**UPDATE** Concerning the January article “Eminent Domain – Matthews at it again.” On Tuesday January 21, 2014 the “Town of Matthews v. Wright” was once again argued in court. At this time I am unable to report any outcome since the Judgement has not been made public record. What I am able to report is Mayor Taylor, Commissioners Miller, Query, Town Manager Mr. Blodgett and former Commissioners Gulley, Moore, Urban and Bailey are claiming immunity concerning Home Place.
NEW TOWN COUNCIL
With the New Year beginning our new council has been in office for a month now. MATTHEWS WATCH decided to reach out to our leadership on January 10, 2014 with a question and they were given until January 29, 2014 to respond.
Mayor Jim Taylor, Mayor Pro-Temp Joe Pata and Commissioners John Higdon, Jeff Miller and Kress Query chose not to respond. Thank you to Commissioners Chris Melton and John Ross for responding.
Could you please provide the citizens of Matthews a short and brief input of what you hope to accomplish within the next two years?
My goal over the next two years to continue to be a strong advocate for community and citizen involvement within the town and promote public service. Not only as a member of the Board of Commissioners, but also as a member of the Board of Directors of the Matthews HELP Center, President of the Brightmoor HOA and liaison with the Matthews Chamber of Commerce, a priority of mine has always been to find an opportunity to help others. A recent example is the canned food drive I organized in conjunction with our neighborhood luminary night which, along with other Brightmoor neighbors and friends, we provided over 500 canned goods items to the Matthews HELP Center to be distributed to families in the Matthews Community.
Another goal of Mine is to continue to protect the small town environment of our Town of Matthews while looking for ways to strengthen our economy and make Matthews the envy of other Mecklenburg municipalities as a progressive place to live, eat, work, play and pray.
Many thanks & best regards, Chris Melton Commissioner, Town of Matthews
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As a governing body we are still getting to know each other and as we solidify our vision and head to the planning conference next month I hope that we’ll be able to address the things I talked about during the campaign-
Address roads and traffic. Manage expenses and spending conservatively. Enhance and expand our parks. Ensure our safety and lifesaving departments/services have the resources they need. Continue to cultivate opportunities for businesses to thrive. While keep Matthews a great place to live, work and raise a family.
John Ross Commissioner, Town of Matthews
ELIZABETH LANE ELEMENTARY CELL TOWER
On December 30, 2013 the Berkley Group withdrew their petition #2013-601 to install a 120′ cell tower at Elizabeth Lane Elementary. An application for rezoning of property can be withdrawn at any time up to fifteen days prior to the public hearing. This request must be in writing by the applicant. After the fifteen day deadline the request can only be withdrawn if the Board of Commissioners approves it, then the rezoning request can be resubmitted at any time after the withdrawal. If the zoning request was denied then after a period of one year a new application cannot be submitted for the same property, unless a waiver is given. Because the Berkley Group is asking for a change of conditions not a zoning and even if the Board denied the request to withdraw the petition they can reapply immediately. With the petition withdrawn this gives the Berkley Group more time to present, discuss and work with Matthews Planning. Matthews Planning will then keep the Mayor and Commissioners informed.
October 31, 2013 – Staff Recommendation – “The proposed tower meets the requirements within the Zoning Ordinance that allow stealth structures of up to 120′ in the R/I zoning district. The benefits the community will realize by way of more dependable cell coverage greatly outweighs the aesthetic concerns the tower brings. Staff recommends approval of this rezoning request.”
August 2, 2013 – Berkley Group – “As stated earlier, the tower will be unmanned and will only be visited monthly for routine maintenance.”
December 30, 2013 – Berkley Group – “I anticipate that we will reapply in the second quarter of 2014.”
Board of Commissioners Meeting – January 13, 2014 – Mayor Taylor cautioned the public that sitting commissioners can’t make any statements of opinion prior to public hearings. He said he has a lot of confidence in the Board and asked the public to trust them. The Board hears the public’s concerns and he applauds their passion.
Mayor Taylor and the Board of Commissioners serve the public. As a resident of Matthews you have every right to ask the Mayor and Board of Commissioners how they stand on any issue. The decision will be up to them whether or not to respond. This is a pretty clear cut question, Do you support the Elizabeth Lane Elementary Cell Tower? Yes or No? If the Board denies the 120′ cell tower the Berkley Group can proceed and construct an 80′ tower on property zoned R/I without any approval or input from the Board. Elizabeth Lane Elementary area is zoned R/I(CD) which would require a rezoning action when other sites that are zoned R/I would not. I think we all can agree there is a need for cell towers; the problem with this one is that it does not belong at Elizabeth Lane Elementary or on any school grounds for that matter. Unfortunately this problem does not stop with the decision from the Board of Commissioners, you must make your voices heard with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools also. According to the information listed above this issue may be presented once again. Keep watch.
**It is recommended to conduct all inquiries through email, this way you can print any response made and keep for your records or make your voices heard during a Board of Commissioners Meeting. This way it is public record on the town web site.”
Board of Commissioners Listing
John F. Higdon 1100 Ashley Creek Drive 704-661-0146 Matthews NC 28105 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Melton 1206 Ridgebury Terrace 704-641-2320 Matthews NC 28105 email@example.com
Jeff A. Miller 806 Brenham Lane 704-708-5030 Matthews NC 28105 firstname.lastname@example.org
W. Kress Query 14117 Springwater Drive 704-847-9336 (home) Matthews NC 28105 704-847-9188 (office) email@example.com
John Ross 2908 Williams Station Road 704-999-5157 Matthews NC 28105 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Pro-Temp Joe Pata 1718 Reverdy Oaks Drive 704-839-1585 Matthews NC 28105 email@example.com
Mayor Jim Taylor 2709 Kirkholm Drive 704-845-1864 (home) Matthews NC 28105 704-847-4411 (office) firstname.lastname@example.org