Gastonia City Council to Consider Franklin Woods Rezoning Again
GASTONIA, NC – A controversial rezoning plan will be back in front of Gastonia City Council members next week.
Neighbors are fighting to preserve one of the last undeveloped areas along Franklin Boulevard.
“It’s not the smartest place to build. Period,” says Gastonia resident Eric Elliott. He showed WCCB Charlotte markers placed behind his home.
“Since 2014, we’ve had two 100 year floods in this yard, come to right here. Two in three years,” Elliott says.
He’s worried flooding could get worse if City Council approves the rezoning to allow a shopping center on the wooded area between his home and busy Franklin Boulevard.
Neighbors say the woods serve as a buffer and that it’s part of a floodplain.
City Council was set to vote back in September, but made a last second decision to put off that vote until after the election.
Developers argue the land is scheduled to be clear cut for tax purposes regardless of how the rezoning vote goes.
In September, planners argued a shopping center would include a drainage system, while a clear cut strip of land would not.
Neighbors say no matter what happens they think flooding will be a problem.
“They can’t slow water flow down here because this is already where all the water comes,” Elliott says.
Neighbors still want to try and convince the city to buy the land and preserve it.
Many have placed signs in their yard that say.. “Keep Franklin Woods.”
“It could be a great thing, a great selling point for Gaston County if we just let it be right here,” Elliott says.
Otherwise they say it will be a change that can’t be reversed.
“It’s going to really cut into property values for a lot of folks. It will change the quality of life,” Elliott says.