by Mike Parks
Lynn Ivey hasn’t heard from the people who want to build a hotel right next door to her SouthPark adult day care since May. So she can’t tell you why Charlotte City Council was asked Monday night, June 18, to give K&P Development another month before voting on whether to allow a five-story hotel to rise up beside Ivey’s Park South Drive property.
There’s plenty of issues the developer could be working on. Residents say the hotel is just too big – at 108 rooms – for too small a space – .65 acres off Fairview Road. Staff at the adult day care say the project and construction associated with it is a danger to the people who rely on The Ivey each week. Neighbors say the 60-foot-high building will tower over their properties. And city council members say possible blasting needed for an underground parking lot may be too dangerous to area homes’ foundations.
“All you really have to do is stand in my parking lot and look up and imagine a structure that goes 71 feet up in the air,” Ivey said, adding in the topography change between her property and the proposed hotel site. She’s been one of the main opponents of the project, but says the developer hasn’t contacted her for any negotiations over her concerns since the two spoke briefly after a May 30 zoning committee meeting. The developer did not respond to an interview request for this story.
“Their footprint covers the entire length of the property, so all the water, (construction debris) and dust flows downhill to me.”
Ivey is concerned about what impact that could have on seniors as they enter and exit the day care, adding that it may eliminate most of the outside seating locations the center has.
“It’s not the serene environment,” Ivey said of the possible construction zone. “We aren’t opposed to rezoning, we just want something compatible.”
Some members of city council shared that compatibility concern at the public hearing over the proposal last month, asking if the hotel was really as necessary as the developer made it seem owing to all the other hotels in SouthPark. H.K. Patel, who spoke on behalf of the project at that meeting, said not only were hotel chains lining up for a chance to bring the project under their brand but the project would add around 35 jobs to the area.
As for neighbor concerns, Patel said in May that his group has already gone a long way toward finding middle ground. A retention pond is going underground to eliminate drowning concerns some residents had. And there will be a 40-foot rear yard as a buffer between area developments.
Add to that an endorsement from the city’s planning department for the project. Though the area plan calls for single-family homes to be built there, planners have said it’s unrealistic to require single-family homes in an area surrounded by an adult day care and, on the other side, the Brighton Gardens assisted-living facility.
Still, Ivey said that’s not enough to give this project the green light, and she plans on using this extra month to stay vocal until the final vote July 16.
“We certainly can try to talk to the zoning committee members,” who are expected to vote to either recommend approval or denial of the project at a meeting Wednesday, June 27, Ivey said. “(We can) understand a little better where they’re coming from and help them understand where we’re coming from.”
Likewise, Ivey said neighbors along Park South Drive have been calling city council members and asking them to vote down the hotel project. Even if the zoning committee recommends approving the project, city council can still deny it in July.
If there’s been changes to the plan since council talked it down in May, Ivey certainly hasn’t been told. So she’ll stick to her guns and keep toeing the same line she’s been on since the project first came up in February.
“We are still in exactly the same position trying to hopefully get this particular project turned down,” Ivey said.