by Aaron Burns

HUNTERSVILLE – Before a proposed private school can open in the Vermillion neighborhood, Huntersville will have to address some traffic issues.

During a Jan. 7 town board meeting, Bowman Development, the company planning the school, requested to add stacking lanes – drop-off and pick-up zones – on Old Vermillion Drive.

The school, which would be a 360-student, K-8 school, is a long way from becoming a reality, Commissioner Ron Julian said. The potential school, which would draw students from in and outside the Vermillion area, would need extra parking to handle traffic flow.

“The school within a community is a nice concept, though. I like it,” he said. “My concern is making sure the changes we make to any text amendment don’t negatively influence traffic.”

But the drop off lanes – which haven’t been formally used in any Huntersville school – could lead to too many cars on a narrow road and might present a hazard.

“There are some safety issues regarding dropping off kids at a heavily traveled road,” said Bruce Andersen, the town’s planning board chairman.

Bowman Development CEO Robert Bowman said the traffic and safety concerns should be assuaged once the final proposal is complete.

“We’ve not gotten to that point yet. But when we do, we’ll handle those concerns,” he said.

He said because Old Vermillion Drive is so narrow, drivers usually move more slowly, so the lanes shouldn’t create safety issues.  The lanes, Bowman said, were successful additions to Myers Park and Elizabeth Traditional elementary schools in Charlotte.

Bowman’s proposal will go to the town planning board Jan. 29 and commissioners will vote in February, Julian said.

The town board also approved a request to change the name of Walker Street to Walters Street in honor of the Walters family who live in the area.

At Monday’s meeting, the board also:

• Tabled its decision until Feb. 4 on the Villages of Mecklenburg subdivision sketch plan, which would allow a new 12.92-acre, assisted- and independent-living center on Hunton Lane, northwest of Ranson Road.

• Approved Hopper Communities’ request to add 12 homes to its 41-acre Bellington subdivision, giving it 100 homes instead of 88 in the property along the north side of Huntersville-Concord Road.