The town council in Huntersville, North Carolina, rejected a proposal from North American Properties to rezone Birkdale Village to allow for a 100-plus foot tall office building at the popular Lake Norman development.
NAP has been working on the Birkdale Village development for years, and had intentions on expanding the project to include office space, apartments, and a hotel. These plans were ultimately scaled back, and the proposal included a 110 foot mixed use space with 150,000 square feet of office space, 25,000 square feet of retail, and a new parking deck.
Locals, however, were skeptical of the plan. Many members of the community felt that there was already inadequate parking and that the NAP plan would not address it sufficiently- while the plans called for a 450 space parking deck, those spots would not be available to the public during business hours.
In the end, the town council focused on a single issue to quash the proposed development -- building height. Birkdale Village is currently zoned for a maximum height of 48 feet, and NAP wanted to more than double that. It seems that was a bridge too far for Huntersville.
This story serves as a reminder of the importance of engaging with both the community and local government leaders throughout the development process, from the drawing board up to the final vote. Experienced counsel is an invaluable part of that team, and can save a developer time and money throughout the life of the project.