Last Minute Controversy Over School Rezoning Near Old Eastland Mall

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Under a plan approved on Monday night, an empty big-box store near the old Eastland Mall, that used to be a Harris Teeter, would become a new campus for Movement School.

It would also host services for Forest Hill Church on Sunday.

“I’m not against the school, but I don’t think this is the right use of the land,” said City Council member Dimple Ajmera, during Monday night’s meeting.

Some City Council and community members pushed back against the rezoning.

“Are we taking away from the retail that could potentially be there?” Ajmera asked.

Ajmera and Council Member Matt Newton argued people who live on the East side desperately need more shops and businesses.

“We had a Dillard’s, we had a Sears, we had a movie theater,” Newton said. “There is even more emphasis today to have those items at this site, not institutional uses.”

East Charlotte resident Scott Huffman also worries about the local impact.

“They’re going to be drawing outside of the community to bring students into the school, so you’re going to see increased traffic, you’re going to see queuing of cars into that area,” he says.

But supporters of the school showed up in full force at the meeting. The school’s executive director says he thinks it will make a positive difference in the community.

“Great schools build great neighborhoods, and we can’t wait to help make East Charlotte even better than it already is,” says Tim Hurley, with Movement School.

He says Movement School is a free, public charter school. It already has a campus in West Charlotte in an old Super K-Mart.

The East Charlotte location is slated to open in Fall 2020.