Age-restricted community to be built in Stallings after approval of annexation
by Saja Hindi
The Stallings Town Council passed two conditional rezoning requests at its meeting Monday, Jan. 9, including the rezoning of the Epcon Communities Carolinias, LLC development.
The development, the Courtyards at Weddington Road, is a 34 lot single family, detached, age-restricted development, where at least 80 percent of the homes will have an occupant who is 65 years of age or older. Completion of the development is planned over a 24 to 36 month period, with the project located on Matthews-Weddington Road. An annexation petition for 3.39 acres of the property, which was in unincorporated Union County, also was approved, thereby making the entire development within town limits.
After a lengthy presentation by owner Phil Fankhauser and discussion between the town council members, the development was approved with conditions. Mayor Lynda Paxton recused herself from voting and most discussion because her family’s property would be affected by the rezoning.
“My involvement has exclusively been as a realtor representing my family owners,” Paxton wrote in a letter to residents Eulene, Jimmy and Bobby Simpson who were opposed to the development and the way it was handled.
According to Paxton, most of the property she was representing belongs to her niece, with she and her sisters inheriting the property next to it in Charlotte, two acres being across the county line. The developer has an existing community on the Mecklenburg side and this would be an extension with “a different flair to it,” Paxton said in an interview.
Paxton did not attend the planning board meeting or the community meeting because of her involvement, with Stallings Mayor Pro Tem Reed Esarove presiding over that part of the meeting.
“I think it’s comparable to what’s there on the Mecklenburg side,” Paxton said. “There’s a huge need for housing for seniors in Union County because there’s practically none.”
That’s what Fankhauser tried to sell at the council meeting Monday night.
“What we do is build homes with no steps and no mowers,” Fankhauser said.
According to Fankhauser, in addition to fee simple lots, the homes are aimed at residents looking to scale down the size of their homes with no maintenance and filled with common area amenities.
He said this is a very needed community with the baby boomer population that does not have very many options.
Council members questioned the connectivity of the street, but Fankhauser said after talking with residents in the area, they didn’t want a cut through due to large numbers of people leaving the park on weekends. Town Manager Brian Matthews agreed that the planning board aims to have connectivity of streets when possible, but it is not required or always possible.
Bobby Simpson, a vocal opponent of the development, spoke during the public hearing.
“I’m the one that’s going to be living beside this,” Simpson said. “Y’all got my letters that he sent me, that were sent to our family with these threats that he’s going to run over our land with a sewer line. That’s what I don’t like about it. There’s no one going to threaten me,” Simpson said.
Fankhauser stood up to address Simpson and apologize for what he said, stating it was not a threat but must have been written poorly. Council members broke in, telling Fankhauser to direct his comments only to them.
One of the three proposals for a sewer line the community had proposed was an easement along the northwest property line, which is approximately 1200 lineal feet, according to a letter from Fankhauser to the Simpsons.
Councilman Harry Stokes said that was an issue that needed to be addressed.
“If I did consider saying OK to this, I’d want to have as one of the stipulations is that Mr. Simpson’s option would be taken completely off the table, that that’s not an option for sewer,” Stokes said.
The council approved the second motion on the table for the development with the staff’s recommendations with one change and one new condition, the 3 foot side setbacks were changed to 5 feet and that the applicant cannot pursue condemnation for the Simpson easement.