Town board meeting addresses infrastructure

Matthews – Mint Hill Weekly

Eagle Scout troop 119 led the Pledge of Allegiance during the Matthews Town Council meeting.  Crystal O’Gorman/MMHW photo

MATTHEWS – Matthews Board of Commissioners met on Monday, March 9, to address several issues concerning commercial and town infrastructure.

The board of commissioners approved a public hearing date for rezoning Matthews Church of God, in the consent agenda; discussed the need to replace cracking concrete at Matthews Fire Stations 1 and 2; and talked about traffic issues at South Trade Street and Chesney Glen Drive, during Town Manager Hazen Blodgett’s report.

Rezoning Matthews Church of God

Matthews Church of God’s property is currently listed as two different zones, one listed for single-family housing with a minimum lot size of 12,000 square feet and the other is listed for industrial building under conditional use.

The church’s senior pastor, Rick Brackett, said the church previously had a parsonage on site, but that property was removed in late 2007. He said that’s why the parcel was broken up into two zoning categories.

The church requested the church parcel be rezoned as combined residential/industrial conditional use with a minimum of 2 acres. Brackett said this classification makes more sense by pulling it altogether.

If the rezoning classification is approved, these conditions will allow the church to install an electronic sign and build on to their parking lot. Brackett said they were already interested in raising money for the sign when they realized the property needed to be rezoned, which led to the rezoning request.

He said if approved, the church hopes to have Stewart Signs, of Sarasota, Florida, build a 4-foot-by-8-foot electronic sign that will cost approximately $20,000. The sign would face East John Street.

The new zoning also allows for the future development of 25 parking spaces at the back of the property facing East Charles Street.

The board approved to setting the public hearing for the rezoning on May 11, a Monday. Pastor Brackett doesn’t anticipate any backlash from the community.

“People will probably be surprised that the (requested) rezoning isn’t already zoned that way,” he said.

Fire and EMS Stations request concrete repairs

On Thursday, March 5, Matthews Fire and EMS Chief Dennis Green reported Fire and EMS Station 1 had 2,400 square feet of concrete cracking in the parking lot due to stress from the ladder truck. He also reported that Station 2 had cracks in a total of 1,200 square feet located in the bay areas where two engines are parked.

Town Engineer CJ O’Neill estimated Fire Station 1 will cost $60,000 and Station 2 will cost $30,000, according to a memo sent to the board from Green. The price includes demolition and removal of existing concrete slabs, undercutting the existing sub-grade, installation of reinforced concrete and completion of the new concrete slab. O’Neill will manage and oversee the project, the memo read.

Town Manager Hazen Blodgett requested the board motion to allow him to sign a contract to use money from the current fund balance to replace the concrete that’s damaged at both stations.

Matthews Mayor Jim Taylor questioned, during the meeting, why the project would be discussed separately from the budget meeting; however, later in the discussion he contended that the town may need to make the repairs sooner to avoid more damage.

Commissioner Kress Query said the Station 1 parking lot was redone recently, but Blodgett said the town redid the parking lot, but did not reinforce the concrete.

He confirmed the damage was due to routine boon ladder practice.

Commissioner John Ross had concerns regarding the current safety conditions of the stations and whether the condition cause a life safety issue. Commissioners Chris Melton and John Higdon questioned whether replacing the concrete would cost more if the town waited.

The board agreed the information would be necessary to make a deicision.

Blodgett said he plans to reach out to Green and O’Neill regarding the concerns and will return to the board with more information at the next meeting.

Traffic light issue at South Trade Street and Cheney Glen Drive

Taylor and Blodgett addressed traffic concerns for the mechanically timed delay of the traffic light at the intersection of South Trade Street and Chesney Glen Drive.

The board agreed that further action was necessary and Blodgett needed to address the concerns to the media.

In a phone interview on March 10, Blodgett said the widening project on South Trade Street made it necessary for Duke Energy to move the utilities connected to the electronic traffic signal.

“It normally lights on a loop, but they had to disconnect the loop to move the utilities,” he said.

The traffic light currently runs on a mechanical loop of 120 seconds green signal for South Trade Street and 12 seconds green signal for Chesney Glen Drive.

Blodgett also said an officer is going to direct traffic, when available, during peak rush hour.

Blodgett was unable to confirm with Duke Energy when the utilities will be reconnected or when the traffic signal will return to its former state.

“We apologize for the inconvenience to our Matthews community members and those traveling through Matthews,” Blodgett said. “The good news is after the widening project is completed in December, the traffic pattern will greatly improve.”

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