The intersection of NC 84 and Potter Road is quiet on the weekends. Through-traffic takes turns waiting at the stoplight, and the Wesley Chapel Elementary School sits empty, ready for students to return on Monday. Local Developer Dennis Moser wants that to change.
Moser, founder and president of The Moser Group, is a lifelong resident of Union County. According to his website, “he has over 26 years of commercial appraisal, brokerage, and development experience and specializes in providing clients with commercial real estate brokerage, development, and project management services.”
Moser also owns other companies in the Union County area and was even voted Union County’s Entrepreneur of the year in 2006.
Moser’s vision for the land is to convert over 20 acres on this corner from Low-Density Residential to High-Intensity Commercial zoning. His application includes plans for a grocery store, a 16-pump convenience store, two fast food restaurants, one casual restaurant, a retail building and four two-story buildings that are retail on the bottom and office space on top.
Council members Jeannine Kenary, William Rodriguez, Paul Kaperonis, Mike Como, and Mayor David Kapfhammer will have to vote to approve this zoning change. It is estimated the proposed development would not only change the face of the landscape, but it would generate more vehicle trips daily through this Wesley Chapel area.
Changing the zoning would bring more shopping and dining options to the area. Currently, the two closest shopping centers are The Village Commons in Wesley Chapel and Sun Valley Commons in Indian Trail. The property Moser hopes to develop is five parcels that are being bundled into one ± 10-acre lot for sale and an adjacent lake property of about the same size. The sale of the property is contingent upon rezoning, but Moser is asking $3,000,000 for the first 10, with the remainder being eligible for an assemblage.
However, the Village’s Planning and Zoning Administrator is recommending the denial of Moser’s application. The proposed changes are contrary to the Village’s Future Land Use Plan. Wesley Chapel developed a land use plan in 2003 which they revisit every five years. The last review was completed in November 2015 by the current Village Council members.
The Village’s Land Use Plan has three stated goals. “Goal No. 1: To maintain the strong single family low-density character of the Village. Goal No. 2: To prevent strip development from occurring anywhere in Wesley Chapel by limiting new non-residential development to designated strategic locations. Goal No. 3: To encourage that new non-residential development be attractively designed, pedestrian friendly and in harmony with surrounding development.”
Most of the proposed rezoning would conflict with the second goal. Goal No. 2 also has six specific policies. Two of them relate directly to the proposed development. The first policy is that “The Village’s commercial, governmental and institutional hub, located at the intersection of NC 84 and Waxhaw-Indian Trail Road, should be supported and encouraged to finish build-out.” The second is, “Commercial development will be limited to low-density small scale retail which provides neighborhood services, rural cottage industries and/or small-scale recreational opportunities.”
The Village Council also has other concerns. Traffic volumes will rise on already congested roads. Safety is a concern for those with students at Wesley Chapel Elementary. Students, parents, and busses will find it more difficult to enter and exit the school at the intersection. Commercial development will be drawn away from the commercial core of Wesley Chapel, which may hinder the completion of development in The Village Commons. And besides safety and financial considerations, resident surveys that were conducted in 2007 and 2016 indicate that the majority of Wesley Chapel residents want to preserve its rural, small town feel.
A Change.org petition titled, “Vote NO to Commercial Development on NC 84 and Potter Road” urges residents to sign a petition opposed to the proposed development. The petition’s closing statement says, “We, the residents and homeowners of Wesley Chapel, strongly urge to vote NO on changing the land use designation for these properties near the intersection of NC 84 and Potter Road. We, the residents and homeowners of Wesley Chapel, acknowledge that Moser’s application would significantly alter the footprint of Wesley Chapel and negatively impact others who commute or travel frequently through this intersection.”
The topic has also been discussed on social media. Resident Janet Whetstine Brower told members of the group, What’s Up Indian Trail!, “I have been in my house for 30 years. I supported the current development. I shop there. Someday when we get sidewalks down 84 I will be able to walk there. But enough is enough! We don’t need a second grocery store within a couple of miles and two more fast food joints. This ain’t Indian Trail.” Janet built in Wesley Chapel 30 years ago to escape the traffic, light pollution, and noise of a big city. She said, “We long-time residents have seen what happened in other areas and we are doing our best to preserve what we have built.”
Other residents disagree with this stance and want to see the development come in, citing benefits such as easy access to stores and restaurants. In a post on the public group, Wesley Chapel, North Carolina, on August 22nd, at 7:25 pm, commenters left opinions such as, “Build it and they will come,” and “Where’s the vote yes option?”
Mayor David Kapfhammer is well aware of the situation and has promised to hold at least three public hearings. Citizens will be able to share their thoughts and concerns with the Village Council about Moser’s application. The first public hearing is scheduled for Monday, September 11th, at 7:00 pm at the Village of Wesley Chapel Town Hall, located at 6490 Monroe-Weddington Rd.