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Charlotte City Council approves Ballantyne rezoning petitions near Ardrey Kell High School

The approval will bring an elementary school and new housing to Ardrey Kell Road. Some are concerned since they believe it will cause more congestion to the road.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve plans to build a new elementary school across from Ardrey Kell High School. City council also voted to approve a multi-family development in the same area, with one no vote from Councilman Ed Driggs -- who represents that area. 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Woodfield Development plan to build a new elementary school and multi-family units across from Ardrey Kell High School, but some residents in south Charlotte are against it. 

“I just thought you can’t be serious, if you’ve got those two schools and a lot of traffic already why would you want to put all those apartments right there and create a situation that’s worse for the schools and could be dangerous for the kids and create a huge inconvenience for the neighbors," District 7 Charlotte City Councilman Ed Driggs previously said.

The rezoning petition comes as Charlotte continues to grow and student enrollment increases.

“Our schools are overcrowded, we need the schools and that’s a little why we are between a rock and a hard place," Driggs said.

Driggs, like many others who live in Ballantyne, have long been concerned about the traffic and density the project would bring. He encouraged more housing along transit corridors instead.

“We know there’s going to be growth and the only way to keep housing costs down is by creating more housing, but it’s not unlimited," he said. "The houses need to be in appropriate places, on transit corridors and where people can walk to work."

Ardrey Kell Road is not expected to be widened until at least 2030, according to state plans. 

A spokesperson for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Commission said the proposal was much needed because of overcrowding at schools and the housing crisis.

“We're in a housing crisis and however you want to phrase that, there’s housing you get throughout the city and I do not believe Ballantyne should be the exception to that," Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Commission Chairperson Keba Samuel explained.

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Due to concerns about traffic, the developer of the project has proposed transportation improvements like adding a traffic signal.

RELATED: City council discusses rezoning battle of new elementary school and apartment complex in Ballantyne

“The volume of traffic that this area will generate, it will generate primarily by the school, not the actual apartment development," Samuel said. “We have to really rethink how we build in Charlotte."

At Monday night's rezoning meeting, Charlotte city councilmembers voted to approve the new housing plan. 

The developers made some last-minute changes that helped sway some leaders to support it. The number of affordable units went from 10% to 15% of the development, the number of units decreased to 349, the apartment buildings will be three-stories tall instead of four, they'll add a recreation center, and will provide more green space and wider sidewalks. 

"It just checks the boxes," councilmember Renee Johnson said. 

The changes were praised by council, but concerns remain in a city that can't seem to keep up with the number of families moving here. 

"These problems are only going to grow with the population growth of our city," Mayor Vi Lyles said. 

Contact Lexi Wilson at lwilson@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and InstagramContact Hunter Sáenz at hsaenz@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.  

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