Ayrsley Residents Hire Attorney
Broken promises and misrepresentations. That's how the residents of Ayrsley feel about their neighborhood developer and even city council. Resident Aaron Beck says, "This is our home. This is our community. We helped elect some of these folks." Resident Lauren Widrick says, "We bought into the community with one impression and what's happening is very different."
Now, they've pooled their own money and money donated from two of the neighborhood's four HOAs to hire attorney Jerry Meek. Meek is the former chair of the NC Democratic Party. He is known for his experience in the political arena. "I think they know they've got an uphill battle in the situation, but they're going to fight hard,” says Meek.
Ayrsley residents say there are two key pieces of evidence in their battle against public housing. One, residents claim there used to be a sign on this property until very recently that indicated it would be used for YMCA soccer fields. The other smoking gun is the developers own website. The "master plan" posted on Ayrsley.com still advertises the 4.6 acre parcel of land in the middle of this tug of war as the site of future retail space, not public housing.
"It's a feeling of they're doing this backhanded, underhanded deals over and over again and no one ever seems to come to our aide,” says resident Amber Logan.
Meek has started by seeking answers for his new clients. In part, he wants to know if the president of the Charlotte Housing Partnership knew the developer was, and continues to, advertise that the land is designated as retail space. "If she takes seriously the concerns of the people of Ayrsley and the people outside of Ayrsley who are concerned about the misrepresentations of developers, I think she will respond,” says Meek.
Council was to consider issuing a waiver in May. That discussion has now been pushed back to June.
Neither the president of the Housing Partnership nor the developer are commenting. As for a potential lawsuit, both Meek and the residents say that is not their goal at the moment, but they have not ruled it out.