Neighbors Use New Tool To Fight Development
According to the Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter, neighbors wow City Council with a drone video of traffic to drive their point home that additional construction in the area is not what's best for the region.
For more on that and other news, WFAE Woody Cain talks to the Ledger’s Tony Mecia for our segment BizWorthy.
Woody Cain: A group of residents near Providence High School in Charlotte this week voiced opposition to plans for about 300 new apartments along Pineville-Matthews Road. One of the group’s biggest complaints to city council members is that the apartments would make traffic in the area worse than it already is. And the residents brought to a council meeting a new tool to make their case. For more, we turn now to Tony Mecia of the Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter.
Alright, Tony, what did this group do?
Tony Mecia: It was kind of interesting. I've seen a lot of rezoning hearings in front of the city council in my day, but I haven't seen one in which the residents used drone video to illustrate their point. They got up there. They showed this two-minute video of traffic just not moving on Pineville-Matthews Road. Probably, you know, anybody who travels through there in the morning when Providence High is opening around 7-7:15 is probably experienced that. But they did that to illustrate their point that, look, if you build these new apartments here, this is going to be adding to traffic and the traffic is already bad. Yeah, I haven't seen that used before. A lot of council members were impressed. They said, wow, what a remarkable video. One called it profound. Sort of interesting to see that tool used.
Cain: What did developers say and what happens next with this proposal?
Mecia: The developer of this project is the Goldberg company out of Ohio. They had hired traffic engineers who had studied the area, looked at projects, and said the effect would really be minimal, that it would really only add a few seconds on average of commute time since they're not really talking about all that many apartments and spread it out over a day. Doesn't have that big of an effect. But the residents said, look, here's a video. You can see that at this particular time it's an issue. So for a long time, residents have sort of felt like they're outgunned in many instances by developers. Developers come in, they have a plan, they hire consultants, they hire traffic engineers, and then residents, you know, a lot of times don't have the wherewithal to do that. They don't know how to mount an effective lobbying campaign to get their interests advocated. This was an example of using something maybe a little higher-tech as far as what happens next. This was a public hearing in front of the city council on Monday. It'll now go before a citizens advisory panel called the zoning committee. They'll come back to the city council probably in a few weeks. But it's I would say it's likely that the developer is going to make a few changes to try to appease some of what the residents want.
Cain: A three-day conference on social media marketing is wrapping up in Charlotte today (Thursday). Tony, you spoke with one of the people behind the conference about how companies are using social media differently now than a dozen years ago. What did he say?
Mecia: I talked with Jason Keith of Social Fresh. It's a company that organizes social media marketing conferences, and they're doing their first one in person since COVID. This week, as you mentioned. He said it's really changed a lot over the years that when he first got into the field a dozen years ago, it was basically Facebook and Twitter. A lot of companies were experimenting with it. It was very organic. Nobody really knew, maybe, what the best practices were. Now it's really evolved. You have a lot more platforms and the companies are getting a lot more sophisticated and it tends to be located within the marketing function of companies. And so it's really evolved from where it has, you know, over a decade ago, just really because of the sheer number of social media platforms.
Cain: Where did he say he thinks social media is headed?
Mecia: Yeah, he said he thinks it's going to continue to be more fractured, that you have Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube. You're going to have new social media platforms probably emerging. And, you know, businesses want to be where their customers are. So as you see more people migrate toward Tik Tok, a lot of companies, for example, are thinking, Well, do I need a corporate Tik Tok account now? Maybe to some users that that sort of, you know, makes the platforms a little staler if you have companies coming in and creating content on there. But it's really just a matter of companies trying to be where their customers are and sort of keeping up with a lot of the latest trends that some of what they're talking about this week.
Cain: Alright shifting gears now. Last week we talked about a 12-year-old girl being hospitalized after she fell from the zipline at the YMCA’s Camp Thunderbird on Lake Wylie. This week you report the fall likely will not be investigated. Why is that?
Mecia: Yes. The state of South Carolina is likely not going to investigate this fall from a zip line at Camp Thunderbird. Camp Thunderbird is a summer camp sleep away and day camp is run by the YMCA of Greater Charlotte. It's on the shores of Lake Wylie in South Carolina. But in South Carolina, zip lines are generally not regulated unless they have a certain kind of mechanical break that this zip line doesn't have. So still trying to find out a little. More. A lot of parents want to know what happened there. The YMCA has not said very much about the circumstances of how this girl fell. We think she fell about 40 feet off a platform. I mean, there could very well be, you know, investigations by insurance companies or internally about, you know, we haven't seen any of those results or we still don't really know exactly what happened. But we're going to keep digging on that.
Cain: Finally, Mecklenburg County is opening a recycling park in the Steele Creek area. Uh, what is a recycling park, Tony?
Mecia: It sounds like a pretty nice place to go, doesn't it, Woody? Go down some slides and swing on the swings. Mecklenburg County is going to start rebranding some of its recycling centers, calling them recycling parks. I guess the thinking is that it maybe sounds a little more pleasant. They do point out that a lot of their recycling centers happen to be next to parks, but this is the new one that they're planning in the Steele Creek area, a growing area, you know, where people can drop off recyclables and large bulky items. As Mecklenburg County grows, you know, they want to add some more of these. So that's what's going on in Steele Creek.
Cain: Alright, Tony, we appreciate your time.
Mecia: Thanks a lot.
Cain: That's Tony Mecia of the Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter.