area.
The growth is significant, and schools have already felt the effects and, according to the petition, so have the roads.
Snyder and some 1,500 other people want this addressed, and they are asking the city to help.
“The city should not make decisions in a silo while the consequences of those decisions have a downstream impact to other government entities and the citizens it serves,” the petition reads. “We ask that you immediately begin the process to adopt this moratorium so that you can work with your fellow government partners to properly support the citizens in west Concord.”
Snyder said that last year, a development, called Oaklawn, was stopped. The project would have brought about 438 town homes and apartments at the corner of Poplar Tent and Harris roads.