Cornelius approves Smithville plan

By Woody Cain, WFAE 90.7 FM


The Cornelius Town Board of Commissioners voted 5 – 0 Monday night to approve the Smithville Revitalization Plan to redevelop the historically Black neighborhood. The Smithville Coalition wants to add a mix of new single-family homes, townhouses, apartment buildings, communal green spaces and new commercial properties.

“I’ve always said when I talk about Smithville that the county has some stake in this game as well and they’ve put forward some dollars to help with housing but when you think about taxes we pay — and we pay those taxes to Mecklenburg County — a lot of that money floats to Charlotte,” Town Commissioner Denis Bilodeau said. I’m happy to see some of that money come back to the Smithville community.”

Cornelius will use $3 million in American Rescue Plan funding in 2023 for the project to help improve the Smithville community.

“It’s important that people understand that this vote is a policy vote,” Commissioner Todd Sansbury said. “It’s not a funding vote. It’s not a specific housing plan. It’s just a policy to get this started and the town can only earmark money for certain items from certain funds and the town can legally only do certain things.”

The redevelopment plan offers incentives for developers who choose to build in line with the city’s goals for an area.

“Will there be additional bumps? I would guarantee you that there will be, but I’m confident that with the coalition and a lot of other folks behind this we can get a reasonable plan put together to address all the issues you’ve heard tonight,” Bilodeau said.

One of those issues is traffic in the area with over 200 new housing units in the plan. It offers incentives for developers who choose to build in line with the city’s goals for an area.


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