Retirement Home could be coming to Davidson
by Staff Writer
DAVIDSON – The view of Davidson from Interstate 77 may be changing, if a proposed retirement home development goes through.
Hawthorne Retirement Group wants to build a retirement home on the 4.19-acre property jutting into Lake Cornelius, at the end of Peninsula Drive.
The 120-unit residential home would cover about 33,000 square feet of the property, with a public trail and amenities along the shore including a public boat launch, developers told a joint meeting of the town and planning boards Feb. 27. But town staff says the path planned gets too small at points.
The town board previously approved a conditional master plan for the property. This meeting was the beginning of the rezoning process and discussion of what can happen on the land.
Following this joint meeting, technical reviews will provide tools for more concrete decisions.
The town of Davidson adopted a 100-foot watershed buffer requirement in 2001, but this property was grandfathered in around that rule. While the shape of the peninsula would make a 100-foot buffer all the way around impractical, Planning Manager Lauren Blackburn said it is important to keep development far enough from the shore to protect water quality.
Staff wants to keep development from infringing on open space and removing trees, and keep the land accessible to the public, asking for some kind of mixed-use development at the tip of the peninsula.
Planning staff is also considering how this development will affect the experience of entering Davidson from I-77.
“Architecture is going to be very important for this site, being so prominent and visible,” Blackburn said.
Hawthorne representative Mark Lowen said the company owns and operates 300 similar facilities and has been building retirement homes since the 1980s. Lowen referred to Shad’s Landing on Prosperity Church Road in Charlotte as a local example of the retirement home model. The 70-80-year-old, independent residents rent units month-to-month. Since units do not include kitchens, the retirement home is considered a commercial property, not residential.
While the county review and technical studies may change things, the town will continue discussions with Hawthorne before making final rezoning decisions on the property’s conditional master plan.