More Concerns About Transparency And The City Of Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC. — There are more concerns about transparency and the city of Charlotte. This time it involves rezoning for the old Eastland Mall site.

WCCB Charlotte called and emailed the city for details on the rezoning after we learned city employees had already provided the information to some news organizations and not others. It happened at an embargoed briefing on Tuesday.

We asked the city’s communication staff why they mishandled the release of this information.

City spokesman Jason Schneider tells WCCB that while their intent was to provide transparency, he confirmed that they only invited select journalists.

WCCB Charlotte’s Alexandra Elich took the transparency concerns to city council member Braxton Winston.

“When things like this happen, whether it’s intentional or not, this hurts us when it comes to the public trust. This hurts us when it comes to relationships with the media,” says Winston.

We asked Winston if he thinks the city of Charlotte has a transparency issue.

“I came into this job because I wasn’t happy with the transparency and the way information gets disseminated. I’ll continue to work. With that, I definitely don’t think we have solved everything in the two years I have been on council.”

As for the Eastland Mall site rezoning petition, calls for rezoning 78 acres of the old Eastland Mall site. It outlines plans for Charlotte’s MLS team headquarters and practice facility. Along with retail,  restaurants, apartments, and homes.

The practice facility and MLS team headquarters are not expected to be done when the team hits the field in March 2021.

“Construction takes a long time. That’s one of the reasons why it was so important to us to go ahead and get this started,” says Assistant City Manager Tracy Dodson.